Cable Pioneer Profile: Zenita Henderson

Today, we’re celebrating the achievements of a key member of our team: Zenita Henderson.

Zenita (aka “Z”)  is the newest inductee to the Cable TV Pioneers, an elite group of industry veterans that the Cable Center recognizes for its “meaningful contributions to building the industry.”

That’s just one of the ways we describe Zenita. Her sense of humor and charisma inspires employees, partners, and public audiences alike. And over the course of her 25 years of service to the industry, she’s not only personally contributed to the evolution of cable, but has introduced hundreds of people to its opportunities and possibilities through foundation and charity work.

We caught up with Zenita to hear how cable has changed in the past quarter century, what landed her in the cable pioneers class of 2014, and how she’s working to pioneer its future…

For Zenita, a career in cable began by accident with a summer job at a cable distribution company that brought her into a full-time position at Jerrold in Horsham, PA. “It was in my hometown, so I didn’t have to go very far to find it. We were working on 400 megahertz plant upgrades and launching ‘cable video store’ (the original Pay-Per-view or OnDemand) at the time. There was so much potential, and this amazing technology was just a mile away from my house… I thought: ‘other people need to know about this!’”

25 years and a series of acquisitions later, Zenita is now a senior member of the regional marketing team at ARRIS and involved with numerous organizations that bring new talent into the field. “You can say I thrived in the transitions… I worked through the birth of pay-per-view, 24 hour news, the video phone, and the transition from analog to digital TV, then HD, and now Ultra HD. We’ve gone from six channels on cable to over 600. Eventually, all you’ll need is one central gateway to access all your content, on any device, anywhere in the world. It’s very exciting.”

Zenita is known for her influence, both on and off the court—forging industry collaborations, giving back to local communities, and empowering the next generation to advance the field.

One of the key areas that distinguished Zenita for the Cable TV Pioneers was her contributions to cable-related awareness and community advocacy. During her time at General Instrument, Motorola, and ARRIS, she’s pioneered corporate initiatives to educate professionals and students on opportunities in cable and to give back to the local communities providing talent to their workforce.

The result has included such successes as General Instrument’s “Dream Makers” Juvenile Diabetes walk teams, Motorola’s collaboration with Cable Positive to create YAMI-U, the launch of the first Tech It Out series with Women In Cable and Telecommunications (WICT), Technical Intern opportunities for Emma Bowen Foundation students, the Cable Mavericks Masters Forum with The Cable Center, and diversity initiatives with the National Association of Multiethnicity in Cable (NAMIC), providing members with an interactive digital platform ‘pre’ Facebook and the industry with educational technical webinars. Zenita is currently leading WICT’s Greater Philadelphia “Tech It Out” event this year with Yvette Thornton from Comcast.

“I’m honored to be part of the Cable TV Pioneers. When I started in the industry, I was so inspired by what we were doing that I wanted to be able to share it with other people. Now I’m in a position to do that. I want minorities, women, and non-technical people planning their careers to know that there’s an opportunity in cable. It’s a good thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do.

With the transformation in user experience, content, and video—cable has become a much more creative discipline. There needs to be more awareness of how it’s evolving and where it can go… 

We’re bringing tomorrow’s talent and ideas into cable, and we’re really having fun.”

Congratulations Zenita! And thanks for inspiring the human element in our journey of constant innovation.