2021 Leadership Conference Agenda

Register to access the recorded program

Note: All times are Eastern.

Monday, October 4, 2021

9:00 – 11:00 am Special Activity

One-on-One Executive Coaching

Advance sign-up required.

11:00 am Opening Entertainment

Sponsored by

11:00 – 11:55 am General Session: The Grand Opening

Welcome & Opening Remarks:

     Maria E. Brennan, CAE, President & CEO, WICT

     Sandra K. Howe, Technology Executive & Board Chair, WICT Global

Introductory Remarks:
     Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP & Chief Diversity Officer, Comcast

Keynote Conversation:

     Rashida Jones, President, MSNBC
     Stephanie Ruhle, MSNBC Anchor, NBC News Senior Business Correspondent

Sponsored by 

12:00 – 12:50 pm General Session

Power Panel: Thriving Amid Disruption

     Ravena Valentine, SVP, Human Resources, A+E Networks

     Tina Shah, EVP & GM, Turner Sports, WarnerMedia
     Aisha Thomas-Petit, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, AMC Networks
     Leigh Woisard, SVP, Corporate Public Affairs, Cox Communications

Sponsored by

12:50 – 1:05 pm Break

1:05 – 2:00 pm Concurrent Sessions

Technology & Innovation: Tapping TikTok to Grow Your Business

  • Rebecca Rosenblat, Global Industry Relations Manager, TikTok (moderator)

  • Priti Dalal, Head of Global Brand Strategy Platform, TikTok

  • Julie Green, Director, Global Business Solutions, TikTok

The Leading Edge: Human-Centered Leadership (sponsored by Crown Media)

  • Cheryl Flink, Ph.D., Global Vice President, Leadership Research and Analytics, CCL

  • Abigail Dunne-Moses, Senior Faculty, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, CCL

Master Classes: Mastering Your Voice: Secrets of a Top Vocal Coach (sponsored by TV One)

  • Jennifer Hamady, Voice and Performance Coach, Author and Therapist, Finding Your Voice

2:05 – 2:20 pm General Session
Beyond the Hashtag: #LoveWins

Presented with the support of the Walter Kaitz Foundation

     Niecy Nash, Emmy-winning producer and twice-nominated actress

Sponsored by

2:20 – 3:15 pm General Session

Beyond the Hashtag: #LoveIsLove
Presented with the support of the Walter Kaitz Foundation


     Monica Trasandes, Director of Programs, Spanish-Language and Latinx Media, GLAAD

     Erica Barnes, Account Executive, Precision & Performance Advertising Sales, A+E Networks
     Craig Robinson, EVP & Chief Diversity Officer, NBCUniversal
     Geena Rocero, Writer, Producer, Director, Transgender Advocate & Founder, Gender Proud

     Jason Sarlanis, President, Crime & Investigation Content, Linear & Streaming, Discovery, Inc.

Sponsored by

3:20 – 4:05 pm General Session

The Power of Range: The Secret to Success in Any Domain


     David Epstein, New York Times Best-Selling Author & Expert on the Science of High Performance

Sponsored by

4:10 – 5:15 pm General Session
Profiles of Champions


     Laura Gentile, EVP, Commercial Marketing, Networks and ESPN,  Disney & ESPN Media Networks

     Julie Foudy, espnW Writer, Soccer Commentator, Features Reporter & Host, Disney & ESPN Media Networks
     Phaidra Knight, Former International Athlete, Sports Media Talent, Motivational Speaker, Lawyer & Business Entrepreneur
     Jen Welter, Ph.D., First Female NFL Coach, Sports Psychologist, Gold Medalist

Sponsored by

5:30 – 6:30 pm Special Activities

Fun with Fitness - Dance Fitness

Virtual Networking Roundtables

Advance sign-up required.

4:15 – 5:00 pm Special Activity

One-on-One Executive Coaching
Advance sign-up required.

Tuesday, October 5

9:00 – 10:00 am Special Activity

Fun with Fitness - Yoga

9:00 - 11:00 am Special Activity

One-on-One Executive Coaching

Advance sign-up required.

10:15 am Day 2 Welcome Remarks

Marva Johnson, GVP, State Government Affairs - South Region, Charter Communications; Immediate Past Chair, WICT Global Board of Directors

10:15 – 11:10 am Concurrent Sessions

Technology & Innovation: The Growth Playbook — Reaching Beyond Trends
          (sponsored by NCTA – The Internet & Television Association)

  • Sandra K. Howe, Technology Executive & WICT Global Board Chair (moderator)

  • Marge Jackson, Senior Vice President - Head of Sales, Comcast

  • Malia Moran, GVP, Strategic Product Management, Charter Communications

  • April Wirtz, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy

  • Nicole Zheng, President & CMO, Minim

The Leading Edge: Culture as a Competitive Edge (sponsored by Cable ONE)

  • Sarah Levitt, Author and Founder, Magnificent Leadership® Executive Forum

Master Classes: The Role of Neuroplasticity in Learning (sponsored by Grande/RCN/Wave Communications)

  • Lara Boyd, Ph.D., Professor and Wall Scholar, University of British Columbia

11:15 – 11:45 am General Session
Keynote Conversation

     Christiane Amanpour, 
Chief International Anchor, CNN     

     Johnita Due, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, WarnerMedia News & Sports

Sponsored by

12:00 – 12:55 pm Special Activity

One-on-One Executive Coaching

Advance sign-up required.

