WIT Honorees Emphasize Opportunities And Contributions Of Women In Technology
LAS VEGAS — Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV and recipient of this year’s Women In Technology (WIT) Leadership award, urged attendees of TVNewsCheck’s standing room only WIT awards reception Tuesday at the NAB Show to serve as tireless advocates for diversity and equality. “Always remember that there’s more that can be done,” she said.
The leadership award recognizes women who have contributed significantly to advancing their industry technologically, and Schelle has promoted the new voluntary ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard that broadcasters, manufacturers and consumers are embracing. She believes ATSC 3.0 will transform the industry. In introducing Schelle, 2021 WIT Leadership recipient Marci Lefkovitz, VP of technology and workflow strategy for Disney Content Operations, called Schelle a force of nature when it comes to promoting the 3.0 initiative.
“To take a new broadcast standard from concept to implementation without government support or early broad support from the industry is not for faint of heart, or for anyone who craves immediate gratification,” said Lefkovitz, who met Schelle when appointed as the ABC representative to the ATSC 3.0 initiative.
Schelle, who called herself an eternal optimist, said the movement is making progress. “I believe this is transformative for the industry, and we will get there,” she said.
Five other women were recognized during TVNewsCheck’s 13th annual awards program — two Futurists and three Women to Watch.
This year’s WIT Futurists — those who take a long-range view of where the television industry should be moving and figure out how to get it there — are Cobalt Digital’s Suzana Brady and Ateme’s Chrystelle Le Gall. Brady, SVP for worldwide sales and marketing at Cobalt Digital, chairs the Reliable Internet Stream Transport (RIST) Forum. As chair for RIST, Brady has expanded the forum to more than 200 members and has also educated the media industry about the HDR aspects of the ATSC 3.0 standard. Le Gall is lead cloud solutions architect at Ateme who designed a reference architecture for cloud solutions that automated operations for Ateme clients. Her moves helped lay the foundation for the company’s customers to transition to the cloud during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 recipient of the WIT Leadership award, Barbara Lange, previous executive director of Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), said Brady “lives and breathes futurist.”
Brady “pivoted to technology by falling in love with fast-paced technology in Silcon Valley” and has worked to create a standard for reliable internet stream transport and educate the industry about it, she said.
Brady urged those involved in RIST to “choose to give back to the industry” and invest their decades of experience and knowledge in the RIST cause.
Speaking to the young generation entering the industry, she said: “Girls, you were born with this inner strength — your resilience your empathy, your sense of awareness, your unique views, your talents, your determination. You have super powers. All of you. Superpowers. Use them to fulfil your dreams. Don’t tell anything hold you back. Respect yourself. Every work place should embrace women. You should not be the exception.”
Janet Gardner, 2020 Futurist recipient and co-founder of Perspective Media, called Le Gall a passionate and practical strategist and technologist. “When she joined Ateme in 2018, she took another leap, really starting to drive Ateme to the cloud,” she said.
Le Gall said historically she hasn’t thought that women couldn’t be in technology.
But teamwork was essential, she said. She urged the younger women not to have doubts about going into science or technology because they think it’s a man’s world.
“I never thought women in technology is a challenge. I’m not saying it was really easy,” she said. “Women, you can do whatever you want, you just have to work for it.”
WIT also recognizes Women to Watch, who have contributed toward advancing the industry technologically. For 2023, the Women to Watch are Hannah Barnhardt, COO of TMT Insights, Emily Stone, VP for digital content and LiveNOW for Fox Television Stations, and Nadia Khan, chief marketing officer at LTN.
Barnhardt developed a production and operational strategy for bringing to market a cloud-native, technology-agnostic operational management platform for media supply chain operational users created an important new option for content creators and distributors competing in a multimedia environment.
Terri Davies, president of the Trusted Partner Network, called Barnhardt optimistic and full of promise. Davies said Barnhardt’s advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs is to “recognize your passion, play to your strengths, be humble, know what you don’t know, and ask for help.”
For her part, Barnhardt said she has been fortunate to be surrounded by incredible mentors and to collaborate with some of the sharpest minds inside and outside the industry. “It’s a joy every day to support initiatives that matter to the industry.”
Stone oversaw the complete overhaul of the Fox TV websites and apps to deliver a better user experience, while adding new features such as the ability to watch live news from all of the Fox markets on each station’s website. The integral role developing and expanding the streaming service LiveNOW from Fox, created an unfiltered look at live news breaking across the U.S.”
Abby Auerbach, Chief Communications Officer for Television Bureau of Advertising, said Stone is focused on delivering an excellent user experience through LiveNOW. “She said, “You don’t have a great user experience if you don’t have great content, and you can’t share it without a great tool,” Auerbach said. “We can’t be stuck in how we’ve always done things.”
Stone first attended NAB in 2018 to talk with broadcast engineers about digital content in 2018. “I was supposed to explain how digital content works and how they could work with their digital teams,” she said. “I was one of three women in the room.” It is hard to believe, she said, that was only five years ago. “Being a woman in this industry is not always easy, but it is always 100% worth it,” Stone said.
Khan developed a strategic marketing and communications plan, including digital, social media and demand-generation programs, drove sales while positioning LTN as an increasingly important technology provider to the media industry.
Del Parks, president of technology at Sinclair Inc., said he first met Khan when she was doing an internship, and she reminded him of his daughters. “We hit it off right away. She was very intense, incredibly competent.”
Khan said it was humbling to be included in the company of women who are so accomplished.
Read more about this year’s Women in Technology Awards here.