NEW YORK - When consumers talk, Verizon Communications listens.
Verizon announced today the formation of the Verizon National Consumer Advisory Board, a diverse group of individuals who will regularly advise corporate leaders on various business decisions and issues. The new national communications company, formed by merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is making sure that consumers have a voice in decisions that affect them.
The 23 members of the new board represent a broad array of organizations and causes. They include members of public interest and ethnic groups, advocates for people with disabilities, consumer activists, the gay and lesbian community, educators and academics, rural economic development concerns and others.
"Listening directly to customers is vital to our success, and that goes well beyond market research," said Tom Tauke, Verizon senior vice president of public policy and external affairs and co-chair of the new advisory board. "We plan to consult this team on a broad variety of business practices, policies, plans, new product ideas and other concerns.
"We believe the decisions resulting from this process will better serve the needs of all our customers and directly benefit the communities in which we live and serve," Tauke said.
Formation of the new council builds on the success Bell Atlantic had with a similar consumer panel. That group helped design the company's first-ever long-distance product in New York and was instrumental in designing what is now recognized as one of the best privacy policies of any company in the communications industry.
"We expect the new Verizon consumer panel to continue what Bell Atlantic and its advisory group started with the goal of being responsive to consumers," said new advisory council co-chairperson Linda F. Golodner, president of the National Consumer League and former chairperson of the Bell Atlantic panel. "With the panel's access to senior management, we expect to have a real impact on important decisions affecting consumers."
The Verizon Consumer Advisory Board will meet quarterly with senior leaders of the company to review and discuss a wide range of issues, and make recommendations.
Members of the new panel include:
- Dorothy H. Avallone - director of consumer affairs for Monmouth County, N.J.
- Judy Brewer - director of the International Program Office of the Web Accessibility Project, for the World Wide Web Consortium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Guarione M. Diaz -- president and executive director of the Cuban American National Council.
- Christopher D'Elia - executive director of the Vermont Economic Progress Council.
- Enrique "Rick" Dovalina - national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).
- Dorothy M. Garrick - arbitrator for the Southeast Region of Ford Motor Company's Dispute Resolution Board, and a Certified Community Mediator.
- Robert L. Gill, Sr. - director of the Office of Consumer Affairs for Norfolk, Va.
- Linda F. Golodner - president of the National Consumers League.
- Viola Gonzales - executive director of the Latino Issues Forum in San Francisco.
- Barbara Gregg - principal in Consumer Connections firm and board member of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., and Consumer Interest Research Institute.
- Nancy Z. Henkin - executive director of the Center for Intergenerational Learning at Temple University.
- Eileen Hemphill - former director of public relations and marketing for Call For Action, Inc.
- Deborah Kaplan - executive director of the World Institute on Disability.
- Karen Kelly - network leader (N.H.), Business for Social Responsibility.
- Grant Lukenbill - national gay and lesbian consumer relations consultant.
- Cleo P. Mathews - president of West Virginia Board of Education.
- Assunta Ng - founder of Seattle Chinese Post and Northwest Asian Weekly.
- Dr. Harry P. Pachon - president of Tomas Rivera Center.
- Wesley Tewan Park - retiring president and chief executive officer of Hawaii Dental Service and past vice president of administration of the East-West Center at the University
- Raymond H. Poulin, Jr. - former deputy commissioner of education of Maine.
- J. Clay Smith, Jr. - professor of law at Howard University.
- Dennis Walcott - president and CEO of the New York Urban League.
- Lora H. Weber - president and CEO of the Consumers Alliance of America-Southeast.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with more than 100 million access line equivalents and more than 26 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.