12:00 – 12:55 pm Concurrent Sessions     


Technology & Innovation: Think Like a Founder (sponsored by Red Hat)

  • Siobhan Dullea, CEO, MassChallenge

  • Donna Levin, CEO, Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Babson College

The Leading Edge: Roundtables


  • Marc Aldrich, Amazon Web Services

  • Patty Donaldson, Cisco

  • Orlando Hampton, Afiniti

  • Marissa Lambrinos, Charter Communications

  • Melody Smalls, The Weather Channel

More to come

Master Classes: Leaning Into Conflict

  • Dr. Dravon James, Motivational Speaker, Radio Host and Author

1:00 – 2:15 pm General Session
Stronger Together: Supporting Gender Equity Through Male Allyship


     Joiava Philpott, SVP & General Counsel, Law & Policy, Cox Communications

     Pat Esser, President & CEO, Cox Communications
     Dexter Goei, CEO, Altice USA
     Alfred C. Liggins, III, CEO, Urban One
     Chris Winfrey, CFO, Charter Communications

Sponsored by

2:20 – 3:05 pm General Session

Pearls of Wisdom


     Martha Beck, New York Times Best-Selling Author, Sociologist and Life Coach
     Allyson Felix, Most Decorated Woman in U.S. Track and Field History

     Julie Laulis, Chair of the Board, President & CEO, Cable One, Inc. 
     Stephanie Mitchko-Beale, EVP & Chief Technology Officer, Charter Communications

Sponsored by

4:15 – 5:00 pm Special Activity

One-on-One Executive Coaching
Advance sign-up required.

WICT is pleased to announce that MSNBC President Rashida Jones will open the virtual 2021 Leadership Conference in a keynote conversation on Monday, October 4.

Among the most prominent executives in news, Ms. Jones boasts an extraordinary track record leading a global news organization through a period of unprecedented challenges, all of which give her important insider insights that she will share with our audience. Learn more about Jones by reading her full bio on our website.

Business disruption comes in many forms. Sometimes we are the disruptors proactively reshaping our businesses and careers to stay relevant and competitive. Other times, disruption is hoisted upon us via changing consumer expectations, competitive realities and unforeseen crisis that forever alter how we live and work. During this panel, you’ll get the unique perspective of top executives on strategically leading during disruption to drive growth, value and profitability. Hear how they’re doing it, and the advice they have to help you thrive amid disruption in whatever form it takes.

Tapping TikTok to Grow Your Business

TikTok, the most downloaded app in the world in 2020 according to App Annie, is an entertainment platform powered by a community that drives culture. Through short-form video content, TikTok strives to inspire creativity and spread joy. Over the last year and a half, TikTok has been attracting even more users across various ages and backgrounds, resulting in a diverse and inclusive community. What does this mean for advertisers? The platform represents a tremendous opportunity for businesses globally to build their brands and connect with audiences where they are consuming and creating content.

Human-Centered Leadership

The global pandemic has upended our previous models of work and forced us to consider new models of leadership, including our understanding of what it means to be a human-centered leader. Join Abigail Dunne-Moses and Cheryl Flink from the Center for Creative Leadership for deep reflections on the idea that today, human-centered leaders must leverage two polarities to foster thriving and sustainable organizational cultures, including Rest and Activity and Action and Intent. You will walk away with applicable advice for better managing the complex environments that accompany today's modern workforce.

Mastering Your Voice: Secrets of a Top Vocal Coach

As leaders, we know the importance of communication, yet our habits and blind spots can hinder our ability to effectively lead, connect and advance in our careers. Join vocal coach and therapist, Jennifer Hamady, for a conversation about the technical and emotional issues that interfere with our communication and self-expression. In this interactive workshop, you will learn practical tools for developing and extending your most powerful voice in the workplace and beyond.

From enacting comprehensive policies to redesigning outdated systems that perpetuate bias, leading organizations have prioritized creating an accessible and human-centered work environment. Presented in partnership with the Walter Kaitz Foundation and sponsored by Cox Communications, the session goal is to help our members create an environment where people can show up to their workplaces as their authentic selves and feel a sense of belonging, both personally and professionally. This thought-provoking session will delve into the practices that successful companies have established to foster safe, welcoming and empowering environments for LGBTQ+ individuals and beyond.

