Interview Date: Thursday October 06, 2011
Interview Location: New York, NY
Interviewer: Brad Samuels
Collection: CTAM Collection
CTAM Chapters – The Middle Years (1995-2003)
Brad Samuels, Moderator
Carla Lewis-Long, NuvoTV
Brian Kelly, BK Enterprises
Pam Halling, Insight Communications
Jan Liddicoat, Scripps Networks
BRAD SAMUELS: Hi, I’m Brad Samuels and I’m pleased to welcome you to today’s discussion which is focused on the history of CTAM’s chapters, specifically the years 1995-2003. CTAM is the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing. It’s an organization that has been in the cable industry for over 30 years with a mission for advancing excellence in cable TV marketing. CTAM’s chapters began rising in the mid 1980s as an effort to bring the same mission down to local markets and regions around the country. The CTAM chapters along with the national organization have decided to end the operations of the chapters at the end of 2011 due to many of the changes that have occurred in the ownership and the decision process in the cable industry. So we thought it would be fitting to spend some time talking about the history of CTAM chapters and some of the contributions that the chapters made to the growth of the industry and to the careers of many of the biggest executives and most successful of those in the industry. So today I’m pleased to be joined by several panelists who can really speak to CTAM and CTAM’s chapters. Who’ve played critical roles in the development and growth of many of the most successful chapters in CTAM’s history. I’m going to make a brief introduction and then we are going to come back and hear some comments and thoughts from them in just a couple of minutes.
First, next to me is Carla Lewis- Long. Carla has played a role in many of the chapters over the years. She’s moved around to be involved in different parts of the country in the industry and pivotal in the growth of many of the chapters particularly on the East Coast. You’re VP of distribution of NuvoTV but you’ve also worked for other cable networks such as American Life, Oxygen, and USA Networks which I believe is where you were at the time in the late 90s that we’re focused on here in today’s discussion. At that point you were mostly involved with the New England and to some degree the New York chapter?
CARLA LEWIS-LONG: Correct.
SAMUELS: Next to Carla is Brian Kelly. Brian is well known in the industry for being one of the top marketers on the MSO side spending over 20 years at Time Warner Cable and having many senior leadership roles including most recently CMO of the eastern region. In the last few months, he segued into running his own company, BK Enterprises, which is doing consulting in both the cable and other parts of the media business. Brian was also very involved also with the New England Chapter. At that time, I believe you were with both Continental and Time Warner.
KELLY: That’s right.
SAMUELS: Brian moved around with Time Warner to Boston, Tampa, Charlotte, where you now live and …?
KELLY: Stamford, Connecticut
SAMUELS: Stamford, at corporate as well. Thanks for being with us today. Next to Brian is Pam Halling. Pam works for Insight Communications. She’s Senior VP of branch Strategy and Research and has been with Insight for many years and played a very big role in leading the New York Chapter of CTAM during the years of the late 90s and early 2000s. Pam also worked at Rainbow for a period of time as well as Cox Communications and Continental. Two other cable companies during your career. So thanks for being with us today. We’ll be chatting in just a moment. At the end of our group here is Jan Liddicoat. Jan is in Detroit, Michigan. She’s a vice president for Scripps Network and has been very involved in the chapters in both Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes that have been such a strong chapter presence throughout the history of CTAM. Also, she spent time with Disney and IN Demand prior to Scripps. Is that correct?
JAN LIDDICOAT : Yes.
SAMUELS: Ok, good. So you know a little bit about the folks who are going to be joining us in our discussion today. Let’s do a little bit of a time travel back to the years that we’re focused on today – 1995-2003. In the country, we had President Clinton as our president in 1995 when we started this period and then 2003, of course, George W. Bush had take the reins. So a little bit of a transition on the political side. It would have been a very good time – I hope you all had been investing in the stock market during those years – if any of us had any extra money that we weren’t throwing at houses and kids and other things at the time. The stock market, Dow Jones Industrial Index was at 3850 in 1995 and by 2003 it was up to 7890. So it was a good time – very bullish period for Wall Street. The Oscar winning movie in 1995 was Braveheart and in 2003 it was Lord of the Rings. So you get a feel for what was kind of hot in the movie theaters in those years. And the top song of 1995 on the charts as number one for the longest period was the Mariah Carey song which was “One Sweet Day”. Brian can you hum a few bars?
