My Why: A Look Back

By: Chris Serico

As the weekly edition of My Why comes to an end, we revisit inspiring journeys of V Teamers worldwide.

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Kicking off this past June to celebrate Verizon’s 20th anniversary, our My Why series has highlighted the Verizon journeys of dynamic and diverse V Teamers from around the world. While the weekly version of this series has come to an end — appropriately enough, No. 20 overall — let’s take a look back at some of these incredible people and inspiring stories.

Empowering diversity and inclusion

Whether it’s Kisiah Timmons’ dedication to creating a more accessible world for people with disabilities; Xavier White’s LGBTQA+ advocacy and amplification; or Belinda Harris’ commitment to the Women's Association of Verizon Employees, V Teamers don’t just reflect Verizon’s dedication to diversity, they bolster inclusion and empower opportunity.

Just ask Shalana Robbins, Salt Lake City’s first woman director in Business Government Customer Operations, as well as the first regional woman of color to hold that position: “I get to be that example to women, especially, and women of color. You can achieve anything that you set your mind to, if you have the right kind of advocates and you put the work in. Very proud of that accomplishment.”

Running to a crisis

As the Verizon Credo states, “We run to a crisis.” After Hurricane Michael devastated Florida communities, Jhonathan Montenegro led 150 V Teamers in regional recovery efforts. During and after 9/11, Nigel Leu-wai-see helped Verizon rush to support New York City’s restoration. Among more than 10,000 military veterans on the V Team, Esaias Edwards served three tours of duty with the U.S. Army’s 160th M.P. Battalion in Afghanistan.

And engineer Thomas Stobaugh called upon Verizon’s powerful network to save some stranded hikers when his Search and Rescue Team’s radios faltered. “From the search-and-rescue teams and first-responder standpoint,” he noted, “Verizon can, and does, save lives.”

Inspiring brighter futures

And our V Teamers continue to inspire. Consider the Herculean volunteering efforts of Caroline Ancheta, Zara Hore, Imelda Luquin and Linh Beugelsdyk; or the educational initiatives of Phil Puthumana and Aleena Taufiq, both of whom continue to foster the futures of young people in tech.

We also were blown away by V Teamers’ personal achievements: Jeff Arnold’s journey of losing more than 200 pounds was inspired by the Credo, and continued with bariatric surgery supplemented through Verizon’s benefits plan. “I really kind of used the Credo: ‘[My] best was good for today. Tomorrow, [I’ll] do better.’ Night and day difference, how I feel. It really changed my life.”

Why work for Verizon?

We could go on and on about why V Teamers love working at Verizon, but why do that, when they can speak for themselves?

  • Aleena Taufiq: “Verizon is a crazy cool company.”
  • Esaias Edwards: “I just like how everything meshes into one big family.”
  • Amanda Kegley: “I could not be more proud of this organization and to represent them every day.”
  • Phil Puthumana: “If you’re looking for a place that you can make an impact, and use your creative talents to change the world, Verizon is definitely the place for you.”
  • Xavier White: “That's the kind of company that I want to work for.”
  • Caroline Ancheta: “You really want to be here. This is the place to be.”

From the entertainment of Corey Czmiel’s card tricks and Vanessa Houston’s “Made Up Morning Show” to Pepsi LaMar’s infectious enthusiasm for all things Verizon, it’s been an honor to illustrate what makes a V Teamer a V Teamer.

While this retrospective marks the end of the weekly edition of the series, stay tuned for future My Why episodes that will continue to celebrate the Verizon journeys of other incredible V Teamers.

What is My Why?

To celebrate Verizon’s 20th anniversary, we’re highlighting the Verizon journeys, accomplishments, passions and goals of 20 dynamic and diverse V Teamers.

Previous episodes:

- Caroline Ancheta
- Belinda Harris
- Corey Czmiel
- Soyirindhi Hore
- Vanessa Houston
- Pepsi LaMar
- Amanda Kegley
- Imelda Luquin
- Aleena Taufiq
- Nigel Leu-wai-see
- Jhonathan Montenegro
- Kisiah Timmons
- Linh Beugelsdyk
- Xavier White
- Thomas Stobaugh
- Jeff Arnold
- Phil Puthumana
- Shalana Robbins
- Esaias Edwards

About the author(s):

Chris is a member of the Verizon Public Relations team and a contributor to Up To Speed. When he's not singing a cappella or quoting vintage episodes of "The Simpsons," please give him all your burgers.

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