WWLF News and Annoucements

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  • 04 Jul 2022 10:29 PM | Anonymous

    Debra Mercier, Comcast Business Sales Executive WWLF Co- Executive Director of Programs

    In an industry that is focused primarily on customer-driven satisfaction, creating the perfect customer experience is so much more than giving the customer what they want. It is about creating strong, lasting relationships. It’s about knowledge of the industry itself and providing real-time support. It’s about knowing their needs before they do and understanding future requirements that will assist in their growth as well as ours.

                I have always said, ‘love what you do, and it will show.’ This is another component of the great customer experience. The customer should be able to rely, not just on the quality of the work but the integrity of the team. Trust is a key factor as well. I suppose you could say that the telecom industry is much like a balancing act. On one hand, we have quality and needs. While on the other hand, we have speed and reliability. So many factors go into creating a great customer experience. For me, integrity and credibility are at the top. The customer has chosen you, now go out and give them the best experience they have ever had. Tell them what you are going to do, then go do it.

                After 20 years in the telecom industry, I’m not quite sure how to put my journey into words. Let’s just say, ‘be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.’ Ironically, I didn’t actively look for a position within the industry. However, the industry found me. Like many others my age, I put my career in the hands of employment agencies; starting first with a growing cable television company. This was a time before cell phones became as popular as they are today. I was then, as I continue to be, a very forward-thinking person. I knew what I wanted, and I simply went for it; headfirst.

                As I stated previously, I didn’t find telecom, it found me. Paging was where I really dug my heels in and grew as a salesperson. Surprisingly, successes came easily, and naturally. I was intrigued by how quickly the products and services evolved and all the training. I thrived on interpersonal connections, and, like a sponge, I gained as much knowledge as I could. Frankly, there was so much to learn. The different businesses and products were vast, and I took it all in. I wanted to know everything about the telecom industry.

                I feel a sense of enormous pride when I think about all I have accomplished. As the industry has grown, I too have grown with it. Unfortunately, growth isn’t always enough. Lately, we have had to take on a larger amount of adaptability. Within the last two years, the world around us has changed, and we have found that we must change with it and adapt to the diverse needs of our customers. It has taken me 25 years to get where I am today. A lot of hard work and sacrifice; long hours full of success and failure. My failures are small, but I value them just as I do my successes. It is easy for a person to be judged upon by their successes. However, it takes a real winner to accept the judgments of their mistakes, for it is not how many times we win but how we accept defeat and gain strength from it.

                The future of the telecom industry is unknown. Much like gazing into a crystal ball. There are so many advances on the horizon in the telecom industry. However, technology is rapidly changing. Even as we speak, new devices are being developed, networks are being built and new companies are entering the industry. The industry is changing so we must change with it. What I see more and more is the convergence of solutions and Telecom as a Service, this will allow all buildings and users to get what they need when they need it, and fully managed solutions. We need new, free-thinking individuals that are not afraid to get their hands dirty; men and women that have the ability to think out of the box. Scratch that, throw away the box and dive in -  the world is our oyster. 

                My advice to those seeking a career in the industry is to first find a mentor. This will guide you along in your journey. Always keep networking; in sales it is the key to your success. You never know who you’re talking to and how that person can support you someday. Never stop learning, always want more, and become active in your community.

                Eight years ago, I was introduced to WWLF, and the access to so many people, education, and companies, WWLF gave me the support platform to help launch my career to the next level. I became a member, a mentor, and in the last 3 years on the Leadership board. The knowledge I have gained from this organization is priceless. I am currently excited and ready to run for President in the upcoming election later this year, these opportunities are open and ready for you to go for it. I am a strong believer in what WWLF stands for. The organization’s passion for advocating for strong, career-minded women is one I wholeheartedly share. I work hard to support the success of our industry for our customers and for those of us that strive for professional and personal success.

  • 04 Jul 2022 10:21 PM | Anonymous

    Stella Bezabeh, Verizon, Sr Engr Spec-Ntwk Reg/RE - Venue/IB/DAS Solutions Southern California Network

    How long have you been a Rep for WWLF and what is your territory/region?
    I have been with WWLF since 2012, I started as a City Rep and am now National Director of West Events

    Why did you join WWLF?
    I joined WWLF to learn about the many facets of the industry and network with others in different parts of the nation. A lot of my WWLF family have become very close to me and considered my work family.

