The event, which draws an A-list media crowd and lively comments from speakers, has featured notables including Ted Turner, David Nevins of Showtime/CBS, Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The guest of honor receives the Frank Stanton Award for Excellence in Communication, named for the late CBS president who founded the Center for Communication, a non-profit organization promoting media education and career advancement.
Ferro since 2018 has led advertising sales for Disney’s entertainment, news, sports and kids linear and digital TV and radio businesses. Her portfolio includes ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime and ABC News; Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney; Freeform, FX Networks, and National Geographic Networks. All of ESPN also is in her purview, as is the Disney Digital Network and the company’s online, mobile and social offerings and eight ABC-owned local TV stations.
More than two decades ago, Ferro’s Disney tenure began at ESPN International, where she held several exec posts and eventually leading the ESPN International Ad Sales offices in Miami, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.
“Rita has risen to the peak of her profession and now oversees a portfolio that is breathtaking in its vast scope,” Center for Communication Chairman David J. Barrett said. “We are thrilled to honor such a talented and successful executive who so clearly embodies the underlying mission of the Center to open doors in the media industry for women and minorities.”
J. Max Robins, executive director of the Center, said Ferro’s “deep roots in Latinx media make this award especially appropriate.” He added, “We have a shared mission, and that is to promote excellence by fostering diversity and inclusion in the media industry.”
“It’s an honor to be recognized by the Center for Communication and I’m proud to be the first female Latinx recipient of the Frank Stanton Award,” said Ferro. “Of all my achievements, my years of mentorship and shepherding the next wave of leaders has been the most rewarding and I’m so fortunate to be spotlighted by an organization that represents those key values.”
This year’s luncheon will be October 23 at the event space at 583 Park Ave.