KELLY: I could.
SAMUELS: We’ll call on you again. In 2003, Outkast was singing “Hey Ya”, which you can probably do a better job on that. That’ll give you a feel for what was being played on the radio. Our FCC chairman at the beginning of this period was William Kennard. As we wrap up this period of time Michael Powell, who’s now head of the NCTA, was running the FCC in 2003. The FCC, of course, played a big role sometimes we would say too big of a role in the plight of the cable industry in terms of regulating pricing and so forth. We always want to pay attention to what’s going on there. So just a little bit more background before we jump in.
1995 to 2003 was a really exciting time in the cable business. The foundation was laid, the plan had been expanded and now the industry was ready to roll out new products which was really the theme of this period. So the business became more complicated, more exciting, more consolidated in terms of companies trying to buy each other. A little less entrepreneurial, not as a many family run businesses. Those were starting to sell out to the bigger companies like Time Warner. The AOL/Time Warner merger occurred during this period. Paul Allen, who was of course one of the founders of Microsoft, decided to jump into the cable business and bought into Charter as an MSO. AT&T bought MediaOne and towards the end of this period, Comcast bought AT&T and we had our first super MSO at nearly 20 million homes. The business was starting to be dominated by fewer employers on the cable operator side and certainly the same thing was happening on the cable programmer side of the business. Viacom, Disney and ESPN and some of the others were launching new channels to fill the digital capacity that was now becoming available as cable expanded their bandwidth. They were also buying other smaller independent programmers and building much bigger companies. So fewer players on both sides of the table and a lot of new products started to be introduced out to the consumer. So it was really an important time for marketing in the industry in terms of helping consumers understand what was coming to them in the way of 2-way cable and ITV, Video on Demand. High Def was starting to come in towards the end of this period. Of course, phone and internet service were starting to be really important products that the cable companies were offering on top of the traditional video service that had been there over the years. Just to finish setting the stage, as CTAM was working both on a national level with the bigger organizations and at the chapter level, the hot buttons were competition. Now we had the DVS players in the business in a significant way, changing the way that marketing was happening out there in the consumer level. New products. Branding was becoming the hot button. How do we convey a certain kind of personality to the company, whether it be a programmer or an operator to really solidify the relationship with the viewer and the customer. Cable modems, broadband, ITV, digital cable, high speed internet – these were all new terms being introduced in both the business and out in the consumer marketplace. So it became a really important time for all the players in the industry to compare best practices and really coordinate their efforts and work together to bring out all lot of new products to both compete with satellite and telco and also to just broaden out the offering. The bundle was becoming a very common term and a critical aspect of how cable operators were bringing the products out to the consumers. So hopefully that gives us a little bit of an idea of what was going on during this period.
I’ll start with you Carla – so you’re working for USA Networks in the earlyish part of your career and you start to become familiar with CTAM chapters. What was it that kind of drew you to get involved and become so big a part of what was happening. Let’s say in New England at that time?
LEWIS-LONG: I was an anomaly because I got in the business so young at 14, but anyway besides that, my boss, Doug Holloway, who was president of USA at the time was really big on CTAM and saw the importance on being part of an organization and the relationships that were formed besides what we were doing individually as MSOs, what being a part of CTAM and doing marketing in a group could do for yourself. I was one year in actually, when I joined CTAM New England. I had only been in the industry a year and met this guy next to me (Brian Kelly].
SAMUELS: And you stayed in the industry?
KELLY: I was 16.
