Women of Influence

Kristine Dankenbrink, B.S./M.S.’90

A Fascinating Profession

By Claudia Ricci, Ph.D.’96

Looking back at her career, Comcast executive Kristine Dankenbrink is grateful to UAlbany’s internship program for giving her “really early exposure to the world of business.”

The summer after junior year, Dankenbrink interned with the accounting firm Ernst & Whinney. One job was as a “trailer checker,” at a time when movie theaters played scheduled trailers. “When I was 19,” Dankenbrink chuckles, “this was the coolest thing.”

But other tasks that summer proved “painfully boring.” One job involved checking that thousands of numbers added up correctly; “it was like watching paint dry.”

Dankenbrink returned to the University and enrolled in a master’s program in taxation. “It’s not exactly a cool job at a cocktail party,” she says. “Everybody who doesn’t do taxation thinks it’s boring, but it is fascinating to me.”

People working in taxation “can have an amazing impact” on a company’s performance,” she says. “When you are in taxation, almost everything ends up going through your department.”

Dankenbrink, 46, has been senior vice president for Taxation for six years at Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company. Previously, she was senior vice president at Time Warner Cable, where she built the tax department. Today, she is helping Comcast acquire Time Warner Cable.

Her job also requires Dankenbrink to represent Comcast’s interests before government. She has testified in Washington and visited all 50 states.

Dankenbrink’s high powered job – she supervises 110 people – doesn’t end when she leaves the office. She has three children, including one, age 13, with severe autism. Another child, age 10, was adopted from Russia.

How does she manage? She “outsources all of the daily grind kind of jobs at home.” And she takes full advantage of new technologies that let people work at a distance. “You can be at a Christmas concert for your child, but you have your BlackBerry and you can be making decisions or giving advice.”