    How has being a part of WWLF impacted you personally or professionally?
    WWLF has personally impacted my life by giving me confidence and resources on how to become a better leader. Professionally WWLF has strengthened my communication skills and allowed me to build a diverse network.

    Where did you get your start in the industry? What is your current role?
    I got started in the industry in 2004 working on the Nextel project as a permit expeditor. John Koos saw potential in me and gave me the opportunity since I had never worked in wireless. I currently work in Real Estate managing In Building and large Venues in the SoCal market for Verizon.

    What is your favorite Quote?
    Have courage and be kind. You have more kindness in your little finger than most people possess in their whole body. And it has power. More than you know —Brittany Candau

    What do you like to do outside of work?
    Outside of work I am quite active. I play competitive tennis, box, and take HIIT Classes. Outside of those activities, I have a large family and a great group of friends with whom I manage my time around.

    If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
    Mahatma Gandhi. I love everything he is about and how he leads in action. He doesn't need to say anything for people to listen.

    How would you describe yourself in three words?
    Genuine, Loyal & Adventurous

  • 04 Jul 2022 10:15 PM | Anonymous

    “We have a big problem in this industry, in this country and in the world,” said Carrie Charles, chief executive officer of telecom staffing firm Broadstaff, opening a panel focused on the wireless workforce at Connect (X) in Denver. “This is one of the most complicated times in the history of our world when it comes to the labor market. We have a labor shortage. People are leaving their jobs by the droves. They're going to different places. They're changing their minds. They're looking at what's meaningful for them.”

    Charles noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the culture of work, creating new workplace environments and rules, spawning the Great Resignation, and amplifying the importance of diversity and inclusion. The panel, “Harnessing the Power of Your Workforce,” delved into the workforce challenges the industry is facing. Panelists included Blair Crawford, vice president of national accounts and marketing for Vertical Bridge and former executive director of industry relations at the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum; Lynn Whitcher, general counsel at MD7 and WWLF’s director of education; Leslie Freeman-Kowalczyk, principal of the telecom engineering department at WT Group and director of membership at WWLF; Amanda Cahill, senior director of business development at Network Connex and president of WWLF; and Beth Martindale, vice president of WWLF and senior project manager for wireless at Mears Broadband.

    Cahill noted that diversity and inclusion has been a hot topic for the past couple of years but asked what that really means for the telecom industry. Diving into research and statistics, Cahill said embracing diversity has been shown to increase revenue, attract and retain talent, and motivate existing employees. She cited a recent McKinsey & Company study that found highly inclusive and diverse organizations generate 2.3 times more cash flow per employee and 1.4 times more revenue.

    Whitcher cautioned, however, that diversity has to be more than checking a box. She said the benefits of a wide variety of voices, experiences and backgrounds among a company’s employee base can yield new ideas and innovation. But achieving diversity can be difficult, noted Martindale. We naturally gravitate toward others who we have things in common with and that we can relate to, and finding qualified candidates who are different from us can be challenging, she said.

    Whitcher, who shared that most of her department at MD7 consists of Asian females, said being open to candidates who don’t look like you is key. For her, that meant investing in a junior lawyer who grew up with a single mom and didn’t have a lot of businesspeople in his network.

    “He looks very different than me,” said Whitcher, “but he happens to be a white male. It’s too easy in these diversity discussions to say, ‘Okay, let's measure against white male.’ Well, there isn't such a thing as a monolithic white male experience. That's not enough. We know the conversation has to be deeper than that.”

    Crawford also emphasized that diversity is much more than checking a box. Instead, companies need to live and breathe diversity every single day, she said. Vertical Bridge, for example, brought in a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant to evaluate its team, the company and its operations, and then to educate the team on what DEI means. The company conducted a survey to get an accurate view of how its employees felt about diversity and inclusion.

    “If we’re not asking questions, we're just making assumptions that our employees feel like they're being included,” she said.

