'A moment that will define us.'

By: Raquel Wilson
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications

The story of V teamer Sasha Shekhter as he heads to Ukraine to help his homeland. Plus, a full news rundown.

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Happy Friday! On today’s final Up To Speed of the week, host Raquel Wilson shared the following updates:

Up To Speed weekly recap

McKenzie Delis Report & DEI panel

Magda Yrizarry, SVP and Chief Diversity Officer, and Nicki Palmer, SVP and Technology Ambassador, joined the McKenzie Delis Review’s US Launch event Tuesday. The McKenzie Delis Review is a first-of-its-kind research report, offering a comprehensive and nationwide analysis of 10 components of workplace diversity.

“Diversity is so crucial today, because we can’t let the Fourth Industrial Revolution happen without having the whole population take part in its development,“ Nicki said. “The homogeneity of the tech industry is not just superficial; it’s arguable that it's the root cause of a lot of the larger problems that plague tech.” As an example, she cited design flaws in products, including virtual-reality headsets, developed by men, that have made women feel nauseous. “As an industry, we need to embrace diversity – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s good business.”

“When we think about V’s purpose, we exist to move the world forward, and we want to do that for all four of our stakeholders,” Magda said. “In order to do that, we need to stay curious and always be innovating. This research helps us do that.”

Paley Center DEI panel

Meanwhile, at the Verizon 5G Lab in New York City, Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin participated in a Paley Center discussion on societal challenges relating to diversity, equity and inclusion. Tami urged everyone to take the time to read the McKenzie Delis report: “We need to be grounded in the facts, then we can be clear on actions that yield measurable results. We have to bring out the best of who we are, and that starts by knowing the facts.”

Fios Forward milestone

We're doing our part to move the world forward and committed to help bridge the digital divide by making high-quality connectivity more affordable for customers in need. That’s why we’re participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps low-income households access internet and mobile service.

For the first time, Verizon is offering free internet with its Fios Forward program to qualifying ACP customers. Through Fios Forward, qualifying customers also can snag a free Verizon router, with no hidden fees or setup charges.

Winning with Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Verizon Public Sector three Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions task order awards, worth $966.5 million. Verizon will provide network modernization services and technical support services to the Pentagon, the DOD National Capital Region and Fort Belvoir. Congrats, team!

BlueJeans Telehealth

Verizon Business also announced that BlueJeans Telehealth, a HIPAA-ready and intuitive virtual care platform, is now available through Kajeet to address increasing customer demand for connected health solutions to improve the patient-provider relationship. It’s wonderful to see how we continue to find new ways to serve our customers better.

Extreme network

We’ve already seen several extreme weather events this year, and we want you to know Verizon remains prepared, no matter the crisis. Our extreme network is built to withstand prolonged power outages, with nearly 80 percent of macro cell sites and switch facilities equipped with generator back-up, and 100 percent equipped with battery back-up.

But that’s not all: We’ve invested in maintaining landscapes surrounding our facilities in wildfire-prone areas; a sub-zero switch to combat frigid, icy environments; super switches that can withstand hurricanes; a 20,000 square-foot underground cave to store mobile assets in tornado territory; and other next-level measures to prep for all kinds of natural disasters. Click here to check out more of the ways our network goes extreme to keep you connected.

Ukraine Calling Extension

Verizon is expanding its relief offer through March 24 to keep customers connected to friends and loved ones in Ukraine and surrounding areas. As a reminder, Verizon is waiving international calling, texting and in-country data charges for consumer and business wireless customers to and from Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. Residential landline customers will see waived international charges to those countries as well. Customers do not have to take any action to take advantage of these offers.

To help, you can continue to text to donate to the International Rescue Committee, Salvation Army and UNICEF. Your donation can be matched with our existing matching program. You can also find Ukraine-related volunteer opportunities through the Citizen Verizon Volunteer Portal.

Employee profile: Sasha Shekhter

With Ukraine in mind, we’re sharing the powerful story of V Teamer and Ukraine native Sasha Shekhter, a Managing Associate for General Counsel who arrived in America as a refugee.

Sasha has anxiously watched the news as he still has family living in Ukraine. “Sitting idly on the side here in comfort would have been an easy choice,” Sasha said. “But that’s not a choice that I could make. I felt like this was a time to do something.”

Sasha decided to help the people of Ukraine first-hand. He and his wife, friends and Verizon colleagues collected money, food and other necessities, including toiletries and baby formula. Sasha recently flew to Europe, where he will deliver the donations to the Ukrainian border.

Proud to work for a company like Verizon, Sasha notes that, in addition to the relief provided through our Ukrainian talk-and-text offer, Verizon will match dollar-for-dollar donations to qualifying organizations that help Ukrainians in need.

We thank Sasha for his heroism, generosity and inspirational story.

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

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

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About the author:

Raquel Wilson is a former adfellow who now enjoys keeping the V Team up to date on all things Verizon as a host of Up To Speed. You can always rely on her to have a good book recommendation and a latte she probably paid way too much for.

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