Verizon is Top-Ranked Company for Hispanic Women

NEW YORK - Verizon is the best company for Hispanic women to work for in the United States, according to LATINA Style. Verizon was ranked first in the LATINA Style 50, the magazine's annual listing of top companies for Latinas and, as a result, was also named as the 2003 "Company of the Year." Complete survey results appear in LATINA Style's August issue.

LATINA Style said it used tough criteria to determine the top 50, evaluating over 600 U.S. corporations and their commitment to helping Latinas succeed. The magazine examined issues readers identified as most important, including the number of Latina executives, mentoring and career development programs, as well as educational opportunities, healthcare benefits, childcare support, flextime and Hispanic relations. Verizon's diversity track record and commitment to recruit, retain and promote Hispanic women at every level earned the company the magazine's top ranking.

"Verizon sets the bar for the other LATINA Style 50 companies," said publication President and CEO Robert Bard. "The company has increased the percentage of Hispanic women at the executive level and excelled in nearly every category."

Minority employees, including 5,000 Hispanic women, represent nearly 30 percent of Verizon's work force and hold 16 percent of top management positions.

Three of Verizon's high-level Latinas oversee programs that support the company's commitment to excellence and integrity. Cristina Lambert, vice president and general manager for Puerto Rico Telephone, a Verizon affiliate, leads 2,600 employees serving 1.3 million customers. Alina Mateo, vice president-finance compliance and internal controls, ensures that Verizon meets the highest financial and accounting standards. Jeanmarie Milla, vice president-sales operation support, heads a team responsible for top-quality product and service delivery.

"This honor confirms that Verizon is a great place for Latinas to work," said Oscar C. Gomez, Verizon vice president-Office of Diversity and Business Compliance, who oversees diversity, work life, ethics and equal employment opportunity programs. "Our commitment to diversity - which reflects the customers we serve - makes us a stronger company, and we believe we can be even better."

The company prepares minorities and women for career advancement through formal mentoring and leadership development programs like the Development and Leadership Initiative, a two-year program that helps participants fine-tune professional goals and network with Verizon executives. The Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) named the Development and Leadership Initiative a "Corporate Best Practice for 2002," calling it a successful strategy for improving the representation of Hispanics in the work force. Since the program's 2001 launch, promotions among Hispanic managers have increased 28 percent.

Verizon's 11 employee resource groups, including the Hispanic Support Organization, promote personal and professional growth for employees with common interests and assist with strategic business goals such as employee development, diversity awareness and recruitment.

LATINA Style also praised Verizon's family-friendly benefits, which help distinguish the company as a great place to work. Verizon provides healthcare benefits and dental and vision care for employees and their families. Verizon employees receive a fully paid pension and can participate in the company's 401(k) plan. Verizon also provides childcare leave, adoption assistance, flexible work options and up to five weeks paid vacation.

Verizon Communications

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.