Bell Atlantic Chairman Ivan Seidenberg
Receives Mickey Leland Award for
"Excellence in Diversity"
April 23, 1999
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Mickey Leland Award for
"Excellence in Diversity" was given last night to Ivan
Seidenberg, Bell Atlantic chairman and chief executive officer, by the
National Association of Black Telecommunications Professionals
(NABTP). The award was presented at a ceremony held during the
NABTP Eighth Annual Convention in Washington, DC.
"In words and deeds, Ivan Seidenberg has demonstrated both Bell
Atlantic's corporate and his personal commitment to the African-
American, Hispanic and the other minority groups that define the cities
and towns served by Bell Atlantic," said Monica Huddleston,
president of the NABTP.
During the awards ceremony Ms. Huddleston cited a number of Bell
Atlantic commitments and actions that promote diversity, including:
- Bell Atlantic's pledge last year to the U.S. Small Business
Administration to increase corporate purchasing and sub-contracting from
minority-run businesses to the tune of $1 billion by the year 2000.
- Bell Atlantic's pledge in January to have minority investment firms
manage $50 million of Bell Atlantic pension fund assets.
- Mr. Seidenberg's direction of more than 80 percent of the Bell Atlantic
Foundation's $33 million annual budget to assist schools, libraries and
other community-based organizations that benefit minorities.
- Mr. Seidenberg's strong assurance to Bell Atlantic employees that
minorities will be well represented throughout the ranks of the company
when Bell Atlantic and GTE merge. Ms. Huddleston noted that currently
more than one quarter of Bell Atlantic employees is composed of
minorities, with many serving as directors and in even higher positions.
The NABTP's Excellence in Diversity award is named after the late
Congressman Mickey Leland (D-Texas), who was a strong supporter of
diversity in telecommunications. Leland believed that information
highways, like the Freedom Riders of the 1960s, would help transform
Black America and usher in equality and economic empowerment.
Leland also was one of the first advisors to the founders of the NABTP, a
non-profit organization. The National Association of Black
Telecommunications Professionals is comprised of a powerful network of
professionals with diverse backgrounds in the telecommunications
industry, including small business owners and students. The Association
seeks to fulfill Leland's belief in telecommunications by educating and
informing its members, the industry and the public on matters pertaining
to the use of telecommunications to enhance career development and spur
Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of
the new communications and information industry. With more than 42
million telephone access lines and 8.6 million wireless customers
worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced
wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and
the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic
companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth
global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23