Words of Wisdom From Our Women of the Year

Our 2022 Women of the Year and Women to Watch are paving the way for tomorrow’s generation of leaders. Below, each of them weigh in with insights and lessons learned from their respective leadership journeys.


Colleen Langner, Executive Vice President & Chief Operations Officer at Cox Communications, 2022 Woman of the Year – Operator

“I’ve been fortunate to work with many fantastic leaders during my career. Keeping consumer needs at the root of your decisions was one of the lessons I learned early on. As a leader, you’re faced with choices that impact customers, teams, and the business. Staying close to the customer has been my solid North Star. I’ve also found that confidence and being an engaged leader who is curious and asks the tough questions is imperative to driving change. Building an inclusive team with diversity of thought and experiences has been foundational as well. There’s nothing better than when debate turns into action. Lastly, as a leader, you have to have heart and show compassion. Being vulnerable builds trust and enables teams to see your optimism and vision for the future.”

Wonya Lucas, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hallmark Media, 2022 Woman of the Year – Programmer

“I understood my strengths and weaknesses very early in life. I was taught to recognize, leverage and to be proud of my strengths. Growing up in the South, I was also taught that I could be underestimated because I was a young, Black woman, but it was imperative that I was true to myself and all that I was and could be. I was also reminded of my weaknesses. Through my parents, I learned the art of leveraging self-examination and vulnerability to set goals and gain the knowledge and hustle necessary to achieve them. Today as a leader, I think of myself as a teacher and a coach. I look for the best positional ‘players’ that have infinite possibilities in terms of their breadth of skills, opportunities, and drive. I have worked and do work with some of the most brilliant people in the industry, and they know that by putting the team first, you can win and be successful.”

Shannon Atkinson, Regional Vice President, Field Operations – West Region, Charter Communications, 2022 Woman to Watch – Operator

“Our industry is constantly growing and continues to evolve every year, so it’s crucial to maintain relationships and make new connections with others working in this business. Actively participating in professional development groups such as The WICT Network — either by serving as a board member or by mentoring others — has provided incredible value over the years and helped me engage with [a diverse group of] men and women in our industry. While I worked in Ohio and North Carolina, the local chapters offered strong networks of people that I could share my experiences with and allowed me to help others along the way. Our industry also offers many leadership courses and development programs through organizations such as The WICT Network, NCTI and SCTE. In addition to networking opportunities, these classes have helped me stay on top of current trends and grow with the business. Building a network requires being proactive and self-motivation. It you put in the effort, you will find that our industry is vast and full of welcoming people willing to share their knowledge and experiences.”

Lisa Williams-Fauntroy, SVP, Business & Legal Affairs, Warner Bros. Discovery, 2022 Woman to Watch – Programmer

“I use a few approaches to help my team stay motivated and help them overcome fears. For example, as a leader I try to remain positive even in the most difficult times. This doesn’t mean I ignore the challenges or fears or uncertainties facing us; in fact, it’s just the opposite. I openly discuss and acknowledge the issues that are difficult. I think turning a blind eye to the ‘elephant in the room’ or side stepping a difficult topic distances leaders from their teams. And while remaining positive is hard, exuding negativity is uninspiring and counterproductive. Another approach I use to help my team stay motivated is to remind people to focus on what each of us as individuals and as a team can control because that‘s where we can have the most positive and impactful influence. Lastly, while my team may find it silly, I like to share quotes with them to take us out of our own heads and ground us through the words of others. The right quotes can be inspirational, thought provoking and can give you a small anchor to come back to when needed.”

Urvi Shah, VP, Global Key Account Marketing, CommScope, 2022 Woman to Watch – Technology

“The most important lesson learned from my mentor is the art of listening. Listening not only to the words spoken, but also observing the body language and connecting to what someone is feeling. A good mentor will probe for information to get a clear picture of the mentee’s situation. Asking the right questions, can sometimes help the mentee develop their own solutions. Other times, a mentor needs to be more involved, for example offer to review materials or the approach or help connect the mentee to others that can provide support. Taking the time to listen and provide encouragement, will ultimately build trust and create a more effective and rewarding relationship for both the mentor and mentee.”