Trials & Triumphs: HR as a Catalyst for Change
By Seth Feit, President of CTHRA and Group Vice President of Talent for Charter Communications

A person wearing a suit and tie smiling at the camera  Description generated with very high confidenceIf I had to describe 2017 in a single word, I would choose disruptive. First, there were announced mergers (Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks), ongoing efforts to finalize mergers (AT&T and Time Warner), rumors of mergers (Verizon and Comcast as well as Verizon and Charter), and the aftermath of mergers from 2016 (Charter Communications/Time Warner Cable/Bright House Networks as well as Altice and Cablevision). Mergers are often drawn-out and messy. They can create a state of uncertainty for employees on both sides of the fence and they present enormous challenges in terms of logistics, the integration of corporate cultures, the alignment of org charts and much more.

In addition to mergers, we saw the seismic impact of companies such as Netflix, Google and Amazon on digital media salaries. According to CTHRA's 2017 Annual Compensation Surveys, the boom in digital viewing, fierce pressure for talent from an ever-expanding competitor base and continued MSO consolidation is transforming compensation in the industry. Digital natives are aggressively wooing sought-after talent with higher base, bonus and long-term incentives than in cable.

Another disruptive factor in 2017 was the revelation of sexual harassment in several industries. Brave women, and men as well, came forward to identify bosses who abused their leadership positions. From this sad state of affairs arose the powerful #metoo movement.

Throughout the tumultuous year, HR was resilient. In fact, in hindsight, it seems rather prolific that 13 months ago, CTHRA’s Symposium Committee decided that the theme for the October event would be “Disruptive Thinking.” We didn’t just endure the disruption of 2017, we embraced it. Time and time again, I have seen industry HR professionals play a significant role in the success of a company going through significant changes. These moments make me proud of HR’s ability to not only rise to the occasion but transcend the most demanding circumstances.

As HR professionals we must be ever vigilant in our efforts to protect, engage and empower each of the 2.9 million employees in our industry. We must embrace technologies to help us work smarter and leverage analytics to enlighten our strategic decision making. And we must identify how we can be catalysts for transformative change that will help our companies thrive not only in 2018, but far into the future.

Fortunately, we have CTHRA to help us succeed. One core benefit of membership is that you have access to a knowledge pool that is comprised of 3,000 industry HR professionals. Whether you post a question on CTHRA’s LinkedIn page, network with 250+ attendees at the HR Symposium on October 2 in Philadelphia or gain insight into best practices and successful initiatives by reading this publication, CTHRA keeps you connected to colleagues across the industry.  In addition, the board of directors is continually seeking new ways to fulfill our member needs.

If you have an idea for a new program or resource that CTHRA can provide, I’m all ears. If you’d like to pen an article for HR Pulse, our editor would love to hear from you. If you’d like to serve on one of CTHRA’s Subcommittees or host an HR roundtable in your city, please contact CTHRA’s Executive Director Pam Williams, CAE. If you know of a deserving individual or HR team, please submit an Excellence in HR Awards nomination. There are many ways to get involved in CTHRA, and speaking from my own experience, I can tell you that the more engaged you are, the more value you will receive from your membership. Together we can make 2018 a banner year for CTHRA’s 3,000 members.



Our industry has numerous inspirational accounts of HR professionals infusing creativity into hiring, retention and engagement programs. Here are a few snapshots of success.


With over 11,000 veteran employees (11.8% of its workforce), Spectrum is committed to increasing veteran hiring 5% by the year 2020. To achieve its goal, the company recently added an "Introduce Yourself" video feature to its veteran hiring website, launched veteran-centric employee resource groups and mentors to facilitate veterans' transition into a civilian workforce and participated in Mission Media's collaborative recruiting exhibit at the Student Veterans of America national conference in early January.


NBCUniversal created a bi-coastal team of professionals to create tHRive University, a development program that would better equip HR professionals to strategically approach the increasingly complex challenges and opportunities they face day in and day out. NBCU's HR for HR team did such an amazing job on the initiative, CTHRA named the group 2017 Team Innovator of the Year. READ MORE


To tackle the stigma of mental illness, CBS created an award-winning education campaign called "I'm Fine." The brochure pictured below was mailed to 14,000 employees at home and followed up with a series of webcasts on difficult topics, including suicide and substance use disorders. READ MORE

Seth Feit
Group VP, Talent
Charter Communications
Vice President
Tom Tooker
A+E Networks
Michele Parks

VP, Talent Management
Cox Communications
Dave Crossen
NBC Broadcasting & Content Distribution
Executive Committee Member
Judy Mills
Group VP, HR
Mediacom Communications
Executive Committee Member
Cheryl Middleton Jones
Scripps Networks Interactive
Doug Adkins
Katherine Barnett
Hearst Television
Elizabeth Casanas
Showtime Networks

Marisa Famulare
EVP, HR & Administration
Robert Fodge
Eric Hawkins
VP, Talent
Lisa Kaye
President & CEO
Julie Neimat
Discovery Communications
Alisha Penick
Turner Broadcasting System
Robert Talmas
VP, Total Rewards
Univision Communications




HR Pulse is a bi-monthly resource published exclusively for the members of CTHRA.