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Career Connections Profile: Melissa Blake

Melissa BlakeMy job and what it entails:
Director of Governmental Affairs, Cox Communications Louisiana. I’m responsible for local, state, and federal governmental issues – public policy, franchising, legislation, lobbying, and issues management.

Cable work history:
Joined Cox Communications in 2002 as Manager of Governmental Affairs; named Director in 2008.

Work history B.C. (before cable):
Attorney – criminal defense (very short period of time), then Legal Counsel for State of Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

ACC history and involvement:
My membership began in 2002 when I began working in the cable industry. My favorite involvement was serving as a Beacon judge.

Favorite ACC member benefit:
Forum; networking with other communications professionals.

First job out of college:
Law School; First job out of law school: Law Clerk for a District Court Judge.

First communications job (if different from above:
Attorney; my first cable communications job was when I joined the Cox team.

What I’m working on today:
It changes daily, but today I worked on the renegotiation of a cable franchise, implementation of a government access channel for one of our local municipalities, lobbied at the state Capitol, and attended a Congressional fundraiser.

Best thing about my job:
The team that I work with every day – no question!

How my job has changed in the past year:
Competition, Competition, Competition.

If I could change one thing about my job:
I would love to have an unlimited operating budget!

Biggest professional accomplishment:
Hard to pinpoint, but anytime I can save my company money or generate revenue, I feel a sense of accomplishment – whether it’s through an FCC designation, tax legislation, or the negotiation of a franchise. In March, I concluded a nine-month renegotiation of the Baton Rouge cable franchise – which generated revenue and cost-savings for Cox of $1.6 million.

Worst professional mistake (at least the worst I will admit):
Early in my career, I did not sufficiently prep a witness before a trial; I learned very quickly that you should “never ask a question of a witness you don’t already know the answer to.”

Best lesson I’ve learned in my career:
To be courageous and open to new things, while always striving to be happy and enjoy the work that I do. Life’s too short. One of my favorite quotes: “One day your life will flash before your eyes – make sure it’s worth watching.”

Advice for newer communications pros:
Show civility and courtesy in all situations. A few examples: don’t keep people waiting; don’t text during meetings; don’t clog inboxes with huge attachments; and no PowerPoints – ever!

Education:
BA in Communications from LSU; JD from LSU Law Center

Family:
Married 7 years to my wonderfully supportive husband, Scott Blake; we have a daughter, Ashley and a son, Benjamin.

Favorite cable channel(s):
The History Channel and Investigation Discovery

Hometown:
Belle Chasse, Louisiana – but I’ve called Baton Rouge home for 23 years

What I’m passionate about (besides family, job and the cable industry):
Adding to and crossing things off my “bucket list” - mainly travel.

Mailing Address: PO BOX 75007 Washington, DC 20013-5007
Phone: 800.210.3396 or 202.222.2370
Fax: 202.222.2371
services@cablecommunicators.org