Bright House’s Great CommunicatorMaki Translates Complex Tech, Makes Cable’s Case Proactively 1/27/2014 12:00 AM Eastern
Kimberly Maki has a knack for taking complex, technical concepts and boiling them down to make them easily digestible for consumers, regulators, employees and executives.
As the chief communications executive for Bright House Networks, the sixth-biggest U.S. cable company, Maki leads corporate communications, industry outreach, media relations, crisis management, brand reputation, multicultural strategies, social media and management of BHN’s website as well as its Intranet.
During her almost five years at Bright House Networks corporate, she has expanded the cable operator’s media exposure more than tenfold while building its social-media strategy from the ground up.
When Maki came on board, “she took us from being reactive to proactive in every regard and that is tricky with a company like ours because we like being understated,” Bright House Networks president Nomi Bergman said. “Kimberly taught us we have to have a broader communications strategy and it has been very beneficial.”
Marva Johnson, corporate vice president of industry affairs, added: “Kimberly put the sparkle in our shine. She sprinkles pixie dust on everything she touches to make sure we all look good. She has a constant can-do attitude that is infectious and she is always finding ways to make sure we do things in a positive way. Before Kimberly came to Bright House, we didn’t know what we didn’t know … Today, I would say [our communications results] are exceptional.”
Maki has spent her entire professional career in television. Her first cable job was as lead PR and legislative communications point person for the Michigan Cable Television Association in 1989. She later held senior public-affairs positions at Vision Cable corporate and in Time Warner Cable’s Atlanta, National and Houston Divisions.
She was vice president of marketing, membership and business development for the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers before landing the top executive post at the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers.
All along the way, she has been successful at elevating people she’s worked with and organizations she has worked for to new heights.
“Kimberly’s leadership helped diversify and grow revenue streams. She also managed several deliverables on a worldwide stage in places such as Sydney, Australia, and at the renowned Venice Film Festival,” former SMPTE board president Ken Fuller, now senior VP and general manager at Encompass Digital Media, said. “She always stood out with such positive presence — she was a shining light and shined that light right back on SMPTE.”
As part of her role as the executive director at SMPTE, she was the only U.S. and female official on the board of the IBC trade show, held in Amsterdam each year.
Her passion for bringing out the best in people and her talent in successfully integrating PR communications strategies led Maki to create a personal branding program that helps people hone in on their mission and vision to achieve their personal and career goals.
After graduating from the Women In Cable Telecommunications Betsy Magness Leadership Institute in 2011 and completing Columbia University’s external coach intensive program in 2012, she created a curriculum titled “Amplify Your Brand with Passion & Purpose.” The program focuses on personal branding and includes left-brain/ right-brain exercises that connect people with their core competencies.
She has led the program for several groups, including the Bright House Women’s Leadership Circle and WICT Florida’s Mentor-Mentee Candidates, as well as many leadership groups outside the industry that involve both children and adults.
“It feels good to know I’m making a difference for people and [the program] combines all the functional disciplines of my career experience,” Maki said.
Maki is an integrated communications prognosticator and tends to set trends ahead of the times. She created an award-winning amnesty program and a new website for Time Warner Cable in Houston that became a template for other territories.
During her stint with Vision Cable in the 1990s, she created an award-winning traveling demonstration of the capabilities of fiber optics, garnering major press coverage and positive local sentiment for the company. She also published local annual reports, used to boost employee morale and to help regulators absorb each system’s effect on the local area and economy in ways they could understand and appreciate.
“Those reports sound pretty common today, but back then it was a radical idea,” Bergman said. “They gave a level of professionalism to a pretty scrappy group of people who were very good at what they did, but didn’t always know how to convey that very well.
“As our industry moves into even more challenging times, the need is acute to have truly talented, dedicated, effective yet also inspirational leaders at all levels,” she continued. “I have had the distinct honor of working with Kimberly Maki for the past 20 years, and I have been blown away!
“When I think of Kimberly, I think of Malcolm Gladwell’s concepts from his book, Outliers,” Bergman said. “He writes, ‘Practice isn’t the thing you do when you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.’ This experience has emboldened the strong value which she brings to everything she does.”
KIMBERLY S. MAKI
TITLE: Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications & Public Relations, Bright House Networks
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Executive Director, Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers; VP of Marketing, Membership and Business Development, Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers; VP, Public Affairs, Time Warner Cable’s Houston Division
QUOTABLE: “Just choosing one success to pursue at a time? Nope, that isn’t me. I need diversity and I am always up for a strong challenge.”