Up, up and away.

From helping families in need to Cloud partnerships to tracking a guy in a red suit, it's a Friday news rundown that will elevate your spirits.

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Happy Friday! On today’s holiday-themed Up To Speed Live, host Diana Alvear shared the following updates.

Week in review

If you were extra busy this week, go back and catch these following episodes:

Tuesday: We heard from V teamers on some of their favorite holiday traditions. It was so nice hearing how you celebrate!

Wednesday: Hans and Sam were with us live to share Work Forward updates.

Thursday: The Verizon coaches gave us their best tips for staying safe, healthy and maintaining your zen during the holidays.

Tornado relief offer extended

For our consumers and qualifying small business customers impacted by tornadoes in parts of Kentucky and Illinois, Verizon is extending its unlimited calling, texting and data offer for those who reside in the following communities through Monday, December 20:

Kentucky: The cities of Owensboro and Bowling Green, as well as the following counties: Breckinridge, Caldwell, Graves, Hopkins, Lyon, Marshall, and Ohio County.

Illinois: The hardest hit parts of Edwardsville

To find out if your zip code is included, visit https://www.verizon.com/featured/relief/.

Our big move… up the rankings

Whenever there is a ranking of great companies and we move up a couple spots over the previous year, it’s worth a round of applause. But how should we celebrate when we move up a whopping 33 spots? We’ll have to figure that out because the Drucker Institute recently ranked us 36th in the category of America’s best managed companies. That’s up from 69th in just one year! Drucker scores companies based on the following factors: customer satisfaction, employee engagement and development, innovation, social responsibility and financial strength. So let’s all pat ourselves on the back for a well-deserved win.

Bringing MEC to the Google Cloud

This week, we announced we're partnering with Google to bring 5G mobile edge computing to customers. We'll be rolling out both public and private MEC with Google, and Ericsson will be the first company to pilot our private 5G Edge solution with Google at their 5G Smart Factory. With the addition of Google, we're now offering 5G mobile edge computing with all of the major cloud providers, including AWS and Microsoft. Even more impressive: That makes us the only U.S. telecom provider to do so.

Verizon Partner Network

Verizon Business Channel Chief Wendy Taccetta has been making the rounds promoting the newly rebranded partner channel, now called the Verizon Partner Network. The Network site demonstrates how Verizon offers a simple, streamlined experience to help partners move the needle when it comes to growth and serving customers.

The Verizon Partner Network features a new podcast, an inclusive audio and visual series that will bring Verizon’s thought leadership to the channel community. Upcoming episodes feature 5G, cyber security, and solution selling. Congratulations Wendy and the Partner Network team.

A social challenge indeed

Do you like leaving some decisions to fate? Then you might enjoy a “pen challenge.” It’s a viral trend on TikTok and Instagram in which you give yourself an assignment while attempting to toss a pen into a cup. If you make it, you have to do your assignment. Check out Retail Specialist Lovenia Mack's clever and smile-worthy take on the challenge. And Lovenia, thanks for sharing!

A very good deed

Speaking of smiles, some of our Verizon Business Group (VBG) friends worked with the mayor of Wilson, Pennsylvania, the school system and police department to provide gifts for 60 families. V teamers from across all VBG worked together to buy more than 200 gifts, which were wrapped, organized and hand-delivered to the families’ homes. This is the third year in a row they’ve done such a wonderful deed. Shout out to Raul Echevarria, Mark Tina, Dawn McNellis, and Patricia Minns and their respective teams for creating a happy holiday for dozens of families!

Tracking a very jolly aircraft

Don’t forget to keep an eye on a red-clad pilot and his sleigh this year with some help from NORAD and Verizon. For 19 years, the North American Aerospace Defense Command has operated a toll-free hotline for kids to watch Santa and his reindeer circle the globe. This year, Verizon has added more than 14,000 new enhancements to allow NORAD volunteers to take more calls from good boys and girls more quickly, including: 5G cell sites using mmWave, adding virtualization throughout the network, and deploying lots more fiber, while using artificial intelligence throughout the network.

You can read more about how our Verizon elves help with the NORAD Santa hotline.

If you have any questions, email them to live@verizon.com.

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

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