    Vertical Bridge then created a DEI task force to target improvements and enhancements to its DEI efforts. Those ideas include engaging in philanthropic activities that support underserved communities.  Vertical Bridge’s Charitable Network has donated more than $7.6 million and employees have given more than 4,000 hours volunteering in their communities. These types of activities also provide connections to a larger pool of potential employees who might be recruited through internships and referral programs, said Crawford.

    On the topic of finding new sources for diverse employee candidates, Martindale said it’s important to think outside the box. She noted former WWLF President Carolyn Hardwick was a teacher early in her career, but a summer gig with Sprint led Hardwick to pursue a career in telecom where she now is a C-level executive.

    “You've got to look in unique places,” said Martindale. “I went to a lineman’s college and spoke with them about coming to work for our company. They didn't know what we did, and they knew nothing about wireless because they know power. They didn't even know that this was an avenue for them.”

    Beyond bringing in diverse talent, there are also challenges with promoting women into leadership roles, said Charles.

    Whitcher emphasized that women need to bet on and believe in themselves in business. “Let me tell you ladies, what definitely should not stop you from attaining a leadership role is yourself,” she said. “You are smart enough. You are capable enough. You've earned this.”

    Cahill agreed with the importance of being your own advocate in career development. Sometimes that can be as simple as letting your company’s leadership know that you have interest in moving up. Often, employees don’t feel comfortable having those conversations internally with their leadership team, so they end up having them externally and then leaving for the role they wanted, Cahill said. This highlights an opportunity, as well, for employers to ask their employees what their goals and career aspirations are before they look outside the company for those opportunities.

    “You can be anything that you want,” said Cahill. “Don't let yourself hold you back. The answer is always ‘no’ until you ask. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but everything that grows from that is on the other side. And what do you have to lose?”

  • 28 May 2022 9:37 AM | Anonymous

    The Sprint and T-Mobile merger ushered in a new phase of the telecommunications industry. This merger has impacted all of us by the creation of a new carrier and a surge of work. We all have felt the increase in activity but adding a global pandemic to the mix has made this time truly unprecedented. It is important now, more than ever, that we focus on burnout. What it is, the signs and symptoms, and what we can do to manage it.

    We have all heard of burnout but many of us think it’s a fleeting phase of job-related stress. Burnout is much more serious than that. It is a syndrome of chronic stress with no end date that is often accompanied by extreme exhaustion and depression. Burnout is defined as a type of job-related stress that affects one’s emotional, physical, and mental health but burnout can be caused by more than occupational stress. Personal commitments, relationships, and other catalysts of stress can cause burnout. More specific causes of burnout include a lack of control, unclear job expectations, lack of social support, work-life imbalance, and a chaotic or unpredictable environment.  Burnout is not yet a medical diagnosis but if you are not careful it can lead to many medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, insomnia, and a weakened immune system.   

                Although chronic stress causes burnout, the signs and symptoms between stress and burnout are very different. The symptoms of stress include over-engagement, reactive emotions, hyperactivity, and anxiety. Burnout symptoms are more aligned with depression than anxiety. With burnout, you may experience, disengagement, distant/diluted emotions, loss of motivation, lower activity, and a feeling of helplessness. The Mayo Clinic has a list of questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you are experiencing burnout at work. These questions include “Have you become cynical or critical at work?”, “Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?” and “Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?”.  If you answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to monitor your symptoms and prepare to manage burnout. 

    Burnout can be tackled with the “Three R Approach” – Recognize, Reverse, and Resilience. Once you recognize the symptoms you can begin reversing the effects. Reversing the effects of burnout start with finding support. Reach out to family, friends and even your mentors to communicate and connect. Think about ways that certain home or work responsibilities can be delegated out and ask for help. Even if the people you reach out to cannot take on any responsibilities, just talking to someone can help alleviate your stress. In addition to finding support, reversing the effects of burnout includes limiting your contact with negativity in your life – this could be people or situations. You can also work on reframing the cause of your burnout. Reframing the cause of your burnout can look like finding the positives and value in your work, taking time off, or reestablishing better boundaries.  The third step in this approach is to build resilience. Building resilience is a continuous effort to keep from falling into burnout. Everyone has different ways to keep burnout in check. Some examples include exercising, setting boundaries around work, journaling, and meditating. The most impactful way to build resilience is to check in with yourself regularly. Taking the time to regularly assess your feelings and evaluate your priorities is an easy and effective way to keep burnout at bay. All too often many of us fall into the trap of constantly moving from one task to the next and saying “yes” without really considering our capacity.

