Beth Roberts, chief operating officer, Universal Cable Prods./exec VP, business affairs, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios

Women's Impact Report 2012: Executives

As USA Network, Syfy, Bravo and E! got busier with original scripted series, Roberts was called up last year by Bonnie Hammer to run the business side of NBCUniversal’s cable production studio. A longtime biz affairs exec, Roberts has steered the unit’s growth into producing for non-NBCU nets as well as its cable siblings.

What we should know: “Our studio at NBC was originally one large centralized business, but it became clear that we didn’t understand the rhythms of the cable business. There are more and more cable networks out there and now they’re all creating original content. As we saw that business growing in the industry and for our own cable networks, we realized we should have a studio geared toward cable production. We started out with a couple of series but we’ve now built up a real portfolio of programs.”

The Holy Grail: “I’ve been practicing business affairs for a long time. Getting into an operational role is the holy grail because when you’re in business affairs, you get to negotiate the deal and strategize on how to get what you want but at the end of the day it’s someone else who gets to call the shots. Now I’m in a really different kind of role that is incredible refreshing.”

Smartphone habits: “There’s no real unplugging, I’m not inconvenienced by that. When I go on vacation I can compartmentalize my day into those times when I do check in. I think it’s important to take all your vacation time and have your weekends to the extent you can. Things can always wait a few hours until you check in.”

Work-life balance: “You’ve got to make sure you have a life beyond your work life.”

Words of wisdom: “You really can do whatever you set out to do if you apply yourself consistently. I have never not achieved something in my life that I wanted unless I gave up on it. When you look at what it takes to get ahead, the No. 1 thing is finding your goal, focusing on that goal and chasing that goal.”

Charitable passions: Cal State Los Angeles Athletic Program. “I got involved through an old boss of mine who was involved with a fundraiser that Billie Jean King hosts at Cal State L.A. every year.”

Twitter: @beth_roberts33

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