To Be Presented During Cable Hall of Fame Celebration on April 18, 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 17, 2024
DENVER – The Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center announced today that Geraldine Laybourne, Cable Entrepreneur and Chairman of DAY ONE Early Learning Community, has been named the 2024 Bresnan Award recipient. The award recognizes the late William J. Bresnan, founder and chairman of Bresnan Communications and longtime chairman of the board of the Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center. The award will be presented at the 27th annual Cable Hall of Fame celebration, April 18, 2024, at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City.
“Gerry is a true trailblazer in the cable industry – from building Nickelodeon into a top-rated network to creating Oxygen and leading Disney/ABC, her career achievements are unrivaled,” said Michael Willner, Chairman and CEO of Penthera Partners and Chairman of the Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center’s Board of Directors. “She has tirelessly served the industry through her work on numerous boards and the thousands of women she has mentored. Her unwavering dedication to the early learning community is game changing. It is a special honor to present my good friend with the 2024 Bresnan Ethics in Business Award.”
“What an honor to receive this award in Bill’s name. A role model to all of us, Bill was passionate about using business as a jumping off point to make the world a better place,” said Ms. Laybourne. “I love that so many of us, in the formative years of cable, built businesses that gave back to the communities we served. I’m particularly proud of the mentoring efforts we started that now live on all over the world. I started casually asking young women to take a walk rather than going out for a meal. We formalized it in 2006 by launching the first ever Mentors Walk in NYC, and now there are 175 walks taking place annually. I think Bill would heartily approve of all these wise women giving advice to the next generation of leaders by taking a walk.”
A pioneer in creating innovative and high-quality television programming for children, Geraldine Laybourne spent 16 years at Nickelodeon, taking over the management of the network in 1984. Laybourne and her team were responsible for creating and building the Nickelodeon brand and, in 1985, for launching Nick at Nite, the successful primetime line-up of retro sitcoms. Under her leadership, Nickelodeon became the top-rated 24-hour cable programming service and won several notable honors, including Emmys®, Peabodys®, CableACE® and Parent’s Choice® awards, among numerous others.
Laybourne was president of Disney/ABC Cable Networks (from 1996-1998) where she was responsible for overseeing cable programming for the Walt Disney Company and its ABC subsidiary. While there, she was also in charge of developing future television programming for cable and other platforms. She developed the plans for ABC News’s 24-hour network and ABZ, an interactive educational network that failed to launch. In 1999 she founded Oxygen Media and served as its chairman and chief executive officer until she sold it to NBC Universal in 2007. Oxygen was born to fill a void in the television landscape — creating a network targeted to younger women.
Laybourne was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2020 and named one of the 25 most influential people in America by Time magazine in 1996. Her numerous awards include the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s award for Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Children and Television, the New York Women in Communications Matrix Award® for Broadcasting, and the Creative Coalition’s Spotlight Award. Her other honors include the Grand Tam Award® from the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), the Governor’s Award® from the National Academy of Cable Programming, the American Women in Radio and Television Genii Award®, the Women in Cable Award®, and the Sara Lee Corporation’s Frontrunner Award®. She also received both the Entrepreneur of the Year Award® from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and the New York Women in Film Muse Award®. In 1995, she was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. Laybourne was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame in 2004. Of all the honors Laybourne has received, the most important to her was being invited as the first programmer to the Cable Entrepreneurs Club in 2006.
Laybourne sat on a number of industry boards and advisory committees, including The National Cable Television Association, The National Council for Families and Television, New York Women in Film & Television, and the Council of National Advisors of Springboard Enterprises. Ms. Laybourne also served on the Board of Directors of KinderCare, Electronic Arts, Symantec Corporation, JCPenney, Insight Communications, and Move.com. She currently sits on the boards of Betaworks, Common Sense Media Growth, The Poughkeepsie Children’s Cabinet, and the Youth Opportunity Union (YOU) Advisory Boards. She is the Vice Chairman of Vital Voices, an organization that supports and develops promising women leaders around the world and recently retired from the Board of Trustees of Vassar College.
In 2019 Laybourne launched DAY ONE Early Learning Community, a model teaching apprenticeship program and early learning community, with co-founders Dr. Julie Riess, the longtime director of Vassar College’s early learning schools, and Dr. Rebecca Edwards, a Vassar professor and former county legislator.
“Gerry is a programming innovator and pioneer who helped build some of the strongest entertainment brands in the industry today,” said Diane Christman, President and CEO, Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center. “Additionally, her commitment to giving back to her community is unmatched. We are thrilled to recognize her with this year’s Bresnan Award.”
The Bresnan Ethics in Business Award was created to honor outstanding men and women in the cable industry who best exemplify Bill Bresnan’s longstanding commitment to ethics in business, and demonstrating societal, community, and philanthropic engagement.
The 27th annual Cable Hall of Fame will be held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom on April 18, 2024.
About The Cable Hall of Fame Celebration
The industry’s best networking event, the Cable Hall of Fame honors leaders in connectivity, content, and media who have made a lasting contribution to the advancement of the industry. The official Cable Hall of Fame hashtag is #CableHOF.
About Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center
Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center is a modern hub for leadership development, education, and collaboration. Here, leaders come together—in person, online, and within organizations—to exchange ideas and advance innovation. An educational nonprofit based in Denver, Colorado, Syndeo Institute is home to Intrapreneurship Academy, a series of intensive leadership and innovation courses for connectivity, media, entertainment, and technology industry standouts. Syndeo Institute celebrates the contributions of industry trailblazers through the Cable Hall of Fame and Barco Library––the world’s largest collection of industry archives, historical objects, and oral histories.
Visit syndeoinstitute.org for more information.
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