Rising to the Top: Women in CE Style
Panel Answers Burning Career QuestionsJune 27, 2012 By Stephanie Adamow
The first Women in CE career-enhancement forum comprised of several presentations and panel programs illustrating keys to success for females in this industry. One of these panels focused on "Insights on Success: An Exploration on Rising to the Top."
The panel, moderated by the day's keynote speaker, Cathie Black, former chairwoman and president of Hearst Magazines and New York Times best-selling author of "Basic Black: The Essential Guide to Getting Ahead at Work (And in Life)," included Sandra Benedetto, director of Field Engineering for THX Media Director technology at THX Ltd.; Karen Chupka, senior VP of Events and Conferences at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA); Andrea Smith, channel editor, Mashable Lifestyle; and Kristine Welker, VP, chief revenue officer for Hearst Digital Media.
Black directed career questions to the panel, beginning with the topic of risk-taking, specifically asking is taking risks scary? Stupid?
Andrea Smith was the obvious first respondent, having recently left a 25-year career at ABC to join Mashable. "It's scary, stupid, smart, challenging—all of it! No matter how fulfilling and challenging your current position may be, when something comes along that pokes at your passion, you have to take the risk. There may not be another opportunity."
Hearst's Welker also jumped ship from print to digital media at the company. "It was a scary decision," she admitted. "There were people who told me I was crazy, but there were people who said that I could build my career and the company's brands.
"It took me six months to realize that I didn't know digital at all, but I am learning every day."
When asked what being in the CE industry had taught her, THX's Benedetto responded that she had found supportive men, even though as a woman she felt the need to prove herself.
"It does help to cultivate alliances with men and women in the CE industry," Benedetto said.
"Women may stand out in this industry," added CEA's Chupka, "but that's a good thing."
Is it exciting to be in the CE industry? Would you recommend it to a young college grad?
"I would absolutely encourage a young woman to join," said Benedetto. "It is an exciting time; we have a lot to offer the industry. We offer purchasing power but also what we need—our perspective is vital to this industry."