08.05.2016People

What's it like to be a woman in tech at Verizon?

A Q&A with Alissa Van Volkom, VP of Consumer Products.
Alissa Van Volkom

Alissa Van Volkom has been with Verizon for 12 years, and is now Vice President of Go-to-Market Operations and Consumer Project Management in Verizon’s Product & New Business (PNB) team. In her role, Alissa is responsible for delivering new consumer products to market. We spoke with Alissa about why Verizon is a uniquely appealing workplace for women in tech.

"Having better solutions comes directly from having diverse people and ideas at the table."

What does your job involve?

I work closely with the commercial & technology teams in order to bring a product to market.  My team is responsible for the project management & go-to-market execution for products in both the FiOS and wireless portfolio as well new business models like Freebie & go90. That means we make sure products are delivered on time with a quality customer experience. Also within that function the team is responsible for developing & managing processes that efficiently bring products to market – from ideation to execution. 

What are some of the products you've worked on recently?

Because my team manages project management & go-to-market, we get to have visibility to a pretty large portfolio of products. So we work on lots of stuff – the latest FiOS enhancement, bringing video calling to our VZ Messaging app, and launching new content on go90 like the Runner. That’s just a few examples of products the team will be rolling out shortly.

What's your favorite part of your job?

Creative problem solving. Trying to figure out how can we make a product better, or get over a particular obstacle or get a product to market faster. And I think the best part of the job is that it involves both the ideation stage—coming up with new products to solve the problems that are out there—and testing those products and actually delivering them to market. Previously, I had only been able to do one or the other, and it’s a great combination to get to be part of both of those moments.

"There are so many opportunities and so many things to learn while you're here, and you can broaden what you're interested in and go after it."

What's it like being a woman in tech at Verizon?

Diversity of thought is important to Verizon. This means that delivering better products, and having better solutions, comes directly from having diverse people and ideas at the table. So it’s great that I have a seat at the table for that and I’m able to contribute my point of view that may be different than others at the table.

Why is Verizon a good place to work for women in tech?

There are so many opportunities and so many things to learn while you're here, and you can broaden what you're interested in and go after it. I've been working here for twelve years, and people ask me "Did you plan to have such a long career at Verizon?" and the answer is, every time I got to the point where I'd learned what I'd wanted to learn, there was always something new to do and someplace else [within the company] to go and explore. I've had people tap me on the shoulder and say "Hey, I have this great opportunity," and I've wound up taking on roles I wouldn't have thought of going after otherwise.

What's some of the best career advice you've ever gotten?

Once you get to a certain point, everyone you work with is smart and good at their job, so what can push you over the top is your ability to build relationships, collaborate with your peers and clearly articulate the ideas you’re trying to pitch. It's not enough just to be really smart, you have to get people to buy into what you want to do, and get them so excited about it that they want to do it as much as you do.