Sixteen WarnerMedia executives named Cablefax’s ‘Most Powerful Women’

19 Nov 2019 - By WarnerMedia Staff

Each year, Cablefax honors the top women in the media industry as “The Most Powerful Women” in cable. These women raise the bar for excellence year after year with their strong skills and bold leadership.

Sixteen WarnerMedia executives were recognized for their achievements as some of the “Most Powerful Women” in cable on the 2019 list, with three of them ranking in the top 50.

Congratulations to the following WarnerMedia honorees. The excerpts below are from the executive profiles featured on the Cablefax site. For more in-depth profiles and fun questions, such as what advice these women would give to their 13-year old self or their thoughts on the best kinds of women’s roles in current shows, check out the full report from Cablefax’s Most Powerful Women 2019.

Honorees in the Top 50:

#28 Tinah Shah
Executive Vice President & General Manager – Turner Sports

For more than 16 years, company veteran Shah has worked closely with the Turner Sports leadership team to identify, explore and evaluate business opportunities. In her newly created role she leads all contact with league partners as well as internal business affairs, business development, rights acquisitions and strategy functions. The NBA, NCAA, MLB, PGA, Bleacher Report properties, Turner’s esports league and others keep her plenty busy, but she also finds time to give back co-leading the Turner Legal Department’s Diversity Committee. “We’ll all be better when we continue to increase the number of professional development events and ensure that we bring learnings back to our respective organizations,” she says.


#37 Ann Sarnoff
Chairman & CEO – Warner Bros.

As the first woman to lead the venerable studio, industry vet Sarnoff has quite the audience watching to see what she does. Most recently president of BBC Studios Americas, she brings with her expertise on optimizing global productions as well as streaming know-how—she served as board chair of BritBox, the US SVOD service focused on British TV shows. Sarnoff steps into the role following Kevin Tsujihara’s resignation after allegations of sexual impropriety, which he has denied. Last year, Sarnoff offered up this advice to us: “In a way, we need to take a fresh look at how we conduct business and how we create more diverse, inclusive and respectful workplaces. While women are making a bigger mark in leadership, we must partner with our male counterparts to solve those broader issues.”


#40 Sofia Chang
President – WarnerMedia Distribution

WarnerMedia gave Chang a huge vote of confidence in September, tapping her as co-president of distribution along with Rich Warren. Her success driving HBO digital subscriptions will be key as the company enters the crowded OTT market this spring with HBO Max. Chang’s been with HBO since 2000, leading digital and physical distribution of HBO and Cinemax worldwide. While there’s a lot of change taking place as AT&T works to create an integrated company, Chang keeps true to herself. “Staying authentic and consistent to my values and my standards as a colleague and as a leader is critical during times of change and in environments that are still in need of progress.”


More Powerful Women:

Chiefs

Jennifer Dorian
General Manager – Turner Classic Movies

2019 was a big year for Turner Classic Movies, marking the channel’s 25th anniversary and the 10th anniversary for its much-celebrated TCM Classic Film Festival. Dorian, who is coming up on her own 20th anniversary with the company, masterfully keeps the classic fan base happy while expanding the brand into new ventures—from cruises to wine clubs. Dorian has received numerous accolades over the course of her career, including most being named as one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Women Who Mean Business.” She also was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Atlanta chapter of the AMY’s in 2018 for her outstanding leadership in marketing and branding over the course of her career. She’d advise her 13-year-old self to “pursue excellence, not perfection. It’s vital to try new things and stretch your abilities to take on bigger and bigger challenges.”


Christina Miller
President – Cartoon Network, Adult Swim & Boomerang

Miller has consistently upped the content slate of the well-regarded kids network, while also working hard to embrace kids in other areas—from games and apps to mobile and web. And as the audience ages out of Cartoon Network, she tries to keep them in the family with the edgier Adult Swim. She’s especially proud of Cartoon’s popular series “Steven Universe.” It “has been embraced by people of all ages and genders for the way it exemplifies heart, empathy, humanity and love,” she says.


Content

Sarah Aubrey
Head of Original Content – HBO Max

You know you’re kind of a big deal when the press release announcing your appointment to the HBO Max executive leadership team makes reference to a “content dream team.” Aubrey earned those stripes heading original programming for TNT, ushering in the award-winning “The Alienist” and manicurist drama “Claws.” Under her leadership, the number of women holding jobs at the highest levels on the average TNT scripted project more than doubled. “Our company works through both official and unofficial ways to support women across the workplace—from Feminist Fridays, hosted breakfasts, speaker events, mentoring programs, informal open door time—to bring our female population together,” Aubrey says.


Corporate Culture

Johnita Due
Senior Vice President & Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer – WarnerMedia News & Sports

Due, previously CNN’s assistant general counsel, was named to her current post in June. She’s wasted no time leading diversity efforts for the news and sports divisions. A passion for justice and inclusion is in her blood; her parents are prominent civil rights activists John Due and the late Patricia Stephens Due. Due is a fan of CW’s “Jane the Virgin,” penning an op-ed on the show for CNN.com in September to mark the series finale. “The show has touched me as no other, not only for taking me on a familiar journey through my childhood and adulthood, but for showing Hollywood and this country that we can celebrate Latino culture as a part of who we are,” she wrote.


