‘Listening, collaboration’ key to Gay Jacobson’s success

| September 14, 2011 | 0 Comments
Gay Jacobson

Leading With Faith winner Gay Jacobson, left, operations director at Metro Cable Network in North Minneapolis, talks with her daughter, Stephanie Jacobson, MCN finance manager/web designer. Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

As operations director for Metro Cable Network, Gay Jacobson “has always had God in [the] plan for Channel 6,” Bonnie Shutte wrote in nominating her friend for the Leading With Faith Award.

At Jacobson’s office in Northeast Minneapolis’ arts district, visitors get a glimpse of the central role faith plays in her life. A picture of Jesus with red and blue rays of light emanating from his heart adorns one wall. An angel statue perched high on a bookshelf watches over the office. A prayer book rests on a pile of papers on her desk.

Most mornings Jacobson attends Mass. “It gives you that kind of wallop to get going,” she said.

She sometimes pauses during her busy workday to pray or read the Bible. “If I get kind of a lull in the day and I’m kind of tired, I pray,” she said. “It just fires me up again and gets me going.”

Helping small businesses

Jacobson began working at Metro Cable Network 25 years ago, when the station was founded. Her clients have included small local businesses and churches.

A staff of four full-time and 15 contracted employees assists clients with all aspects of video production.

“Here you can get your message out for as little as $500 and have it aired on Channel 6,” Jacobson said. “So we’re trying to help the small businesses stay afloat in these economic times.”

Several religious programmers, including the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, have been MCN members for years. Shutte attributes those long-term relationships to “Gay’s dedication and honesty.”

Catholic programming on MCN6 includes shows produced by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and Catholic Parents Online, Mass at St. Olaf in Minneapolis, and ordinations at the Cathedral of St. Paul. MCN6 also was home to St. Olaf’s Emmy-winning show “Generation Cross.”

Faith often comes up in Jacobson’s conversations with religious clients, she said. “They’ll stop in my office from time to time, and I’ll have a lot of them pray over me because that’s part of their mission.”

‘All God’s children’

Jacobson’s nominator noted her openness to diverse cultures and faiths.

“I don’t discriminate against anyone,” Jacobson said. “I feel like we’re all God’s children. . . . My philosophy is to treat everybody equal, with respect and kindness.”

Jacobson said her 94-year-old mother, Ruby, has influenced her life more than anyone. She and her 10 siblings would pray the rosary together every day before going to school, Jacobson recalled. Often their mother would read the Bible to them.

“There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t tell her, ‘Thank you for raising me in the Catholic faith,’” Jacobson said.

The keys to being a successful leader, according to Jacobson, include listening and collaboration.

“There’s no shortcut to success,” she said. “I’m taking one day at a time and focusing on trying to make a difference not only in my life but also with those I come in contact with on a daily basis.”

Above all, Jacobson credits God for her success.

“God is who helps me run this place,” she said. “Many times when I’m in [eucharistic] adoration or at daily Mass, I just say, ‘Who can you bring me today that can help me keep this channel going?’ And he never fails. He’s my biggest supporter. He oversees everything.”

For information about Metro Cable Network, go to http://www.mcn6.org.

Biography

Title: Operations director at Metro Cable Network Channel 6, Minneapolis

Parish: St. John the Baptist, New Brighton

Spouse: Richard

Children: Stephanie, Karri and Andrea

Activities: Chaired Fun Fest at Immaculate Conception in Columbia Heights for three years, involved with Knights of Columbus (Richard is navigator), volunteers at Mary’s Place in Minneapolis

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Category: Leading With Faith