EMBA Alumni Update: Keith Wingate - Cohort 12, Media Consultant, Cox Media
In 2016 Keith Wingate (Cohort 12), senior media consultant with Cox Media, found a passion that makes use of every skill, insight and connection gained through his UNLV EMBA experience.
Wingate is the driving force behind the creation and implementation of the Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA), a joint venture between Cox Communications and the UNLV Lee Business School. The academy offers an eight-week business education program through which management of Las Vegas minority- and diversity-owned businesses can gain the skills and knowledge needed to stay competitive and move their companies forward.
It all began when Wingate’s bosses asked him to lead Cox Media’s efforts focused on supplier diversity and inclusion for the Southwest Region Diversity Council. Always one to face new challenges with innovation, Wingate began researching how to create a business-focused educational program that would initially be offered to Cox’s minority-owned suppliers and vendors.
With a plan in hand, Wingate presented his proposal to his favorite UNLV EMBA instructor, Dr. Janet Runge, who was impressed and intrigued. Together they finalized the operational details and developed a curriculum - including both new material and pulling from various elements of the EMBA program - that would empower participants with practical knowledge and skills they could immediately put into action within their companies. In February 2016, the first SBLA cohort launched with classes held at Cox Communications.
Word spread quickly of the new endeavor and more UNLV EMBA professors signed up to teach. Soon, Caesars Entertainment threw its support behind the SBLA program, committing to supporting the enrollment of the company’s diverse-owned suppliers. And recently, Wingate met with Bank of Nevada which has donated the equivalent of 10 scholarships. “The program speaks for itself. It was the easiest sales pitch I’ve ever made,” Wingate said.
“It’s been, and continues to be, an exhilarating experience to bring something so useful to the business community to life,” said Wingate. “I have literally used every tool I learned through the UNLV EMBA program to get this off and running.”
“With three SBLA cohorts successfully completed, it’s even more satisfying when I get calls from SBLA students excited to tell me how they implemented within their companies something they learned in class. It’s very reminiscent of my own UNLV EMBA experience.”
While not focused on his own achievements, Wingate did admit to feeling like the program was a true success when he got a message from Cox Communications President, Pat Esser, congratulating him on the SBLA program, saying it was under evaluation for implementation nationally throughout the company. Wingate is currently leading the effort to expand the SBLA program development in San Diego and Louisiana markets. In addition, plans are underway to further develop the Level 2 course program for returning students.
The drive, integrity, professionalism and zest for new experiences that Wingate brought to the creation of the SBLA program is a hallmark of his career.
As a powerhouse media consultant for Cox Media, he leads an inter-departmental team of 14 professionals who Wingate says, “work together to exceed our clients’ expectations.” And, he has achieved such outstanding sales-related accomplishments as commanding a 51 percent share of broadcast revenue for the 2013-2015 book of business; surpassing $8 million in net career billing achievement in 2016, and named Market Consultant of The Year for Outstanding Performance in 2012 and 2015.
Starting his media industry career while in college as a part-time promotions assistant with a Clear Channel radio station in Norfolk, VA, Wingate took a summer off to work with the Republican National Committee throughout Virginia, Washington D.C.-metropolitan area and the Carolinas, working with Senator Lee Atwater during the George W. Bush administration.
Returning to radio in Norfolk, “I was talked into trying sales, a career choice that proved ideal and has continued to shape my career,” Wingate said. Shortly thereafter, he was recruited to join the company’s advertising sales team in Raleigh, North Carolina. “I was born and raised in Norfolk, which is a military town in southeastern Virginia,” he said. “It was time to experience something new.”
Wingate’s career path to Nevada would have more stops with senior marketing positions with CBS Radio in Charlotte, NC, then onto Memphis, TN, and once again a return to Clear Channel, which would finally recruit him to the Las Vegas market.
When the opportunity arose to accept a position with Cox Media, Wingate jumped at it. “It’s been an amazing eight years with Cox, made all the better because of what I’ve been able to accomplish in affiliation with UNLV,” he said.