    When it comes to burnout, the times when we are busiest are the most important times to make space for ourselves and our mental health. Summer is a fun time of year but with travel, childcare, and a high customer/client demand, burnout can creep up quickly and silently. Prevention is always better than recovery so monitor your symptoms, focus on the three R approach, and check in on your employees, coworkers, and friends. Most importantly, make sure you check in with yourself!

  • 28 May 2022 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    Senior Manager for National Site Safety, T-Mobile

    Heather Gastelum is one of the few women who focuses on construction safety in the wireless industry.  She is a member of T-Mobile’s Women & Allies Employee Resources Group, serves on the Women of NATE (WON) committee, and is a member of WWLF.

    I got my start in Wireless Construction in 1994 when I first moved to Washington state.  I had struggled to find work even though I had experience.  I took the first temp job offered, knowing I needed to work and keep my skills up.  The position was with Cellular Communication Services (CCS)  and after two months they offered me a full-time job as a Construction Coordinator. 

    I have a “non-traditional” upbringing, spending a few summers working for my father who held a general contractor's license and was an owner/operator of a custom steel fabrication manufacturing facility. I spent hours of my childhood looking at designs and blueprints on our dining room table and asking countless questions.

    Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was interested when I was first asked to take on a Construction Manager role. In the time spent working for my dad, I developed the ability to just see how something should fit together.  I spoke up in project planning and pre-construction meetings and called out things that the “boys” hadn’t even taken into consideration. Well, my call outs “did you consider this”, or “try that” caught the attention of the lead guy, Rick Turnure, who told me “you know more about construction than two of the guys I hired and we could use you more out in the field.”

    It was fantastic to be pushed and sponsored by a man who recognized that I knew more than a typical coordinator. He pushed the company leadership to give me a shot. We walked our first job together back in 1996 and two weeks later I was handed my first 25 raw-land new site builds for Sprint PCS. The rest, as they say, is history.

    The National Association of Women in Construction maintains statistics that show women working in construction numbered only 1.5 percent of the entire U.S. workforce in 2018.  Keeping in mind they do not account for our industry, I feel their numbers are in line, even perhaps a bit high, with the current state of women in the telecommunication field “construction” roles.

    On a positive note, NAWIC shows the gender pay gap is significantly smaller in construction occupations, with women earning on average 99.1 percent of what men make vs the 81.1 percent average for Women across the U.S.  (Source: NAWIC https://www.nawic.org/statistics and the 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics report)

    There are many challenges that face women in wireless construction, especially for female tower climbers.  While we have female friendly climbing gear, the tower structures have not changed. The average height of women in America is 5’ 4” and the standard distance between step bolts/pegs horizontally is 24”, which can make the climb more difficult and take longer than it would for a guy who is 6’ tall. 

    As I hosted a recent “Women of NATE” LeanIn session, I asked participants the question “What’s one of the biggest challenges Women face in our Industry?”  Some of the answers were: “Having tower companies believe that women can climb too.” “Always having to prove you really know what you’re doing.” And another said “lack of respect.” It is sad to think  that there are crews and companies that are still making field roles unwelcoming to women. It takes each and everyone of us to shift gender stereotypes.

    Right now in the industry we have a few female trainers, a few husband-and-wife crew’s and more female crew members now than we ever have but we are still barely scratching the surface of potential for Construction Managers, Tower Technicians, Crane Operators, Truck Drivers, Welders, Fabricators, Backhoe Operators, Integrators and so much more. What else can be done: Bring Back Trades. Take the opportunity to challenge your local High schools to bring back trade classes.

    My call to action for each of you is to be the kind of employer, manager and crew member that will be welcoming and share your knowledge. Remember back to when you first started out.  It really upsets me when I find out that there is still hazing and many other pranks. That type of nonsense isn’t professional and generates bad attitudes.  Be someone willing to answer “stupid questions” because that’s the only way others will learn what you didn’t know at one point either.  A crew is only as strong as its newest member.

