At AT&T, more than 84,200 women work to transform the way we connect with our world. These women are executives, engineers, marketers, sales people, financial professionals, installation technicians and attorneys. They are innovators. They are mentors. And they’re leaders.
We have made it a priority to support diversity in our workforce, as well as in ventures that we invest in and support with our time and talent.
As one of the women shaping AT&T’s future, I’m passionate about helping others on their entrepreneurial journey. As our director of social innovation, I have the privilege to do that every day. I lead the AT&T Aspire Accelerator program, which supports and mentors leading ed-tech startups. We invest in ed-tech start-ups and entrepreneurs because the education of our future workforce and country is one of the most important issues facing society and our business. In our most recent class, five out of the six participating organizations were founded or led by women. We had the unique opportunity to form a true sisterhood; sharing the highs and lows that come with being women working in a male-dominated industry like technology.
The obstacles these women face are the same as any other founder of a start-up, but with the added challenge of being a woman at the helm. Michelle Brown, founder and CEO of the nonprofit CommonLit, remarked that someone thought her business was “cute.” CommonLit addresses the systemic societal issue of illiteracy. Far from “cute,” right?
Liz Nell, co-founder of The Graide Network, told the story of presenting at a major industry conference only to have someone rush over to her after her panel to ask where she got her boots. I wish I could say these stories surprise me, but unfortunately they don’t.
Having the best talent at the table – both men and women – is critical to AT&T’s success and growth. That’s why we have made it a priority to support diversity in our workforce, as well as in ventures that we invest in and support with our time and talent – like the Aspire Accelerator.
I think Michelle summed it up best when she said, “I hope we can get to the point where it's no longer remarkable for a woman to be in charge of a fast-growing tech company.”
I couldn’t agree more. We need to lead the change we want to see in our industry.
I am proud AT&T is committed to helping make that vision a reality.