77: Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Network: The Tools to Break Barriers

 
 Kay Koplovitz pioneered cable television – especially live sports – and founded USA Network.

Kay Koplovitz pioneered cable television – especially live sports – and founded USA Network.

A little more than 40 years ago, there was a live event that changed television forever. Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier. A boxing match: "The Thrilla in Manilla."

But the men in the ring weren't the only ones with big career stakes on the line. A 30-year-old entrepreneur named Kay Koplovitz had waited about a decade for this moment. She was the driving force behind making the fight the first live satellite broadcast. It changed the cable industry forever, and laid the groundwork for her to become the first woman to head a television network – one she launched two years later – USA Network. 

Kay Koplovitz today is a venture capital investor, a board member, and an advocate for women in business. I got some time with her on a busy day at the Nasdaq Marketsite in Times Square to talk about her journey, and lessons for the rest of us who – maybe in our jobs, maybe with some new venture – are trying to do what's never been done.