WICT Announces 2016 Woman of the Year and Women to Watch Honorees


Washington, DC – Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) today named Kathleen Finch, Chief Programming, Content & Brand Officer, Scripps Networks Interactive, as the 2016 recipient of its highest individual accolade, Woman of the Year. WICT also announced the esteemed 2016 Women to Watch honorees: Laura Gentile, Senior Vice President, espnW and Women’s Initiatives, ESPN; and Mary McLaughlin, Senior Vice President, Beltway Region, Comcast Cable.

The Woman of the Year award is bestowed on a leader who has made increasingly significant contributions throughout her career to her company and the overall cable telecommunications industry. She has achieved top status and shows great resolve to help others along their path. The Woman to Watch award is bestowed on a leader who shows tremendous promise for transforming the industry through her professional accomplishments. She has already demonstrated exemplary business acumen as well as a strong dedication to the industry and her organization.
The awards will be presented during the WICT Touchstones Luncheon on Monday, September 19 at the New York Marriott Marquis, in conjunction with the annual WICT Leadership Conference, as part of Cable’s Diversity Week. AMC Networks returns as the exclusive Premier Sponsor of the Touchstones Luncheon. 

"WICT is proud to recognize and honor these three highly accomplished professionals," said Maria E. Brennan, CAE, President & CEO, WICT. "All of our honorees exemplify the WICT Touchstones of Leadership and offer other women compelling role models to emulate. We look forward to showcasing their achievements during this year’s Touchstones Luncheon as part of Diversity Week 2016."
About Kathleen Finch
Kathleen Finch is Chief Programming, Content & Brand Officer for all six of Scripps Networks Interactive’s U.S. brands — HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country. Since Finch was appointed to her new role in August 2015, household primetime ratings have risen at all six networks.
Previously, as President of the Home Category, Finch led HGTV, DIY Network and Great American Country to record ratings and revenues. She launched such notable talent-driven series as Ellen’s Design Challenge, The Property Brothers, Love It or List It, The Vanilla Ice Project and DIY Network Blog Cabin, the first ever interactive home renovation series produced on-air and online.

Before joining Scripps Networks in 1999, Finch was a journalist working in both broadcast and print. She spent 12 years as a CBS Network News producer, traveling the world to cover breaking news and events in diverse locations such as Cuba and the U.K.

Finch is a graduate of Stanford University, the CTAM Executive Management Program, WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute (Class 13), WICT’s Senior Executive Summit at Stanford GSB, and the Scripps Leadership Institute. She has been honored as a "Woman to Watch" by WICT, is listed each year among the most powerful women in cable by Cablefax: The Magazine, and was recognized by Multichannel News as a "Woman to Watch." She was also named one of TIME’s "100 Industry Innovators to Watch" and featured in Broadcasting & Cable’s "The Next Wave: B&C’s Annual Salute to Women Who Make a Difference."
About Laura Gentile
Laura Gentile is Senior Vice President, espnW and Women’s Initiatives, ESPN. She was instrumental in launching espnW, ESPN’s first dedicated business built to serve women who love sports, debuting in December 2010 as a blog and evolved as of April 2011 to an enhanced website. It is now a multimedia business encompassing digital, social, television, films and events such as The espnW: Women + Sports Summit.

Gentile previously served as Vice President, Chief of Staff at ESPN. In that role, she worked directly with George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, on all aspects of the company’s business. Gentile joined ESPN in January 2003. Before joining ESPN, Gentile honed her marketing and advertising skills at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.

Gentile was a fellow of WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute (Class 22), and was named to Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal "Forty Under 40" class of 2012. She was appointed to the U.S. Department of State’s Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports, developed by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 2013, espnW and Gentile received WICT’s Signature Accolade for their Global Sports Mentoring Program.
A graduate of Duke University, she earned an MBA from Boston College. While an undergraduate, Gentile garnered All-America and All-ACC honors in field hockey and was a two-time team captain. She was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary field hockey team.

About Mary McLaughlin
As Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Beltway Region, Mary McLaughlin leads multidisciplinary teams of more than 5,000 employees focused on transforming the customer experience and delivering Comcast’s best-in-class products to more than two million customers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., as well as parts of Delaware, North Carolina and West Virginia.
McLaughlin joined Comcast in 2006 as Area Vice President for New Hampshire and has since served as Area Vice President for the Greater Boston South operating area and as Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Western New England Region prior to her current role. Prior to transitioning to the telecommunications industry more than 20 years ago, she served as Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General specializing in consumer protection. She went on to hold numerous public affairs, public policy and operational leadership positions in telecom companies throughout the Northeast prior to Comcast. 

McLaughlin graduated from Bridgewater State College and Suffolk University Law School. Acknowledging the admiration she has earned as a leader in the industry, Cablefax: The Magazine named her a "Top Regional Player" in the publication’s annual "The 100" top power players list each year from 2011 to 2015 and one of the "Most Powerful Women in Cable" in 2008 and 2014. WICT’s New England Chapter also honored her in 2013 with the "Career Achievement" award and in 2009 with the "Industry Leader of the Year" award. 

About WICT
For over thirty-five years, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) has partnered with cable and telecommunications leaders to provide professional development programs, research and services that help advance women in cable media. With 10,000 members, WICT is the oldest and largest professional association serving women in the cable and telecommunications industry. Comcast NBCUniversal, Charter Communications and Turner are WICT’s Strategic Touchstone Partners. Please visit www.wict.org or follow @WICT on Twitter for more information.

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