Rosalia Portela, CEO of ONO and Dana Strong, CEO of UPC Ireland speak to Cable News on challenges encountered along the way to the top and give some free advice on what it takes to get there.
Power has no gender
Fortune 500’s current list of female CEOs is currently at its longest ever. Women are at the top of 18 of the companies. It is safe to say that the glass ceiling is cracked but by no means has it been shattered. And when we look closer to home in the tech sector, the list is shorter – HP, Xerox and Yahoo! stand out. The cable industry has some power brokers of its own who are pioneers, role models and the face of inspiration for women in business leadership in Europe and beyond.
Reaching the top requires good challenge management skills. ONO’s CEO, Rosalia Portela was forthcoming about encountering hurdles, “Throughout my career I have found many preconceptions that I have had to face by proving, with work and effort, that women are capable of achieving all the professional goals we set ourselves.” Ms. Portela went on to say that she “found preconceived ideas on how far women could go, a fact that included a certain fear of the unknown that required more effort and determination in our case.”
Sitting in class back in secondary school, Dana Strong, CEO of UPC Ireland recalls one of her teachers leading a discussion about the proverbial glass ceiling. “It just seemed like a challenge too good to refuse” for Strong. Having changed her mind on becoming a doctor, she was searching for something new. “Whether consciously or sub-consciously I chose a university that has one of the best business schools in the world. Once I achieved the right grades and enrolled in Wharton, I set the wheels in motion.”
Cable’s chiefs offer free advice: “I urge young women to have the tenacity to believe that good performance will be recognised. Also I would council young talent to have strong self-awareness about what you are good at and what you aren’t. Use your strengths and work on your weaknesses,” says Strong.
Leadership in the business world is changing, giving reason for optimism. “Giving a woman a position of responsibility generated a lot of insecurity in those who dared to make that decision and, of course, any mistakes that could be made were placed on our shoulders,” concedes Portela. “We have been able to overcome this by showing, with great determination and guaranteed results, that we are capable of everything we set out to achieve.”
CABLE CONGRESS 2013
Rosalia Portela and Dana Strong are joining Annet Aris of Kabel Deutschland, Sanoma and Adjunct Prof. INSEAD, Berit Svendsen of Telenor Norway and Miranda Curtis of Liberty Global in the Panel Discussion: View from the Top, moderated by a CNN news anchor, Nina Dos Santos. View the latest agenda here.