Career lessons and STEM insights from Nicki Palmer
“A diversity of ideas, backgrounds and genders is vital to any organization’s success.”
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Verizon Senior Vice President of Technology and Product Development Nicola (Nicki) Palmer is a STEM powerhouse. Tracing her interest in math and science back to high school, she credits her father, also an engineer, for setting an example. Still, she acknowledges, “Both my parents encouraged me to turn my interests in math and science into a career in engineering. Not every young girl gets breaks like that.”
For Nicki, this early encouragement informed her career path, and in 1990, she joined what would become Verizon. She shares, “I’ve used my STEM skills to be a part of line operations, design large customer networks, help build our world-class Fios service, usher in the industry-leading 4G LTE wireless network – and now we’re pioneering 5G technology. I’ve had the privilege of leading our wireless network organization since 2013. Each year, each job and each project has been challenging, satisfying and most importantly, meaningful. Where we go next is only limited by our imaginations.”
A staunch supporter of women in business, Nicki frequently comments on getting girls and women more involved in STEM, offering practical advice on everything from mentorship to work-life balance. In taking on possibilities that engineering and technology offer, Nicki emphasizes that women should, “Muster-up as much courage as you possibly can and don’t be afraid to lead, even if you are in a room full of men. Your mind is just as sharp, your insights are just as valuable. Don’t squander your unique talents. Fear is the enemy here. Success breeds success and failure enables learning. Being fearful, doing nothing, not speaking up and leading when you are in the position to do so – that gets you nowhere.”
In addition to her current role, Nicki lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. She is at the forefront of technology and encourages other women to join her on this path. Already hard at work introducing the future of residential broadband service, Nicki says, “We believe you can either sit back and wait for the future to unfold, or you can build the future now.”
And that’s exactly what we’re doing, right now with 5G, which Nicki shares is “absolutely transformative - and we’re really just at the beginning.”