Monthly Archives: October 2009

Making a Difference: NAMIC and the Walter Kaitz Foundation

NAMIC_23rdTheme2_finalFew organizations can boast that they have the clout and reputation to bring together the most influential people of color in the communications industry. Even fewer can do so in a blizzard in Denver, CO. But that’s exactly what the National Association of Multiethnicity in Communications and the Walter Kaitz Foundation were able to do earlier this week, Oct 26-28, at their annual conference and dinner.

NAMIC, established in 1980 and led by Kathy Johnson, is the premiere organization that “educates, advocates and empowers for multi-ethnic diversity in the telecommunications industry.” Members include cable operators and programmers to new media professionals, on-air talent and entrepreneurs. Think of it as the “who’s who” of people of color in the media and communications industry.

Each year NAMIC hosts an annual conference to recognize companies who exemplify the NAMIC mission and to provide a forum for discussion amongst the best and the brightest in the business. General morning and lunch sessions featured engaging speakers like Chris Hughes (co-founder of Facebook and mastermind behind and Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Chief Medical Correspondent, CNN). One conference attendee, Andrea Agnew of Comcast, had this to say after hearing Dr. Sanjay Gupta speak, “[he] truly embodied the spirit of humanitarianism”.  Throughout each day of the conference, concurrent panel sessions around hot topics in the industry stirred up thought provoking dialog amongst the conference attendees. Panel topics like “Diversity in White: Personal Journeys of White Male Executives”, “Leading with your Right” and “Tribalization of Social Media: How to Become a Chieftan” challenged participants to engage in candid discussion with key leaders in the industry. Still other panels like “Winning Program Formulas” moderated by industry heavy weight Pearlena Igbokwe (SVP Original Programming for Showtime; responsible for the hit series Soul Food) offered attendees practical guidance and insight to the world of multi-ethnic content and programming.

Once night time hit, not even the Denver blizzard could keep conference attendees from taking the time to unwind and network with fellow NAMIC colleagues and friends. NAMIC’s most recent Executive Leadership Development Program graduates, Class VIII, took over local hot spot Jazz at Jacks for some post conference music, food, fun and yes…the cupid shuffle. Good times had by all.

WalterKaitzLogoFollowing the three day NAMIC conference, attendees whose companies sponsor the Walter Kaitz Foundation were treated to an evening of elegant dinning and a program honoring this year’s Diversity Champions, Comcast and Turner Broadcasting. The evening was hosted by TJ Holmes who proved to be both a captivating master of ceremonies and surprisingly funny. The Walter Kaitz Foundation was established in 1980 and functions as an advocate for diversity in the cable and telecommunications industry. The event raised over one million dollars and was yet another fantastic production by the organization led by Executive Director David Porter.

As a member of the NAMIC organization, graduate of ELDP Class VIII and a supporter of the Walter Kaitz foundation I can say with great sincerity that these organizations are well worth supporting and membership is truly priceless. If you are in the media/communications industry or are interested in learning more about it, I encourage you to join!


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Stay Healthy Travel and Office Tips

doctorIf you’re a woman on the go, chances are your busy travel schedule can’t stop for the outbreak of H1N1. So in the interest of promoting health and wellness we’ve compiled a few tips we’ve come across to help you avoid those pesky travel and office germs:

1. Sit towards the front of the airplane. Ventilation systems on most commercial aircraft provide better airflow at the front of the plane.

2. Avoid drinking coffee or tea on airplanes. Monitoring by the Environmental Protection Agency has shown that water in airplanes water tanks is not always clean. Coffee and tea is usually made from this water as opposed to bottled. So stick to ordering single serve beverages.

3. Moisturize the inside of your nostrils with saline nasal gel or a good antibacterial (alcohol free) moisturizing cream. It keeps your nose from drying out on the plane and can help trap dust particals and pollutants before they enter your airway.

4. Check out these tips from Dr. Oz on how to keep your pocketbook and make-up santized and nearly germ free.

5. Stack up on your travel size hand sanitizer and use it generously. Keep a bottle on your desk at the office too!

6. Know the facts about H1N1. Learn more here on WebMD

7. This goes without saying, but pack your vitamins and herbs in your carry-on luggage or keep in your desk at work. This time of year we’re loving Airborne and a variety of great teas with plenty of health benefits like Echinacea tea with honey.

