Make decisions now.

By: Andy Choi
Manager - Corporate Communications

AccuWeather's Dan Kottlowski and our own Alexa Velliquette share how to prepare for 2021's hurricane season and weather emergencies.

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On today’s episode of Up To Speed Live, host Andy Choi started outside in the fresh New Jersey air in preparation for today’s subject: hurricane season and our network team’s commitment to run towards a crisis. But first, host Raquel Wilson shared the following updates:

Up To Speed week in review

Tuesday: We announced The Biggest Upgrade Ever as we started offering a 5G phone with one of our best unlimited plans for both existing and new consumers and small businesses.

Wednesday: Christy was on live with Andy to answer all your Work Forward questions, including everything from the timing of hybrid waves to when food services will return in the office.

Thursday: We heard from excited V Teamers from the seven new 5G home cities, which will bring us to 40 5G home cities by June 10.

Talent GPS

Also this week, we previewed Talent GPS, which will help us attract and retain top talent by giving you the tools and resources to navigate and develop your career. Based on the response we received, it sounds like all V Teamers are excited for some career empowerment.

Another top ranking for Verizon

And now for some exciting new news: Verizon ranked 7th in Fortune’s Top 20 companies on diversity and inclusion. This ranking was based on 14 key metrics, including the percentage of minorities on the board, employees who are women, and employees with disabilities. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, we’re not just talking the talk, we’re walking the walk.

Another Verizon Foundation donation

In other good news, Chris Serico from our Communications team, and Jessica Cohen, a Manager of State Government Affairs for Verizon, made a surprise appearance on Cleveland’s NBC affiliate WKYC to reveal the Verizon Foundation’s $100,000 donation to support services and programs for an Akron, OH,-based AAPI charity, Asian Services in Action.

The donation is part of the Citizen Verizon responsible-business plan — which centers on Digital Inclusion, Climate Protection and Human Prosperity — as well as the Verizon Foundation's commitment of $5 million to organizations advancing racial equality for the AAPI community.


We have already entered the 2021 hurricane season. Andy and Raquel spoke with Senior Meteorologist and lead hurricane expert at AccuWeather, Dan Kottlowski. Dan reminded us that 2020 was the most active hurricane season on record, with 30 storms, including 14 hurricanes, 11 landfalls in the United States, and seven major hurricanes with winds of 115 miles an hour or higher. The Verizon Response Team was on the ground helping families, businesses and first responders stay connected during those emergencies.

Dan said that we’re expecting another active season this year. The forecast is for six to ten hurricanes with three to five of those being major.. “The big issue is the water temperatures are warmer than normal, which could allow hurricanes to grow larger,” said Dan.

If you live near the ocean, take heed of this statistic: Storm surge causes more deaths than anything else in a hurricane.

Some key questions that Dan recommends asking yourself as we head into heart of hurricane season:

  • Do you have an evacuation plan?
  • Where are you going?
  • What are you taking with you?
  • What do you have to do to your home or business before you leave?
  • What are you going to do with your pets or livestock?
  • What is your plan for members of your extended family who are physically or mentally disabled?

Dan recommends having a hurricane kit ready with enough water to last three to five days for the entire family. He warns that shelters often do not have enough food for everyone for multiple days, so bring food as well. And even if you’re staying with relatives, don’t forget extra clothing and medications.

“Make decisions now. Don’t wait until the storm is on the map,” warned Dan.

Accessories to help weather the storm

Andy and Raquel spoke with Solutions Specialist Alexa Velliquette of Merritt Island, FL, who shared tips on some helpful accessories that we sell in our stores that can come in handy during emergencies. These include one of many portable batteries and power packs which can help keep your devices charged when your home loses power.

“When disaster strikes there’s a lot you can’t control, so it’s important to control what you can ahead of time,” said Alexa.

VtoV Employee Relief Fund

One way to help your fellow V Teamers impacted by hurricanes is to donate to our VtoV Employee Relief Fund. This important charity provides aid for Verizon employees displaced from their homes due to a natural or personal emergency. While we hope you never need it, the money you donate today could one day help your own family or your close V Team friends at a time when help is needed.

Monday’s 5G Quiz

And make sure you brush up on your 5G info. On Monday’s Up To Speed at 12 PM ET, we’ve got a 5G 101 quiz that’ll put your knowledge to the test and hopefully teach you something new. And you know when it’s quiz time, there are prizes involved. So join us Monday.

Welcome to Manon

A big welcome to the V Team goes out to new Consumer Group Chief Operating Officer and Deputy CEO Manon Brouillette. She’ll be driving Verizon’s market leadership in connected 5G experiences, while continuing to transform VCG into a fully integrated technology company. Manon was most recently President and CEO of Videotron, a Canadian telecommunications company that provides home broadband, pay television and wireless communications.

Named one of Canada’s 100 most powerful women, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our company. Manon, on behalf of all of us, welcome to the V Team!

Happy birthday

We’re wishing our very good friend Matt Fiedler a happy birthday today. You’ve definitely seen Matt in some of our most hilarious Up To Speed episodes, but what you may not know is Matt’s incredible talents as video editor. Just about every piece of video you see on Up To Speed, he is behind the scenes making sure the images you see on this show are picture-perfect.

A very wet sign-off

Speaking of bad weather, our sign-off came from Network Real Estate team member Tyler Dunn in Raleigh, NC, who did a great job staying positive during a storm. Thanks, Tyler!

If you have any questions, email them to

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

Get the latest information on our Coronavirus Resource Page (Inside Verizon, The Street).

Tell us what you think of Up To Speed.

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