Leisa: Hello, I’m Leisa Holland-Nelson and welcome back to The BusinessMakers Show, brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business. I’m here today at the Greater Houston Women’s 2015 Conference with Catherine Avgiris, Chief Financial Officer with Comcast Cable. Welcome to The BusinessMakers, welcome to Houston Catherine
Cathy: I’m so excited to be here. Thank you, thank you so much.
Leisa: So glad to have you.
Cathy: Please, call me Cathy.
Leisa: Cathy, okay.
Cathy: There you go.
Leisa: It must be an exciting time to be the CFO at Comcast, tell us about it.
Cathy: Oh it’s always been an exciting time. I’ve been with Comcast for 22 years so I’ve seen so many changes in the company. I feel like I’ve actually grown up with the company. You know we have a lot of exciting things in store for us going forward focusing on products and services that we send to our consumers, to small businesses and a really dedicated focus on the customer experience.
Leisa: So you’re Comcast Cable?
Leisa: So what does that encompass?
Cathy: You know most everyone knows of the public company which is Comcast Corporation. There are 3 operating divisions, Comcast Cable is the largest, and so I’m the CFO of the operating division which is the cable division. We generate about $45 billion in revenue per year, we employ over 100,000 employees and we offer video, voice, data services to consumers, to businesses. We have an advertising business that’s part of our overall portfolio.
Leisa: So I’m your customer?
Cathy: And we thank you everyday; thank you.
Leisa: So tell me some of the most exciting things that go on in your – that you do everyday in your position.
Cathy: You know I have to say everyday is a different day and we go from looking at how our results are; we’re getting ready for earnings so that’s a whole fury of activity. We have new initiatives that we’re trying to roll out to our customers and so making sure that those are funded; we’ve got the right return analysis on them. But I actually spend a lot of time developing my team which is the part that is so exciting, so rewarding for me.
Leisa: Well I’d like to talk to you a little bit about team building and even women’s initiatives because I know you’ve been involved in several; where did you get that passion?
Cathy: So people ask me that, you know, what the secret to my success has been and I believe that in order to – I need to share my passion, I wanted to share my passion, and have everyone around me share that passion with me and so have my excellence be contagious to the rest of the team. I have a personal motto that is by Aristotle and the motto is we are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit. And I’ve tried to teach men, women – everyone on the team – that you need to be excellent in whatever it is you decide to do every day.
Leisa: That’s really amazing and we were chatting earlier and not to talk out of school but I know you’ve had opportunities for bigger jobs and I’d love for you to share with our audience a little bit about how you made the decision to take them or not take them and everyone wonders how women who’ve achieved your success do everything. How did you do everything?
Cathy: You know there are sacrifices that you have to make and you make a decision that’s right for you at the time and just like this conference here, which is the subject is no limits, I truly believe there are no limits for women. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to make sacrifices and I did pass up a number of opportunities at the time that didn’t make sense for me or for my family and that was important, but they pave the way for something else to happen. And if I hadn’t turned down that opportunity I wouldn’t have been tapped to be a part of the phone business and to actually launch a new product line for the company which has generated over $3 billion in revenue. So I really believe something good happens out of everything.
Leisa: So what’s next for you Cathy?
Cathy: So what I’m really excited about – and I’m not a technologist, my background is in finance although most of my career I’ve spent outside of finance and it’s been incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. I’m working on business transformation which sounds like a very big, fancy word – it’s all about simplifying how we do business, how our customers do business with us, making sure we keep up with technology and along the way my team and I have developed a sales ordering platform that we just determined was unique enough to be paten worthy. And so out of taking that step and trying to get into something that is maybe not traditional for a CFO I now have a paten pending in my name and that’s just really exciting.
Leisa: Wow that is very exciting.
Cathy: It is.
Leisa: So I have one last question for you. Imagine we had a young professional here with us today who wanted to achieve your success, what’s the nest piece of advice you’d give them?
Cathy: It’s advice that I give everyone on my team, the women that I sponsor and mentor, and that is two things; one is step outside of your comfort zone. If all along your career you’ve been in Marketing you need to do something outside of Marketing; you need to be in Operations, you need to be in Product Management, you need to be able to show that you can grow revenue. So I think it’s important for women to step out of their comfort zone. And then the other piece is find the holes and fill them and where there is a gap get in there and figure it out. And I think that’s – I think those two pieces of advice are good.
Leisa: Thank you very much for being here.
Cathy: Oh thank you.
Leisa: And that wraps up my interview with Catherine Avgiris, Chief Financial Officer with Comcast Cable. This is The BusinessMakers Show, brought to you by Comcast Business, built for business.
brought to you by