Do you have some “stay healthy travel tips” that you use? If so, share them with us! Let’s all stay healthy!

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Spotlight On: René Syler

René Syler

René Syler

“I didn’t know that’s how strong I was.” René Syler
René Syler, journalist and former host of the CBS Early Show, is undoubtedly a courageous woman who has made some very difficult decisions in life. It is clear that many of her decisions have been shaped by her parents’ experiences and influences.

René was born in Illinois at Scott Air Force Base to a French Canadian and Native American mother, Anne, and an African-American and Irish father, Bill. Anne Syler had been in the Air Force and left the military when she wed Bill. She earned her college degree and subsequently became a teacher, however, after separating from Bill at the age of 48 she returned back to the Air Force, realizing that she could not depend on her then husband’s retirement.
When René was 10 years old, her father received shocking news. He was diagnosed with breast cancer. Years later, in 1997, her mother was also diagnosed. These two cases alarmed Rene’s doctors. After numerous biopsies, mammograms and an “atypical ductal hyperplasia” diagnosis (what many consider to be the stage right before cancer), Rene decided to have a radical procedure in 2007: a double mastectomy. This brave decision could have easily been the difference between life and death.

Though this was monumental in her life, it could not have come at a more difficult time. She had just been let go from the Early Show. In April of 2007 she told WGN, “I had my own breast disease diagnosed in 2003, hyperplasia atypia which is widely seen as a stage right before breast cancer. And after 4 biopsies in 4 years, it just was too much.” She continues that, “all of this was happening as I got fired from my job on the Early Show at CBS and was having my breast removed.”
After graduating from California State University, Sacramento with a psychology degree in 1987, she began her career in broadcast news, proving her journalistic prowess through reporter and anchor roles in Reno, Birmingham and Dallas. In 2002 she became known nationally as the co-host of The Early Show on CBS, and the first black female national morning show anchor.
Though being fired from the Early Show must have been difficult, it did not break Syler’s ambition. In 2007 she published Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting describing how “good enough” is the new “perfect” when it comes to parenting. She also has a blog and online community where she openly talks about the realities of parenting her two children. Additionally, she has been active in the fight against breast cancer for years, even before her mastectomy, since both of her parents were breast cancer survivors. She is in her second year as a Susan G. Komen for the Cure Ambassador.

René Syler is clearly living her purpose through her work, advocacy and inspirational story. René, her husband and their two children reside in New York. Learn more about her story and view photos of her family here.

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Artistic or Offensive? French Vogue Shoots Dutch Model in Blackface

French Vogue BlackfaceVogue magazines seems to stay in the headlines because of something provacative, doesn’t it? Well this time, French Vogue did a spread of Dutch Model Lara Stone in Blackface for their October issue. Apparently this was supposed to celebrate how Stone isn’t your typical anorexic model (yeah…she’s a size 4. Not quite curvy!). Do you think this is artistic or offensive?



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How are you celebrating Halloween?

Halloween is almost here. What are you doing to celebrate? Are you going to a party? Hosting a party? Checking out a haunted house? Dressing up? Taking the kids trick-or-treating? What ever you’re doing – let us know!









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Our Quest for Cute Rain Boots

Cute Rain BootsFor most of us, this time of year is not the prettiest – the temperature is getting cooler, the wind is kicking up, and rain (and soon ice and snow) is in full effect. All of this sometimes makes it difficult to keep the shoe game up without looking cute on top, yet frumpy on the bottom. We here at The Vyne went on a quest to search for the cutest rain boots we could find that could combine fashion with function. Here is what we found:

1. London Fog Wales Rain Boots in Cement Gray
2. Kate Spade Randi Boot in Lipstick Pink
3. dav City Waterproof Rain Boot in Black
4. Ralph Lauren Collection Olive Luxe Rainboot in Black/RL Gold
5. Sperry Top-Sider Sausalito Boot in Red
6. Aquatalia by Marvin K. Wasabi 5 Boot in Orange Specchio
7. Cole Haan Air Lizzie Tall Boot in Black

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Boots We’re Loving

Marc by Marc Jacobs 694932Chic with a unique style, these Marc by Marc Jacobs boots definitely make a statement.

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