Oct 5, 2016
Co-hosts Jan Rutherford and Jim
Vaselopulos interview Colleen Abdoulah, former Chair and CEO of
WOW! Colleen, who was the only female CEO at a top-ten cable
operating company, is widely respected for her passionate focus on
customer experience and company culture. In this episode, Colleen
motivates young professionals to lead passionately with purpose, by
first learning the history, then seeking and engaging existing
organizations. Colleen maintains that everyone has gifts and
passions, and when directed meaningfully, these strengths will help
guide leaders to success. She encourages leaders to reflect each
day by asking, “How did I show up? Was I an influence for positive
or negative?” She discourages passive-aggressive behaviors, and
promotes accountability and learning to confront differences with
Listen in to learn the value of individual
accountability, the best use of the inherent gifts all people have,
and why methods matter along the way to your goals.
[5:33] Colleen gained awareness as a teenager that
women across the world have had to fight for rights. In her 20’s,
she was pulled to work for social justice and compassion towards
the marginalized, especially women and children, and she continues
those efforts today.
[8:01] Colleen’s advice to young professionals
looking to help a cause is first to get some context, find out the
history and background, and do their homework. She says some young
women today don't even know what a suffragette was.
[11:46] Colleen recalls being counseled that if we
make a difference in one life, then what we’re doing matters.
[15:16] Ask yourself, “where can I contribute and be
fed in the process?” Finding an enriching purpose makes the
difference between a passion and an obligation.
[17:15] When looking for a mentor, find people in
your communities who have similar values to you, get their
attention, share who you are. Your mentor's role is to listen,
probe, draw out, and help guide and instruct you, not to advise you
what to do.
[20:38] There's diversity of lifestyle and ethnicity,
but also diversity of mind. Many organizations make the mistake of
finding people who think alike, because it's easier. Getting
diversity right comes down to one basic thing — do I value it?
[25:54] Regardless of our background, we all work
with the basis that we're human beings who want to know, “Do I
belong? Do I have something to contribute? And “A”m I valued and
[31:03] How you love, how you interact, how you
navigate through your career and your exchanges with others,
differentiates you as a person.
Books Mentioned on the Show
How to Win Friends and Influence People, book by Dale
Colleen Abdoulah, who was the only female CEO at a
top-ten cable operating company, is widely respected for her
passionate focus on customer experience and company culture.
Currently the Chair of the Board at WOW!, Colleen guided Internet,
cable and phone as CEO for 12 years. In those years, WOW!
quadrupled the customer base, with revenues of over $1.2B, and
earned multiple awards from J.D. Power and Associates, Consumer
Reports, and PC Magazine Reader's' Choice. WOW! was named in the
National Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in 2012 and 2013.
Before joining WOW!, Colleen worked at TCI as Assistant COO and EVP
of Cable Operations. She serves on the boards of the American Cable
Association and C-SPAN, and is a past Vice President of the
Executive Board of Women in Cable and Telecommunications, and past
Chairperson for the WICT Foundation. She is past Chair of the Board
for the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, serves on the boards
for The Women's College of the University of Denver, the Colorado
Chapter of the International Women's Forum, and World Pulse.
Colleen is a keynote speaker on customer experience
and company culture, and gender-balanced management and leadership,
delivering her messages and stories with humor. Colleen has a
degree in Public Relations and Marketing from Mount Royal College
in Calgary, and an MBA from the University of Denver.
LinkedIn: Colleen Abdoulah