    Construction can be intimidating for men and for women. I was only 22 years old when I walked my first design walk, bid walk, pre-con, post-con with nothing but men that didn’t know me and clearly thought it was gonna be fun. Ladies, stay true to you. Show up, hold your own, speak with confidence and ask a ton of  questions until you feel like you understand the task, how to execute it and what’s needed to support the team goals.

    I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that I have been given:  from the first guy who mentored me by acting as a sponsor with management, by letting them know I deserved the opportunity. To the guys on that commercial job that exposed me to trades I had not previously worked with and taught me so much. But those opportunities were granted to me based on my willingness to learn.  You can be confident without being arrogant. You can be open to new opportunities by asking for a chance.

  • 28 May 2022 9:25 AM | Anonymous

    Virgina Mical, Account Manager, Launch3 Telecom
    WWLF City Rep for Baltimore/Washington area

    How long have you been a City Rep for WWLF and what is your territory/region?
    Brand new! Working on planning my first event now, I am the Baltimore/Washington rep.

     

    Why did you join WWLF?
    In a male dominated industry, I think it is important for women to come together in solidarity. Being new to telecom,  I saw it as a great opportunity to meet other professional women. In addition, I enjoy knowing that I am a part of something bigger than myself.

    How has being a part of WWLF impacted you personally or professionally?
    I have met so many amazing women while participating in WWLF events. Knowing that I have access to such an extensive network has given me the confidence to navigate my professional landscape.

    Where did you get your start in the industry? What is your current role?
    I had always known about the telecom and wireless industry as my mom worked in networking and telecom  for 20 years! But it was actually a friend of mine who referred me for my first job in Wireless. That job was in staffing. Now, I work as an Account Manager for a great company called Launch 3,  a global manufacturer and distributor of wireless equipment.

    What does confidence mean to you?
    I have had a mantra since high school (my best friend taught me this when I was struggling with insecurity) “You are only as confident as people THINK you are. If you are not feeling assured, just remember to fake it till you make it.”  

    How do you define success?
    For me, instead of measuring success, I like to think in terms of fulfillment. Am I doing what brings me joy? Am I working for my community or a higher purpose? True fulfillment in life doesn’t come from what we get. It comes from what we give.

    What do you like to do outside of work?
    I love to read - I take part in a book club.  I like to work out.  I really enjoy cooking and consider myself a foodie!

  • 03 May 2022 6:03 PM | Anonymous

    On April 20, 2022, WWLF members met virtually for our quarterly book read.  The book was Indra Nooyi’s “My Life In Full: Work, Family, and Our Future”.  The group had a lively discussion asking and answering such questions as “The author had the support of an extended family throughout her life.  In her early years, her family prioritized the education of Indra and her sister.  When you were growing up, did your family support your educational and career goals?  How did their support/lack of support affect your career trajectory?” and “Nooyi reportedly earned around $31 million USD in her last year as CEO.  In her last full year as CEO, 2017, there were only 13 women amongst the top 200 highest paid CEOs of American companies.  Most C-Suite compensation is paid out in stock-options, but, still, she was one of the highest paid female CEOS ever.  Interestingly enough, she never asked for a raise or bonus. Female executives still earn less than their male counterparts, what can be done to narrow this pay gap?  Is part of the problem that women don’t negotiate or is it that women are seen as viewed unfavorably when they do ask for a raise?”

    Indra Nooyi, one of the world’s most admired executives as former CEO of PepsiCo, recounts her journey from her childhood in India to becoming the first woman of color to lead a Fortune 50 company.  Her biography, “My Life In Full: Work, Family, and Our Future” is insightful, honest, and inspiring.  I appreciated Nooyi’s detail of her background, which included an emphasis on education and commitment to family during her childhood.  It is clear that Nooyi received strength and confidence having the support of her parents and then later the invaluable, selfless support of her husband, Raj. 

    Throughout the book, the reader sees the tireless efforts of Nooyi as she rises through the ranks of various companies.  She makes personal sacrifices and difficult choices as she balances her executive roles with being a wife and mother.  By her own admission and as she shares her reflections throughout the book, she prioritized work and never wavered from climbing the corporate ladder with intense vigor.  Her drive and dedication are inspiring, but the author shares some regrets with having achieved the pinnacle of her career at PepsiCo. 

