Position: Chief operating officer, East Coast Television, a television production company in Washington.

Career highlights: Vice president, broadcast operations, Grace Digital Media LLC; consultant, television production and broadcast management; vice president, broadcasting, QVC Inc.; head of planning and coordination, Atlanta Olympic Broadcast, Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games; consultant and founder, Captree Communications; vice president of operations and administration, Goodwill Games division, Turner Broadcasting System Inc.; director, public relations, Turner Broadcasting System; manager, corporate communications, ESPN Inc.; senior publicist, the Movie Channel/Showtime.

Age: 55

Education: BA and MA, theater, State University of New York at Binghampton.

Personal: Lives in Washington with daughter, Emily, 22, who works at ABC News.

How did you get to where you are?

I started out as a professional actor. I came to a point in that career where I felt I wouldn't have the success that I wanted and decided to look at the entertainment industry. I was in my late 20s. My cousin's uncle owned a marketing communications firm in New York. I was living in New York at the time and I convinced him to hire me at a very low level to do some work with them, mostly research. For me, it was a chance to study the business world and understand the way people related, even how they dressed, because I came from a highly creative, very Bohemian existence into the corporate world. And while I was there the cable industry was just starting out in the early 1980s. I was researching the cable industry and it really fascinated me. And I thought that would be an ideal place for me because it was a new industry with a lot of growth. They couldn't ask for someone with experience because no one really had it.

It was actually through my acting days that there was a contact who was working at Showtime, and I got a job there in corporate communications. I was there for two years, then ESPN made me an offer. Then in 1985, a year later, Turner Broadcasting System made me an offer to head their first corporate communications office outside of Atlanta. That office in New York became a big success very quickly. After I did that, I wanted to move from the more corporate side of things to the production side of the business.

Ted [Turner] had started the Goodwill Games in Moscow in 1986, and so I did them. That's when I was vice president of operations and administration. I went to do the Olympics in Atlanta. After the Olympics, I went to QVC and there I built the whole broadcast operation. After that I was burned out. Both of my parents had died within days of each other. So, I stopped and took time off to reevaluate my life for several years. . . . I took complete stock of my life. I wanted to be a better man.

Then I came to Washington and got a job in 11 days at Grace Digital. They were looking for a vice president. That company went bankrupt 11 months later and it was very difficult. But out of that company came East Coast Television in August 2004. . . .

I want to build a healthy company that's here for 10 to 15 years, even longer than that. . . . I like people who take risks. Ted Turner is a perfect example. I like people who treat all people with kindness. I guess I'm responding to what's going on in New Orleans. But I'm motivated by that, not just in business but in life.

-- Judith Mbuya