LEWIS-LONG: So, I realized with being new to the industry and attending a CTAM event how important it was and in what they were doing in bringing operators together with programmers and I realized early on that it was on organization that you could form true friendships in. Great for business dealing with people on that basis in an intimate and really trying to target and work for something in the New England area that could benefit all the MSOs there. You found out information that you wouldn’t necessarily get on a day to day basis that ultimately you’d take back to your business that could help. So that was very key in justifying the dues and the traveling and that sort of thing. It’s really beneficial for me growing in the cable industry because I was able to form great relationships with Time Warner and MediaOne and get proprietary information that would help me and help them and would help us work better together. But not only that, we’d really focus on how we could help New England. It was during a time of competition, so we would put together these great panels. It was either do or die and we didn’t know if the people on the panels were going to speak and tell what they were doing because everyone was so afraid. So it was either going to be a bomb or it was going to be a great hit. We were always faced with that. Usually it turned out that they told enough that it was interesting to everyone and we got the ? support because we got the operators to come and talk and of course, the programmers would come. So that’s how we survived.
SAMUELS: It sounds like your learning curve was advanced because of the organization.
SAMUELS: So Brian, were you in New England around that same time? You had just started up with Time Warner sometime around this period.
KELLY: That’s right. I started with Time Warner in ’88 and by 1995, the market in the Boston area had consolidated pretty significantly. We had three major operators up there in the Boston metro area – Cablevision, Time Warner, and Continental which had eventually become MediaOne. It was a very dynamic time. We had Greater Media in Worcester was an active participant and then Colony down in the Rhode Island marketplace. So it was dynamic but you could feel it starting to consolidate. I think one of the bigger initiatives I remember being part of – as part of the CTAM chapter – we actually formed the Boston Cable Co-op as kind of an adjunct out of that group of folks. It just became pretty clear that we could become more active as a chapter and as a marketing organization up there to have a greater impact on consumers. We could do collective research through the CTAM group that was of common interest to us. But you could feel, as Carla said, the change in the market in respect to the growing competition.
SAMUELS: That’s interesting. I didn’t realize that the Co-op was kind of an outgrowth of getting together as a chapter and starting to see that you could work in an even more specific kind of way. So the line between your day job and your CTAM chapter role – back and forth there were a lot of good ideas that ended up being very useful even in what you were doing focusing on your day job.
KELLY: That’s right and one of the things, if memory serves me right, right before we started to form this kind of coalition, we had just come out of the Ontime Guarantee, which was a huge success. Fundamentally drive by the thinking of the leaders of CTAM. I remember Chuck Ellis had a role in that as the head of the CTAM organization from a president’s national standpoint. That program grew organically at the local level as it was presented as a great solution for us to deal with some of the customer issues we were facing. One of the things that I will always remember is the metrics and the measurements after we implemented the Ontime Guarantee. It was really the first initiative I’ve ever seen that drove the customer satisfaction in the Time Warner plant that I was in, the division that I was in. We improved our customer satisfaction scores by 5 points and one of the major drivers was this Ontime Guarantee messaging. Which was again driven by the marketing initiative from the CTAM group. It became very integral in the day to day, as you put it. CTAM is such a wonderful organization and the networking opportunities and just the openness to new ideas. It was a treat to be a part of it and it really was a value add to the career. It was something I always looked forward to.
SAMUELS: Pam – so you were with Insight back in the days?
HALLING: I’m exhausted just hearing all that.
SAMUELS: Late 90s, you were in New York now with Insight at the time?
HALLING: Well, late 80s, actually 1988 is when I joined Insight in New York from Disney and I got involved – and actually the New York chapter was formed in 1988. I was involved in the chapter starting in 1994, I think. ’95 was when I became the programming chairperson. Then in ’96 is when I became the 6th chapter president. It’s very rewarding to be part of the CTAM chapter and to be part of the New York chapter was pretty exceptional in terms of the caliber of industry leaders that were able to attract for our programs. The signature program for New York was the Blue Ribbon Breakfast. At that time in ’95, we were doing it twice a year, which is quite an undertaking for once a year. But I was always just amazed at the fact that industry leaders and visionaries actually wanted to be part of the program. So for our chapter it was a great experience because they were exposed to the thoughts and ideas and the predictions of these people. People like back in the early days – Tom Rogers, Kay Koplovitz, Gerry Laybourne and John Hendricks. Then eventually we evolved as competition came in and we started broadening our scope of the involvement of the industry. We were bringing in people like Eddie Hartstein, who was the CEO of DIRECTV and Ray Smith…
SAMUELS: Did he know where he was going?
