One of TV Academy's Youngest Members Pays Tribute to Lucy Hood

Jason Cozier recounts his interactions with the president and COO of the academy, who succumbed to cancer last Wednesday at the age of 56.
Getty Images
Lucy Hood

My name is Jason Cozier and, at 23, I am one of the youngest members -- possibly the youngest -- of the TV Academy, which represents a very big and important part of my life. If you've ever attended one of the TV Academy’s functions, mixers or panel presentations, chances are we've met. I first met Lucy Hood, our president and COO, at the breakfast that followed the announcement of the Emmy nominees last July. I introduced myself to Ms. Hood, who had been appointed to her position just a month before, and she immediately posed a question to me, with deep and genuine interest in my answer: "How can we get more young people involved in the Academy?"

STORY: NATAS Chair on Just Exactly Who Votes on the Awards 

That question, as I saw it, spoke volumes. It indicated that she valued what every member had to say. It showed that she wanted to diversify the Academy to make sure that it better reflected the community it serves. And it opened the door for a dialogue between me and her that I looked forward to continuing well into the future.

After the breakfast, I wanted to learn more about how this woman ascended to her prestigious pedestal. Her résumé as a communications specialist was vast, but one thing was common throughout it. From her days at Yale University and Columbia University's School of Business, to her stint at American Idol, during which she implemented text voting, to her tenure at USC, where she served as executive director of the Institute for Communication Technology Management, she specialized in taking large and diverse groups of people and bringing them together in creative ways.

From that day on, I seized every opportunity that I had to talk to her, recognizing it as a chance to learn and grow as both a member of the TV community and as a person. Our most memorable conversations focused on the industry, how it is constantly changing and how the TV Academy needed to change with it -- how members need to reimagine what they can bring to the table and then bring it. She made me want to get involved, work harder and accomplish more, and I came to regard her as a role model for doing just that.

I was terribly saddened to learn on Wednesday that Ms. Hood had passed away following a battle with cancer. (She was just 56.) But I also feel very lucky to have met such a magnificent and magnetic leader so early in my life. She may have been the president of the Academy, and I may have been -- and may still be -- just a young guy finding his way in this community, but she took the time to listen to me and make me feel valued -- just like each and every person she met -- and I will try my best to do the same in my own life. I don’t know if she realized how much of an impact she had on my life, but I will forever be grateful that our paths crossed.