What’s the most effective path to success in any domain? It’s not what you think. Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule. Best-selling author on the science of performance David Epstein has examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields — especially those that are complex, unpredictable, and difficult to automate — generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.

Top athletes exemplify resilience, perseverance and teamwork—key skills that are also assets in the workplace. As one of the highest-rated Leadership Conference sessions, this encore panel discussion will explore the winning traits of high-performing athletes with none other than high performing athletes. Learn how their winning traits can provide our audience with a competitive edge in a business setting. Learn invaluable strategies from these top athletes and executives as they share their personal stories of trials and triumphs, empowering you to create your own corporate playbook.

The Growth Playbook — Reaching Beyond Trends

There’s no debate. The next generation of technology is driving an ever-accelerated rate of change in the media landscape. While facing stiff competition, cable companies are leading providers of broadband. In order to maintain this leadership, the industry must face head on new disruptions and disrupters leveraging challenges to their advantage. Join our panel of senior-level industry executives as they share their vision for a growth-oriented future.

Culture as Competitive Edge: From Luxury to Necessity

The world of work is forever and dramatically changed, accelerating the need to redefine organizational culture for the 21st century. Companies that get it right gain a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining top talent and driving critical business outcomes. In this timely discussion, packed with relevant stories, you will learn how to quickly identify your organization’s cultural competitive edge and two powerful strategies for distinguishing your team in the battle for top talent. Join executive coach, Sarah Levitt, for an interactive session designed to help you seize current opportunities to capitalize on culture.

The Role of Neuroplasticity in Learning

Everything we do, learn and forget changes our brains. This process is called “neuroplasticity,” and it can be studied in real time using advanced brain imaging approaches. Scientific data reveal that the central purpose of our brain is to make memories. In this sense we are learning machines, yet learning is not always easy and our ability to make new memories changes as we age. In this context, what can we do to facilitate learning? And how do stressors, like those imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, affect our capacity for learning? Join neuroscientist, Dr. Lara Boyd, to understand how behavior shapes learning, unlearning and relearning to ensure you are maximizing neuroplasticity mechanisms.

Think Like a Founder

Innovation, big and small, is essential for business success. Not without risk, it has the potential to increase value, profits and relevancy. Innovation also requires continual experimentation and adaptation. Successful entrepreneurs identify, develop and iterate new solutions that disrupt entire industries. What can we learn from them? Join global innovation expert Siobhan Dullea, CEO of MassChallenge, and Donna Levin, CEO, Arthur M. Blank School for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Babson College, for a candid conversation that explores the psychology of entrepreneurs and the principles they use to collaborate to create a sustainable business that challenges the status quo, drives economic value and creates meaningful change.

Roundtable Conversations

The impacts of COVID-19 have been layered and they continue to evolve. As we look ahead, businesses, communities and individuals are in the process of moving from crisis to recovery. In these live roundtable discussions, executive table presenters will share stories and experiences that have helped them emerge stronger. Participate in engaging dialogues on topics like managing stress, human-centered leadership and managing hybrid teams to gain actionable strategies to bring back to your personal life and your team.

Leaning Into Conflict

Conflict is often seen as a destructive battle of opposing forces from which there can be only one winner and one loser. Conflict can serve as an exchange of perspectives – a conversation that sparks new ideas and serves as a catalyst for growth. The difference in outcomes relies on how we manage it. Dr. Dravon James will redefine conflict and provide a deeper understanding of the fundamental link between conflict and diverse groups of individuals working towards a common goal. This session offers you a fresh perspective on how to effectively invite and manage conflict for the benefit of the entire team.

With nearly 3 million women leaving the workforce as a result of the COVID pandemic, a major course correction is imperative for companies to get back on track. Research shows us that one way to help that effort is through male allyship in the workplace. Women will progress toward gender parity exponentially faster when men are part of the solution.

Join us and this panel of leading presidents and C-suite executives who walk the walk – advocating for women within their workplace and in the industry at large – during this influential discussion about creating a culture of inclusion in the workplace.

This lively and informative conversation will be moderated by Joiava Philpott, SVP & General Counsel, Law & Policy, Cox Communications. Panelists include: Pat Esser, President & CEO, Cox Communications; Dexter Goei, CEO, Altice USA; Alfred C. Liggins, III, Chairman, TV One, CEO & President, Radio One; and Christopher L. Winfrey, CFO, Charter Communications.

A long-standing staple of the Leadership Conference, Pearls of Wisdom is the inspirational capstone session of the conference. Pearls is styled after the famed TED Talks, with dynamic and innovative thought leaders imparting their wisdom in several mini-keynotes. Speakers will share the journeys and transformational moments that have shaped their lives and careers, leaving our audience engaged, energized and empowered to take the teachings and turn them into an action plan!