HALLING: I’m not sure. As I recall, we were all taking notes at the things he was saying. Ray Smith, CEO of Bell Atlantic. So just great names and great people. Moderators were Lou Dobbs. We had Roger Ailes. It really was a broad range of leaders.
SAMUELS: Again, chapter members get a chance to hear from and get exposure to some very big names in the media business…
HALLING: Things that they would not be exposed to otherwise because many people were not able to go to CTAM National Summit or to NCTA. I think that was something that was fairly unique to the New York chapter. Not that Michigan couldn’t attract those people.
LIDDICOAT: And we did eventually. It took awhile. Very similar to Brian and Pam’s experience with – it started with a Michigan chapter and ended up involving the Midwest. At the time we had a marketing cooperative – SEMCA – Southeast Michigan Cable Association. Which we had 11 operators around the Detroit market. So we kind of were an offshoot of that. Reverse of what you did Brian and created the chapter there. So it really was a way for people in the market to have access as Pam mentioned to industry people. Much like the experience of New York. A lot of the people that we attracted to our events weren’t necessarily those who would be able to attend the marketing conference – CTAM National Conference. We strived to bring educational programs to initially the Michigan market and ultimately the Midwest. We were eventually able to attract bigger people like Pam Halling and Brad Samuels. We attempted to do that and the great thing about that, Carla alluded to that – we had the support of the operators and the market because that’s key to have attendance at your sessions. We had Comcast – who was a big player in the market. At the time TCI was still involved, Continental, Metrovision, Charter to some extent. And we even at times attempted to pull people down state because we had people in Grand Rapids and a little bit further in the northern parts of Michigan and then southeast Ohio as well.
SAMUELS: Did you feel like you got a chance to build some leadership or other business skills through your work on the board. It’s a little different dynamic than being in the office where you have more obvious reporting structure – here you’re trying build consensus and kind of cooperative work done amongst people from different organizations. Did that come in to play? Do you feel like it helped you as an executive some of the skills you were using as a board leader? Anybody?
KELLY: Yes, I remember one of the big initiatives was the strategic planning process at the national level and as chapter presidents, we were exposed to the thinking that some of the most brilliant cable marketers that were all part of that group. So we got firsthand experience at that level watching the time and effort and the creativity that went into creating the strategic plan – being kind of tasked implementing it at the local levels, at the chapters and staying true to the mission and creating your own vision of that strategy and taking it to a place where you could look back on the effort and feel really proud of the work you were doing. So, you know, there was a lot of very important initiatives and ideas that we were tasked with and you always felt like you had not only the support of all those people but the recognition when you accomplished it. So it did give you another level of expertise, exposure to expertise. I don’t think without CTAM we would have never had the opportunity.
HALLING: I think to pull off what we did, which was a tremendous calendar of events and goals that we had to meet for membership, goals that we had to meet for the national organization – it required organizational skills, on being very efficient and having quality programs. Part of that too was to attract as many people as possible, again making sure that your chapter was solvent and you were able to things that you wanted to do. I found that to be the challenge because I think that getting – we had a balance of operators and programmers we all brought together by this one distribution system in the early days, right? That started to expand but operators became very busy as you pointed out – we all became very business but CTAM suffered a little bit if you did not have those skills in place and have people in place to implement the programs and to make sure you were constantly top of mind in getting people there.
LIDDICOAT: And it was key to be motivational because you had to motivate the people who volunteered as well as people to attend the sessions. So it was sometimes it was come along and do this and you’ll get this out of it later. We always use to say no one’s going to show up and then it was a great problem that we had to add seats to the room so that was always nice.
