Oct 31, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Special to TelevisionWeek

Several years ago, WICT was going through a major strategic planning process and reorganization, and we decided to bring in a new president who could be a great spokesperson for us and who could meet comfortably with CEOs of all the major players in the industry.

We decided to bring someone who was not your typical association management person. Benita was not in the cable industry at all before she came to WICT. But if anyone had misgivings about that, she quickly dispelled them.

I wasn’t on the selection committee, but I got to know Benita shortly after she came in. She’s very striking looking, tall and confident, and I could tell right away from listening to her that we were lucky to get her.

WICT was still headquartered in Chicago when Benita started. She was in Virginia and commuting. She had the idea to move us to the Washington area, where we would be closer to government agencies and different groups we worked closely with, like the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and others. That was a pretty big move. We went through some major turnover, and Benita was able to move us while changing our staff, rebuilding our infrastructure, buying new computer and database management equipment and reaching out to business leaders in our new community. She handled everything really smoothly.

One of our shortcomings that we in the leadership of WICT were well aware of for a number of years was that we were not working effectively with human resources in our industry. Benita went to work on that and really reached out to them. She started a Human Resources Advisory Council and pulled in top executives at major corporations to begin regularly scheduled quarterly meetings. It was a great initiative, and it’s going to put us in a very good place going forward.

She has all the qualities of a successful leader-great energy, drive, enthusiasm for our mission, and of course that competitive spirit. She’s a big reason for our success. n

Robin Sangston is VP and assistant general counsel for Cox Communications and chair of Women in Cable & Telecommunications.