Christy Haubegger
Chief Enterprise Inclusion Officer – WarnerMedia

A founding member of workplace inequality and injustice initiative Time’s Up, Haubegger has long been working to bring a multicultural perspective to the world. It started in 1996 when she founded Latina magazine and continued through her recent work as head of multicultural business development at Creative Artists Agency. In June, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey tapped her to drive business growth through investment in diverse audiences and to ensure the company’s workforce represents the markets it serves.


Digital

Mitra Kalita
Senior Vice President – Digital News & Programming, CNN

The news net has expansive digital reach—more than 120 million unique visitors each month—and Kalita, who last year was promoted to her current post, leads the national news desk and efforts to share CNN’s storytelling across all platforms. She has oversight for the Entertainment team, News & Alerting and Mobile & Off-Platform teams, with more than 150 journalists around the globe reporting to her. Outside of CNN, Kalita also works within WarnerMedia to a support a diverse and inclusive workplace. What’s ahead for 2020? The Presidential election. Enough said.


Hania Poole
Senior Vice President – NCAA Digital & General Manager – Bleacher Report Live

Poole is a longtime member of the Turner Sports team, and her vast knowledge of the sports business world, her areas of focus and the inner-workings of the company combine to make her a tremendous asset. Last summer, she received her latest promotion, which elevated her role with NCAA Digital and added Bleacher Report’s PPV/subscription business to her responsibilities. “We have a strong mentoring culture within our organization, including intentional efforts designed to offer women leaders the best resources and coaching tailored to their respective goals and aspirations,” she notes.


Distribution

Jennifer Mirgorod
Executive Vice President – Partnership Management, WarnerMedia Distribution

The past year saw Mirgorod secure deals with new entrants to the video marketplace, such as pay-as-you-go satellite service Orby TV and YouTube TV. In her new role, she is responsible for the company’s portfolio of linear networks, premium channels and direct-to-consumer brands. When it comes to recruiting women and moving them into senior roles, she’s a big fan of WarnerMedia’s Conscious Inclusion training. “When you have a group of men and women together in this training, there are ‘eureka moments’ when both men and women realize their biases,” she says.


Finance

Donna Northington
Executive Vice President – Distribution Financial Planning & Strategy, WarnerMedia Distribution

Amid constant change at WarnerMedia, Northington has steadfastly prepared the distribution division’s annual budgets and long-range plans, including contract terms, linear and digital rates and sales incentives. But spreadsheets aren’t her only canvas. Northington is an accomplished artist whose work has been shown at many galleries and exhibits. Previously named a Woman to Watch by the WICT Southeast chapter, she believes WarnerMedia is taking the right steps to address diversity and inclusion. “Our current focus is to ensure that our pipeline of women leaders remains strong across our operating divisions for years to come,” she says.


Marketing

Pola Changnon
Senior Vice President – Marketing, Studio Production & Talent, Turner Classic Movies

A fixture at Turner for more than 20 years, Changnon sets the tone for TCM, internally and externally. Not only does she oversee social media and consumer/trade marketing, but she also spearheaded the expansion of on-air talent. This marks the first time in her career that she has reported up through an all-female line of management directly to a female CEO, Warner Bros’ Ann Sarnoff. “These optics are important, but it’s also critical that we provide and prompt leadership opportunities for women earlier in their careers, too,” she says.


Jill King
Senior Vice President – Marketing & Partnerships, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim & Boomerang

King is serious about building audiences for the trio of networks, relying on a toolbox that includes world tours, stunts and clever use of social. The key to her success is to involve the passionate audience whenever possible. Like many MPW honorees, King cites “Fleabag” as a favorite show. “It’s not the show’s main character that interests me so much as its creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Waller-Bridge herself is fulfilling many of the roles that need more female representation—from writing, to development, producing, to performing, and more.”


Lucinda Martinez
Executive Vice President – Multicultural Marketing, Brand & Inclusion Strategy, WarnerMedia Entertainment 

Martinez makes sure HBO’s programming reflects its diverse audience 24/7. And not just on the screen. She and her team launched art exhibit “The O.G. Experience,” inspired by the premium net’s drama “O.G.,” and developed a comprehensive campaign for “Insecure” that included block parties in Brooklyn and pop-up nail salons. “I believe our industry can do a better job of recruiting women and ensuring they have a path to senior positions by simply taking the same risks they take with men when hiring them, promoting them, and compensating them.”


Operations

Sandra Dewey
President – Business Operations & Production, HBO Max

With WarnerMedia transitioning from linear cable to an omni-platform, Dewey oversees business affairs and production teams for HBO Max as well as TBS, TNT and truTV. Her track record expanding Turner Entertainment Networks in the global market bodes well for what’s ahead. She’s also a founding member of WarnerMedia’s Feminist Fridays, an initiative dedicated to empowering, informing and mentoring women across the organization. “With every rung on the ladder that female leaders have managed to obtain, comes exponential progress for the women that follow,” she says.