LEWIS-LONG: And as a programmer to get work with and operator – to take off that hat, you take off your boxing gloves, you’re not selling them anything and you’re working together, you’re at the table all for the same goal. If your president or vice president had the support around the table of these operators that you were working with on a daily basis to see you in that role and to support you, it was very rewarding.
SAMUELS: And a little bit unique too from what I found in talking to people in other businesses to have that kind of structure where people who are normally doing deals with each other get a chance together.
LEWIS-LONG: Exactly, so they you in a different light and you see them in a different light. As I said, they are all focused on the same goal to ultimately to achieve all the goals that CTAM National set out and we all wanted them to be a success. It was nice. It was amazing opportunity and an amazing time and we accomplished a lot and it was very rewarding.
SAMUELS: We talked about Blue Ribbon which has been a huge success over the years and every chapter has established at least one kind of signature event that is a driver of their year along with the 3 or 4 other things that they would do. Other meaningful successes that you can think of in terms of big achievements, a big speaker, a huge turnout or something unique that you did, that you’re proud of as a leader of a chapter?
KELLY: I think during that time, if memory serves, CTAM chapters were also taking on altruistic endeavors. So Skitam in Denver and we had our own version in New England where we did SkiTAM East. Most of the people shied away from the ice and snow but we braved the mountains and had great attendance and were able to balance the educational initiatives that were part of the agenda with the contribution we would make back to the various charities that we were working with. At first, it was a little outside of the charter but I think with the success of obviously SkiTAM and some of the things we were doing, it ultimately became part of the culture. I was always proud of that because I think the chapters drove some of that to the national organization saying look I understand but we think there’s another mission here. Fortunately we got some good guidance and people agreed. One of the other skills in thinking back to your last question is we a lot of times we had to sell this concept into our own organizations so that they would continue to agree to fund and support CTAM both nationally and on the regional levels. So you get another level, I guess, of selling skills within your own organization to convince them that marketing leadership is a good thing to foster and develop within the ranks. It’s a discipline that I think even if you look at the world today, is more vital than ever. We are facing some of the most significant challenges ever – makes it an exciting industry beyond belief but it also calls for the age of marketing to now really be on the front foot in this industry. CTAM being a driver of that at every level has been great.
LIDDICOAT: One other thing, I don’t remember the year, I think it’s on the notes, of the teleseminars that started which was a great thing for us in the Midwest because it gave us access to national people on a more local level. So we strived to have multiple locations initially in Michigan and then we formed the Midwest Chapter in Chicago and Indiana when we would host it at an MSOs office and invite people in and it was a great chance to bring someone in from the MSO locally to maybe give a pre-speech or after the session but also have the national flavor come down to that level.
SAMUELS: It started to become more challenging with fewer companies and everyone so busy to make sure that when there wasn’t as many obvious examples of bottom line results. It was more about networking and relationships and learning to make sure the organizations maybe even more so on the MSO side bought in and wanted to continue to have their management become chapter leaders and to support events and so forth. So bring the event right to their offices and give them a chance to see high quality the content which sounds very smart and sounds like it helped to keep that fire burning with some of the big MSO players at the time. That’s great. Anything else up in New England in terms of other activities?
LEWIS-LONG: Well, we have the snow in the winter but then we brought our CTAM down to Newport, Rhode Island which was…
SAMUELS: That was a tough sell.
LEWIS-LONG: Really, really tough sell. We were able believe it or not to get some really big names to come down to Newport.
SAMUELS: Ted Turner came, right?
LEWIS-LONG: Right, Ted Turner, you know so…
SAMUELS: Sailed right up to…with his yacht, with his racing yacht at Newport.
Carla : Absolutely, so New England was fantastic for that. So our participation in the Nectar Convention and always putting on a stellar CTAM panel down there, it was pretty just the location. You know you talk to the secretary of Ted Turner and let him know that the panel is taking place in Newport in July and it was like yeah sure, no problem.
