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WICT honors ESPN trio; company hailed for workplace environment

In its seventh annual Evening of Excellence, presented by ESPN, Women In Cable Telecommunications’ (WICT) New England chapter honored three ESPN women at the Museum of Science in Boston, on Nov. 3.

Lori LeBas, Senior Vice President, Business Strategy and Operations, won the Career Achievement Award; Holly Palmer, Senior Engineer, Media Systems, received the Technical Achievement Award; and Doreen Balimidi, Contract Coordinator, was named Champion of Change.

Front Row caught up with the honorees as well as WICT New England’s Chapter President and Senior Director of Affiliate Business Operations, Jenn Kirkwood.

Kirkwood explained that WICT is an organization whose mission is to develop women leaders who transform our industry. LeBas said: “I joined WICT to learn more about the industry, network with smart and interesting colleagues and grow as a leader. Those are the same reasons I stay.”

On WICT New England’s Evening of Excellence, ESPN’s honorees discuss their achievements:

FR: What does being a visionary leader mean to you? And how have you paired ideas with action plans to realize success?

Lori LeBas: Being a visionary leader means staying educated about the business, listening to the smart people in the industry and more importantly on your team and in your company, synthesizing ideas and concepts, formulating and acting on plans, taking risks and always being candid and honest.

FR: Remembering the progress that’s been made in the area of technology, what project are you most proud to have been a part of? And what excites you about the future?

Holly Palmer: I have been honored to contribute to the transformation of how audio is made here in Bristol … I love that we have expanded beyond just radio to include all audio. In addition to broadcast radio, we have Internet radio, podcasting, satellite, and Slacker to name a few; it has become an amazingly diverse distribution palate for audio content. The technology we use now is only the beginning of our progression toward additional personalized and on demand audio platforms. I want to be in on that development.

FR: Why is a commitment to change so important in our industry today?

Doreen Balimidi: With technology and new innovation moving at the speed of light, we have to embrace change in order to stay competitive and relevant… there is always something new to learn every day, whether to improve upon your skills or to reach out into unknown territories and do something you’ve only thought about.

More ESPN women are recognized as WICT’s Most Powerful Women in Cable. For a complete list, click here.

On ESPN being named one of the top five places to work for women (for full release, click here).

Jenn Kirkwood: Through participation in programs like the PAR initiative, the good work that ESPN does is being recognized. ESPN has done some tremendous things to make this a better place to work for everyone, as well as meet some specific needs for the women in our company. We can look to the ERGs [Employee Resource Groups], our childcare facility, wellness center, nutritionist, massage therapist, flexible work schedules, job rotation programs, our own women’s leadership conference, and the support of WICT participation for learning and development opportunities as just a few.

It’s a great honor to be one of the top five companies for women –this year. Are we going to still be there next year? Are we ever going to be the top company? I don’t know; the competition is pretty fierce. But it is a contest that I believe deserves our best efforts.

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