    Nooyi’s autobiography is relevant for readers today, as the topic of work-life balance is prevalent.  It was a huge accomplishment for Nooyi, a female immigrant with humble beginnings, to rise to the top of one of the most famous companies in U.S. history.  This book is a quick-read and gives readers pause to consider the importance of relationships, education, learning from failures, driving corporate change, and sacrifices made during one’s professional journey.  

  • 03 May 2022 5:53 PM | Anonymous

    Lucia Chiocchio, Esq., Partner, Cuddy & Feder LLP
    Zoning / Telecommunications Attorney
    WWLF City Rep for NYC Metro Area

    How long have you been a City Rep for WWLF and what is your territory/region?
    I have been WWLF’s NYC Rep for eight (8) years (!).  Time flies when you are having fun.  My territory/region includes the NYC metro area.

    Why did you join WWLF?
    I joined WWLF to connect with other female professionals in the wireless industry.  One of the many great benefits of WWLF membership is that the members include professionals from all aspects of the industry.

    How has being a part of WWLF impacted you personally or professionally?Being part of WWLF has enriched my professional life.  The connections I have made increased my knowledge and enhanced my practice. It’s great to know that anytime I need support, information, or answers to questions,  I can count on my WWLF connections.  And, I have truly enjoyed getting to know some WWLF members on a personal level.

    Where did you get your start in the industry? What is your current role?
    I started in the telecommunications industry as an engineer for a landline telephone company back in the 90’s.  While working as a telecom engineer, I attended law school in the evenings.  After graduating law school, I joined the law firm of Cuddy & Feder LLP, which has one of the largest, most experienced telecommunications infrastructure practices in the country.  I am now a partner at Cuddy & Feder and vice-chair of our Telecommunications Practice.      

    What is your favorite Quote?
    There are so many good ones, it’s hard to choose.  Lately, with the passing of Madeline Albright, I’ve been thinking about one of her quotes that I really believe to be true:
    “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

    What are your top 3 leadership lessons or advice?
    1.      Listen
    2.      Delegate
    3.      Trust

    How do you see the future of the industry?
    In my opinion the telecommunications industry will continue to grow at a fast pace.  This growth was cemented during the pandemic, when everyone realized the critical need for reliable wireless services for pretty much everything that is important in life.  Our personal and professional lives will need wireless services to thrive, and this demand will keep us all in the industry very busy for the foreseeable future.  

  • 03 May 2022 5:47 PM | Anonymous

    With warm weather and the start of summer comes the Annual Women in Wireless Leadership Forum Mentoring Program (WWLF). The WWLF Mentoring Program connects seasoned women in the wireless industry with new wireless professionals to accelerate career development, build networks and offer guidance and support. Mentoring programs have been proven to benefit many industries and the value of the WWLF Mentoring Program is seen among mentors and mentees alike. 

    The WWLF Mentoring Program runs for a full year with many mentors and mentees participating multiple years in a row. Program participants are required to check in once a month with their counterparts along with attending an all-program meeting each quarter. Throughout the year, mentors and mentees are provided with discussion topics and goals. At the end of the program, participants are asked to rate their overall experience and share what they have learned. This past year, the program averaged a rating of 4.8 out of 5. One mentor commented, “It was a very rewarding experience being a mentor. I enjoyed getting to know my mentee and our conversations were helpful for both of us.” Many of the mentees expressed that the program benefitted their career growth with one mentee stating, “I didn’t even realize the goals I wanted to work on until I started meeting with my mentor.”

    Recruitment sites and scholarly articles also praise mentoring programs for what they can provide to both mentors and mentees. According to LinkedIn, mentoring programs allow mentors to learn effective leadership styles, gain feedback, and get exposed to new perspectives. This allows mentors to grow as leaders in their companies and WWLF.  Indeed shows that the mentor-mentee relationship can aid in goal setting, networking, and gaining knowledge. 