SAMUELS: I think CTAM National played a big part in the Cable Show this year in terms of bringing a whole track around marketing and technology and it seems like this discussion and the others we’ve been having, that the CTAM chapters have often partnered with the regional associations and regional conferences to add a session or a day to what was happening, so it just furthered the credibility to CTAM as the expert in marketing. And it really added value to everyone attending these regional conferences which aren’t as common as they were then. I think, again, that planning process, stepping back and saying what’s changed in the business, what do we need to address and how can we continue to grow and who do we need to partner with was so critical and such a smart way that the chapters approached their annual planning and yielded some really creative ways to keep relevant and get big crowds to part of what [was going on].
HALLING: Another thing we did in New York was to join forces with organizations like NAMIC and WICT. Some of their events and our events, we might be bumping up against each other in the same time of the year. So rather divide and see if we can attract a few people, we joined together. That was very successful. One big event was Battle of the Bands. Which you may remember. Industry dignitaries who had? bands – who knew?
SAMUELS: Anyone who could get me on the stage with Limelight with my bad abilities was an event in of itself. That was great.
HALLING: That was a lot of fun. Actually, I want to give credit to Steve Goldmintz who was the co-founder of that event. Steve is an 18 year chapter member emeritus of CTAM New York and he is currently the managing director for A. E. Feldman in New York. Steve has really been the continuity and the person who has allowed us to maintain consistency and continuity for our leadership transitions. He kept every single copy of our newsletter on the chapter and happened to hand me a stack of them just from those few years. The unofficial historian and a great leader. We owe him a lot. So thank you Steve.
SAMUELS: It’s a little bit like in the Godfather, once you’re in CTAM you never really get out of it. He’s a great example of someone who’s just continued to make contributions every year. I’m glad you mentioned that. He’s a great guy and did a lot of good stuff for New York and other chapters. So it kind of gets in your blood and just like the cable business and you just keep, like you have, working in so many chapters. Any challenges that came about from ownership changes, consolidation, leadership where you’re having trouble keeping succession – anything that comes to mind where you found a way to work through the a new phase in the business or a new challenge in the chapter.
KELLY: Well, one thing that I think is important to note is the adaptability that CTAM has become known for. I think of it as more in terms of opportunities versus challenges. Pam and I worked together on the national marketing co-op which was effectively an initiative that came out of CTAM. Char and her brilliant leadership was open to the idea, encouraging the idea so we did National Movers Hotline. Which is still vital today. That all came out of that initiative. We did Only Cable Can, which was a campaign that ran nationally and I think to some degree we still have a lot of potential in that concept to really promote the advantages of cable television and the wonderful services that we’ve brought to the consumer in advance of any other industry. I think there is still a lot of opportunity there for that group to make a difference in the messaging and important distinctions that we have as an industry. That was a challenge; I think everyone agrees, getting all of the MSOs together to come to a consensus on messaging and what we are going to take to the consumer. Like I said there were some really great things, research projects – the Mover Hotline and some of the campaigns that were executed as an opportunity.
SAMUELS: This year was a little different – certainly Detroit’s no small city but not as big as some of these markets with fewer players, people that live there right there in the city. Talk a little bit about your relationship with the Great Lakes kind of region and other chapters in the area. Did you coordinate more than you think than some of the other chapters did?
LIDDICOAT: Well, we had to. Pam brought it up earlier. We would get very strategic. If we knew a WICT event was taking place we might schedule our next CTAM event adjacent to that so people coming in from out of town would be attracted to stay longer. So we got very strategic over the years but the real challenge we faced and it’s not a real bad one, was simply not having as large a pool of people to be on the chapter. So we struggled with the chapter positions. We jokingly said we’d have rotating presidencies. We’d flip a coin and you do it this year and I’ll do it next year. So we had a lot of the same people for a period of time but we strived to find new blood to come in. So we would pull from the operators for that and we always tried to keep and even balance of operator/programmer so we could attract the programmers in there. It got a little more challenging as they consolidated but they were still very supportive. And as we grew out into the regions, that gave us a larger pool. So pulling in from the Chicago chapter and ultimately the Indianapolis one initially, we pulled all those people and had more people vying for the board positions.
