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Much of the cable industry's top leadership will gather at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel on Thursday evening to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.
The gala, which will honor Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts, will focus on the accomplishments and aspirations of a group that is somewhat unique in the annals of American business. It is a multicultural-focused trade organization that was launched not by corporate edict, but by the grassroots efforts of its members.
An underlying theme of the event, however, will be change: Both NAMIC and the industry it serves are in a time of transition.
For NAMIC, the shifts can best be seen at 337 W. 37th St. in Manhattan, where the association established its first independent headquarters this year. That's a major milestone: for more than two decades, it was run by a management company.
The group has also tripled the size of its staff and launched two new educational programs, capitalizing on the success of its Executive Leadership Development Program.
While NAMIC's expansion will be on display Thursday evening, so too will changes in the cable industry, although the signs are likely to be more subtle. Traditionally insular and dominated by white men at the top, cable companies have been showing some indications of trying to break out of this mold. Time Warner Inc., thanks in large part to its Turner Broadcasting System unit, became the first media company to earn a spot on Diversity Inc. magazine's Top 50 list of companies this year. And Comcast Corp., which came close to making the list, has been lauded by several minority groups for its hiring practices.
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Such accolades, and NAMIC's growing visibility, have caught the attention of the industry's longtime diversity champions, who find little …