ESSENCE Magazine Names Verizon as One of Top Companies for African-American Women

NEW YORK - ESSENCE has named Verizon to the No. 2 spot on the magazine's list of 35 Great Places to Work for African-American women. Verizon was cited for its diversity track record; its commitment to recruit, retain and advance African-American women at all levels; and its commitment to the community. Complete survey results appear in ESSENCE's 35th anniversary May issue.

"This honor confirms that we're creating an inclusive environment where the talents of all Verizon employees are maximized," said Magda Yrizarry, vice president - workplace culture, diversity and compliance. "Our diverse work force gives us a competitive edge, which enhances the bottom line through excellent customer service, commitment to corporate social responsibility and innovative products and services for our customers."

To compile its list, ESSENCE compared companies in several areas including diversity, work and life balance, career advancement opportunities, community involvement and philanthropy.

Women and minorities make up 43 and 30 percent of the company's work force, respectively, and women hold 32 percent of top management positions. African-American women account for more than 10 percent of that leadership, including the senior vice president of brand management and marketing communications, and oversee many of the company's most important technology initiatives.

Verizon offers women opportunities to grow and advance through and into management positions. The company prepares women and minorities for career advancement through formal mentoring and leadership development programs like the Black Managers Workshop and the Verizon Development and Leadership Initiative, a two-year program that helps participants fine-tune professional goals and network with Verizon executives.

Verizon has 10 employee resource groups, including the Consortium of Information and Telecommunications Executives, an organization primarily made up of African-American employees, and the Women's Association of Verizon Employees. The groups promote personal and professional growth for employees with common interests and assist with strategic business goals such as employee development, diversity awareness and recruitment, and volunteerism in the community. More than 12,000 resource group members in chapters around the country participate in a variety of activities and events that help enrich their communities.

In 2004, the Verizon Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, made grants of $34 million -- about half of its $70 million budget -- to organizations serving diverse communities. Working with nonprofits around the country, the foundation provided grants to help improve literacy, computer and technology skills, and identify domestic violence solutions. Since 2000, the foundation has invested more than $58 million to support the African-American community.

Verizon Communications Inc.

With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 210,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom serves customers based in 29 states with wireline telecommunications services, including broadband and other services. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 43.8 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.