LEWIS-LONG: In running a chapter where you only have one MSO, the dominant one, was a challenge. Running the Carolina chapter, I had to go to the godfather, Time Warner and say Godfather, if I take over this chapter will you support? So that’s a challenge. He’s a Black Donnelly – I call him that all the time. So really if the Carolinas is all Time Warner and you have a little piece of Charter, but they’re so far down so if you don’t have the support and the buy in from the MSO, when Char asked me to take over that chapter and they were thinking about closing it, I had to make sure I had buy in and commitment from Time Warner because if they were not going to let their people one – Be on the board or support and send their people to the events we would create then there wasn’t any reason to continue. So you definitively, so that’s a challenge when you have regions that are made up of one MSO. So tying their key executives too because you want them on your board. So you really have to get buy in and commitment from the MSO.
KELLY: I will defy anyone to say no to Carla to begin with. I have no chance whatsoever.
LIDDICOAT: And I’ll go on record saying because he will see this – the reason we formed the three state Great Lakes was Kevin Gardner, at the time was marketing person for Comcast over all those regions and he said I’ll support it if you combine it. So that was a big factor in us consolidating.
SAMUELS: I don’t know Kevin’s history at CTAM prior to that but it was great that he made that decision and supported it, but it just occurred to me as your guys were talking as the industry is – a lot of us have moved around to different parts of the country within or with separate companies – again once you got into and you realized the value, you’re going to run into each other in another part of the country, work in another chapter or try to start one or make sure that it stays vital, you had that history of knowing that it could work and believing in it. So you just had to find that other CTAMer that was ready to help you join up and make sure that the chapter in that area did just as well.
Pam: I think that’s the great thing about the formation of the chapters’ council also – where all the chapters came together with two representatives on the national board. I was actually fortunate to be one of the first to get a vote on the board as a member of the chapter council. Then I know you Brad and Greg went on the following decade to really solidify that relationship and I think that was always very helpful and gave us the forum to share ideas back and forth and really give us the recognition as chapters.
SAMUELS: Well again, Char with her leadership and staff made it so easy for the chapters to get resources and to keep learning from national and from each other that it just kept building the momentum. But that leadership conference that Brian mentioned – once a year going in and 70 or 80 people from the board of all these 15 or 20 chapters comparing best practices, getting to know each other, learning from the national board would sit in and consult with us, really great for exposure, for idea sharing and it just really kept the chapter kind of success and momentum going strong. Just making good decisions on how the dynamics and how to keep people talking and sharing ideas.
KELLY: And there was always a recognition component so the work that you did got recognized at that conference and it just inspired people to more in the upcoming sessions.
LIDDICOAT: We were always trying to beat another chapter.
SAMUELS: A little competition…
LEWIS-LONG: That’s right.
SAMUELS: How many members did you grow this year and how many people showed up at this or that event. Good stuff.
LIDDICOAT: It was nice to share ideas from chapter to chapter too. If a chapter had a successful event, you could take it and morph it for your own chapter.
SAMUELS: SkiTAM East.
KELLY: Skiing on the ice.
LIDDICOAT: We can do that in the Midwest.
SAMUELS: Ice skating on a mountain. Nobody got hurt I hope.
LEWIS-LONG: A couple of trees…
SAMUELS: Anything else anyone wants to say before we wrap up? I really appreciate it. It’s been great – a lot of really great thoughts, ideas and memories about the chapters and all their success and you guys played key roles in so many of them. Thank you for that. We’re going to wrap and thanks for watching. I hope you’ve gotten a feel for what was happening and what was so great about the cable business during this period in the late 90s and early 2000s. I want to thank my panel for adding so much to the conversation. Again, thanks for watching.