Gender equality in the workplace is an often discussed topic and no more so in the cable industry. We spoke to Cable Labs' Edie Winters and Liberty Global's Beatrice Flammini about how diversity is making the industry stronger than ever.
Cable Labs Director for Strategy and Innovation Edie Winters gives her take on workplace diversity.
Cable Congress: Hi Edie, thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions.
CC: Do you think companies with a diverse workforce are more competitive?
Edie Winters: Absolutely. As our CEO Phil McKinney says: “The key to unlocking the innovation potential in an organisation is the ability to change perspective. By looking at problems and opportunities in a different way, we create the opportunity to discover solutions that create competitive advantage. One key to changing the perspective is to create innovation teams with the widest range of diversity including ethnicity, age, education, nationality, socioeconomic status, family structure and any other characteristic that defines us as individuals.”
CC: Would a better gender balance benefit the cable industry?
EW: Yes, diversity of thought is a crucial component to the wave of innovation that the cable industry is set to experience in the near and distant future. I am happy to say that NAMIC and WICT announced plans to conduct a joint survey with a focus on the current state of ethnic and gender diversity within the industry. Their findings will be presented as part of Diversity Week in September.
CC: In your company, how are you supporting more women into leadership positions?
EW: By encouraging and supporting them to engage with mentors within their company, the industry, and through WICT. And, encouraging them to participate in areas outside of their comfort zones, to be visible within and outside of the industry.
CC: What role does corporate culture play in attracting women to the cable industry?
EW: An inclusive culture is critical to a company’s success. Take a cable company like Spectrum. They are one of Women in Cable Telecommunications Leading Employers. The women I’ve met that work for Spectrum are amazing advocates and promoters for the industry. Another is Comcast NBC Universal who advertises diversity and inclusion as part of their DNA and was named a “Best Workplace for Diversity” by Fortune Magazine. These are only two examples of the industry being recognised for their corporate culture thereby making it more attractive to women.
CC: To a young woman looking to enter the cable industry today, what advice would you give?
EW: Go for it – the possibilities are endless! The cable industry is constantly evolving and really changing the future of connectivity through video, broadband, and wireless innovations. The earlier we can introduce girls to STEM through organisations like Girls Who Code and girlstart.org, the more likely they will pursue and enjoy technical careers in areas like CyberSecurity, IoT, AI, VR, Machine Learning, etc. UpRamp (sponsored by CableLabs) is a strong supporter of these efforts and working with organisations like Women Who Startup to bring female-led companies into the ecosystem.