Written by Lauren Tilstra
As the lifeblood of future economic growth and innovation, women should be celebrated for inspiring us on a daily basis. For the next week, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.
Through articles, videos, social and multimedia content, we will be showcasing how women are mothers, mentors, leaders, influencers, and powerful agents of change at Verizon and in the technology world.
Hundreds of employees across the globe dialed-in to chat about career development in the tech industry, the importance of leadership and collaboration, and the impact that women continue to have on Verizon’s culture and bottom-line.
Led by Tami Erwin, senior vice president and group president of Verizon’s consumer and mass business, and Martha Delehanty, senior vice president of human resources for Verizon operations, the International Women’s Day candid conversation offered women at every level of the company the opportunity to connect, celebrate, and learn from one another.
This is an edited, excerpted version of their remarks.
Why is now a great time to be a woman at Verizon?
Verizon has a commitment to be better than the statistics in the workforce. Our Credo states that we “embrace diversity and personal development not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s smart business.” That commitment starts at the top: four of Verizon's 13 board members are women, 37 percent of the company's U.S. workforce are women, including 29 percent in senior management. The company recognizes how important women are to our business: Our women have a voice at the company, and through collaboration, we don’t just think of great ideas, we act and do great things.
In addition, women and all employees at Verizon have the opportunity to interact and engage with women leaders through the Women’s Association of Verizon Employees (WAVE), one of our employee resource groups. We not only get to know each other and come together in meaningful ways, but also have multidimensional, 360 degree conversations about work and life. The organization is important because it allows us to embrace one another and help us be the best we can be.
How is Verizon supporting girls in STEM?
The company doesn’t just support women in the company, but future generations of women leaders, too. We’re going into communities and showing girls who might not otherwise have the opportunity to be introduced to careers in STEM. With programs like Girls Who Code, Black Girls Code, Built By Girls, and a new competition launched this year with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, sponsored by WAVE, we’re helping girls see what’s possible. Verizon is creating an environment where it’s okay to take risks, inspire young minds to get involved with STEM, and build brighter futures.
What advice can you give to women looking to make career advancements?
Always execute your business plan and be the best you can be in your role. Finding a sponsor and a mentor and forming relationships are so important because they give you a personal board of advisors to reach out to when you have questions and concerns. This personal board of advisors is also crucial to your professional development. Banding together and showing support for one another is so important.
Also, when someone tells you ‘no,’ that doesn’t mean you have to accept that answer. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. Delivering and going beyond expectations is one of the best ways to get results. Life is too short to focus on what could happen. You need to focus on what you need to do today.