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Vision TV CEO Appreciates Trent's "Open Environment"

Bill RobertsAs the first post-secondary stop on a long academic road, Trent University holds a lot of special memories for Bill Roberts, the President and CEO of VisionTV. From hanging out at the various pubs and playing road hockey, to meeting his future wife and forging long-lasting relationships with fellow students and professors, Mr. Roberts will always look back at his time at Trent with a sense of nostalgia.

"I had a lot of fun at Trent," Mr. Roberts remarked during a recent visit to his alma mater – his first "formal visit" since graduating in 1973 with a BA in Political Studies. "This is where I developed a real penchant for learning about the media and about politics."

After graduation Mr. Roberts built upon his interests in media and politics and went on to complete an array of other degrees, including an MBA from St. Mary's University and an MA in Film Theory from the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France.

"Trent was very much an open environment and as I went through less open environments in my academic career, I really appreciated what Trent allowed me to do," Mr. Roberts said when asked what impact his time at Trent had on his further studies. "The biggest take-away for me was the tutorial system, the smaller classes, and the individual attention – it all gave me a great leg up in my grad work."

Since completing his academics, Mr. Roberts has since gone on to enjoy an impressive career in television.

As the current President and CEO of VisionTV, the only multi-faith and multicultural television network in the world, Mr. Roberts spends his days overseeing the work of 80 employees, dealing with a Board of Directors, and travelling regularly to New York, L.A. and Europe. 

"VisionTV is an entity which tries to use television to create a sense of celebration, playfulness and dialogue between different faith groups," Mr. Roberts explained.

Prior to his appointment at VisionTV, Mr. Roberts was the Secretary General of the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA), a non-profit organization that serves as the voice of North American broadcasters on global issues. In this role, he managed the secretariat of the World Broadcasting Unions, and played an active part in organizing the United Nations World Television Forum on the Impact of Television on Peace and Development.

The move to NABA followed eight years with TVOntario, first as Senior Managing Director of External Relations, and then as Senior Director-General of International Affairs. Mr. Roberts has also worked with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) as Senior Vice-President, Television, and with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as a Senior Policy Analyst.

As for advice for others wishing to follow in the footsteps of this successful Trent alumnus, Mr. Roberts insists there is no special "trick".

"I have been very fortunate but also opportunistic in taking chances and risks," Mr. Roberts said. "You just have to have passion."

Posted May 5, 2006





























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