    I can personally attest to the many advantages of the WWLF mentoring program. This past year was my first year as a mentee and the work I did with my mentor helped me immerse myself in the wireless industry and WWLF. I initially joined because I realized I needed some support and guidance outside of my place of employment. I wanted to work on how I could grow at my current company and how I could build my network in the industry. The application process was a quick one-pager on what I was looking for in a mentor and what I was looking to gain from the program. A few weeks later I was paired with my mentor Ashli! It was so exciting to speak to her for the first time and swap wireless experiences. I’m not sure how the WWLF Mentoring Program board did it but our pairing was perfect! We both had similar interests and the goals I wanted to work on were goals that Ashli had achieved over the last few years. Ashli and I had our mentor/mentee meeting once a month after that initial call, but we kept in contact regularly to share wins, suggest videos/podcasts, and even just to vent. A year later, my role at my current company has grown; I’m a committee member and City Rep in WWLF and I’m lucky to call Ashli a friend. I truly encourage every member to sign up for this program. The lessons learned and friendships made make this a valuable experience for all.

  • 05 Apr 2022 4:44 PM | Anonymous

    Fresh out of attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, a show I’ve attended for +20 years, I can’t help but reflect on how far the Wireless Industry has come.  Being a Nortel Alum, I’ve always been intrigued with the actual technology and how the “communications magic” happens.  Technology really wants to move at a faster pace than we can keep up with: Talks about 6G were happening all over the Conference, and we haven’t even fully yet experienced 5G yet. Sometimes I feel that our industry is on a mission to confuse us all!  

    I have lost count of how many times a non-telecom friend has asked me, almost with shame, to explain the whole “G’s” in SIMPLE terms, and here’s what I’ve come up with.    

    -1G: Purely Voice Communication,
    -2G: 1G + Texts,
    -3G: 2G + Web browsing,  
    -4G: 3G + Video Streaming, 
    -5G: 10 times faster speed than 4G! (Enabling virtual reality, robotics, and automation of almost everything you can imagine.)      

    When people learn that my family has been building Wireless Towers since 1972, there are two main comments associated with that: “can you please build a tower at XXXX, because the coverage there is really bad” OR “So, I guess you won’t sign a petition to prevent the buildout of such and such tower in our neighborhood?”   It is truly crazy to see how we, humans, struggle with admitting that technology has already invaded the way we live.   We have a love and hate relationship with it.  We don’t want the tower, or the equipment in our neighborhood, but we expect to stream our favorite Netflix show while we wait at the doctor’s office.  We can’t have our cake and eat it too.    

    Early on, one of the main challenges preventing a full speed 5G deployment was spectrum availability, but with the completion of the C-Band spectrum auction, where America’s largest carriers spent an unprecedented $93B one can be sure that any roadblocks to deployment will be cleared.    Another challenge has been regulatory approval.  I recently got a handful of calls to gauge my opinion when the FAA delaying 5G roll-out was all over the news.   “Is 5G going to happen as planned?”  I believe that the wireless industry is going above and beyond with its voluntary mitigation efforts to address the latest concerns brought by the FAA’s about aviation safety, and in fact, just very recently, the FAA issued an official statement that hints that all stakeholders are now working with a strong collaborative approach and that a resolution is on the horizon.   

    Workforce shortage has also been a recurring challenge in preventing 5G deployments to go at a faster pace and having a skilled and broad workforce will be more important than ever to accomplish the industry’s work.   The Wireless Infrastructure Association has really been an impactful advocate for this cause, and in furthering so many different initiatives that do benefit workforce development

    The enactment of the historic ‘Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’ will provide unprecedented levels of government support for infrastructure improvement.   Due to this, it is expected that this year’s carrier’s CAPEX spending on mobile networks will accelerate, creating a growth momentum.  We will go from having just a few small 5G Private Network projects to many significant ones, which will be the trigger for new and innovative business models, equipment production, and new and emerging players in the 5G ecosystem.   

     If one thing can be sure, it is that embarking on deploying a transformational technology like 5G won’t be achieved without its fair number of hurdles. What needs to happen to change the narrative? We must recognize that there is a global race to 5G, and the U.S. is committed to winning it.  This is an exciting time, and we all should be thrilled to be witnessing this transformation as it happens. Women in Wireless will have unprecedented opportunities to take on leadership roles and prompt meaningful change on so many fronts.   Our time is now, let’s keep moving forward, learning, lifting each other up, and doing good work in our own circles.  Let’s create ripples we can be proud of!

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