2018 Signature Luncheon

A look back at the 2018 Signature Luncheon

Above: Members of the WICT Global Board of Directors at the 2018 Signature Luncheon with NCTA President & CEO, Michael Powell. From l-r: Amy Blair, Chief People Officer, Liberty Global; Debbie Stang, COO, Midco; Kathleen O’Reilly, Senior Managing Director, Accenture; Michael Powell; WICT Board Chair, Marva Johnson, Vice President, State Government Affairs – South Region, Charter Communications; Immediate Past Chair, Martha Soehren, Chief Talent Development Officer & SVP, Comcast University & Comcast Cable; and WICT President & CEO, Maria Brennan.

The 2018 Signature Luncheon, WICT’s key gender diversity and inclusion platform, took place at the New York Hilton Midtown on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Industry leaders from across the country filled the hotel’s Grand Ballroom to recognize the achievements of the top operators and programmers for women to work, based on the 2017 PAR Workplace Diversity survey.

The awards portion of the program recognized the 2017 PAR Top Operators for Women to Work: Comcast Corporation, Cox Communications, Midco and Mediacom Communications Corporation; and the 2017 PAR Top Programmers for Women to Work: NBCUniversal, Discovery, Inc.and Disney ABC Television Group.

Scroll down to view more photos and read about the program.

WICT President & CEO, Maria Brennan

WICT President & CEO, Maria Brennan opened the program with remarks that recalled the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., noting that this year’s luncheon took place on the 50th anniversary of his untimely death. Said Brennan, “Not a day to mourn the tragic loss; a day to treasure his life and his indelible legacy. I can’t think of a better backdrop to shine a light on our industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as we present the PAR Awards to honor the top companies for women to work, as measured by the 2017 PAR survey.”


Jen Neal, member of the WICT Global Board of Directors and Executive Vice President, Marketing and Executive Producer, Live Events for E! Entertainment, served as the Honorary Chair for the
2018 WICT Signature Luncheon.

Honorary Chair, Jen Neal, praised the industry for recognizing that D&I is an imperative for all parts of a company, both internal and external, saying “we should all feel proud that diversity and inclusion is no longer a ‘check in the box’ initiative for our industry. It is a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the business that enables us to create rich and authentic programming that reflects our diverse audiences.”

Marva Johnson, Chair, WICT Global Board of Directors

Chair of the WICT Global Board of Directors Marva Johnson reiterated the need for empirical data in building the business case for gender diversity and inclusion. “That’s why the PAR Initiative is so important; it enables us to collect and widely disseminate the survey data and best practices – demonstrating that our industry is an excellent career path for women.”

Our host, Stephanie Ruhle, NBC News correspondent and anchor of MSNBC Live.

This sentiment was shared later in the program by host Stephanie Ruhle, who stated “As a woman with a background in business and finance, I appreciate strategic business tactics that make companies more profitable. We know through data, as WICT routinely highlights, that strong workplace diversity and inclusion equals a stronger bottom line.”

Award Presentations: PAR Top Companies for Women to Work

Rita Ferro, President of Advertising Sales, Disney ABC Television Group (left), accepting a PAR Top Programmer Award from host, Stephanie Ruhle.

Savalle Sims, EVP & General Counsel, Discovery, Inc. (left), accepting a PAR Top Programmer Award from host, Stephanie Ruhle.
Italia Commisso Weinand, EVP, Programming & Human Resources, Mediacom, accepting a Top Operator Award.
WICT Global Board member Debbie Stang, Chief Operating Officer, Midco, accepting a Top Operator Award.
Karen Bennett, EVP & Chief Human Resources Officer, Cox Communications (left), accepting a PAR Top Operator Award from host, Stephanie Ruhle.
Pictured above with Stephanie Ruhle (center): NBCUniversal’s Christy Shibata, CFO, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, and David L. Cohen, Comcast’s Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, accepting the Top Programmer Award for NBCUniversal and Top Operator Award for Comcast.