In a wide-ranging interview on Beet.tv, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) COO Kristin Dolan said the cable industry doesn't have nearly the glass ceiling for female executives that businesses like publishing do.
"For women, I never faced any glass ceilings," she tells the online video service, which regularly interviews influential digital media executives. "I was actually attracted to cable TV, because I had been working in publishing, which was a much more male-dominated traditional industry. When I came into cable, I worked with and for a lot of amazing women who moved up through the ranks and who held [high-ranking] positions … There never really felt like there was a glass ceiling. That was really attractive to me at 23, 24 years old. I hope that's the way it continues to be in television and in advertising."
The perspective of one of the cable industry's more influential female executives belies a general image of a cable TV industry decision-making roster that is widely perceived to be older, male and caucasian. None of the top 10 pay-TV companies have female CEOs. However, Dolan is a member of one of the most influential cable TV families: She married Cablevision CEO James Dolan in 2002.
Remarking on other topics, Dolan sought to outline the space for telecommunications companies like Cablevision, which work adjacent to Silicon Valley companies in bringing the Internet to consumers.
"None of the people in Silicon Valley, they don't want to have trucks, they don't want to answer phones, they don't want to go into people's homes, and we do that, and we do that really well," she said. "To take that unglamorous aspect of what we do and to make it something our employees are proud of and our customers feel is a great experience is a nontraditional telecommunications opportunity, but it's something I'm excited about."
Dolan, a former English major who worked in publishing, began her cable career in 1990 at Cablevision programming arm Rainbow Media, which is now AMC Networks. When asked how younger workers out of college should perceive the cable industry, she also struck a glamor-over-substance tone.
"Working in a call center might not sound glamorous, but when you think about the opportunities to lead a team, to embellish an experience for a customer, and to really cultivate technology and new perspectives on service into a job, things that might not on the surface appear interesting or appealing can actually become gateways to really interesting careers," she said.
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