It's not where you start.

What our women leaders would tell their younger selves and why Dress for Success needs your help.

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Today’s special edition of Up To Speed was dedicated to women’s history. Co-hosts Diana Alvear and Krista Bourne welcomed Verizon Leadership Committee members Tami Erwin, Christy Pambianchi and Rima Qureshi, as well as Dress For Success CEO Joi Gordon.

The four V Team leaders shared lessons learned along their journey to success and why, now more than ever, women’s leadership matters at Verizon.

Tami, Verizon Business Group CEO, shared her first job as a customer service representative as part of a mobile phone company before Verizon existed. She stressed how proud she is that Verizon has so many female leaders, including at the board level. Her career advice to women:

  • Face fear head on.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Never give up.
  • Put your own oxygen mask on first (practice self-care), then take care of others.

Christy’s photo from the year 2000 was at a time when she had just had her son and accepted a role as head of Human Resources for a branch of Corning. In college, she studied the role of work in everyone’s lives and how it can create access to opportunities, which led her to the world of human resources. Thirty years later, she is Verizon’s CHRO and still has a passion for helping people find positions that match their talents and passions.

Christy’s advice for women looking to advance in their careers:

  • Know what you want.
  • Be self-aware.
  • Build a support network.

Rima was a programmer and IT consultant when she chose to join the telecom industry. Back then, mobile phones were enormous bricks people carried around with them. Even so, it felt amazing to Rima to be able to talk wirelessly with someone on the other side of the world so she took a position with Ericsson. She chose her photo because at the moment it was taken her one-year-old daughter was just out of frame. To Rima, the photo symbolizes the challenge for women of having to take care of work during the day and then come home and take care of her kids at night.

Now Verizon’s Chief Strategy Officer, Rima believes in the importance of mentorship. She was assigned a mentor early in her career at Ericsson. The mentor was not at the company and Rima never met her in person. When Rima complained of something that didn’t seem fair to her, her mentor said essentially “deal with it” and pushed her to move forward. Today, Rima is thankful for that “no nonsense” advice. That’s why she not only mentors others but continues to have a mentor even today.

Krista, President of Consumer Sales & Operations, emphasizes that whatever career route you choose to take as a woman, the key is to take action. She added: “Always know the ‘why’ to your what. If you are clear on your purpose, it makes the work that much easier.”

Dress For Success

Krista introduced Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success, a global non-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Joi talked about the launch of the “Your Hour, Her Power” campaign, which is about recognizing women who are breaking glass ceilings and making history today. “Think about the women who are at home not working right now and how they have been pulled out of the workplace to take care of our kids and our parents,” said Joi. “We’re not asking for large gifts. Donate one hour of your pay to help another woman on her way.”

You can also make the difference in another woman’s life and volunteer through Dress for Success via the Volunteer Portal. Verizon will also match dollar for dollar any employee donation to Dress for Success, up to $1,000 each year.

Featured leader: Christy Pambianchi

This article features women leaders who are continuing to make history today and paving the way for others to follow. Great to see that our own Christy makes the list!

WAVE events this month

WAVE will be having lots of great events to highlight Women’s History Month. Highlights include:

  • A watch party featuring some amazing MAKERS content, tomorrow, March 2
  • An “Elevate Your Voice” event featuring the first woman conductor at the Oscars on March 11
  • “Men as Allies,” a conversation featuring executive leaders and their work on allyship on March 30

Check out the WAVE community on the web and the volunteer portal for volunteer opportunities throughout the month.

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).

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