September 23, 2015 by texasbbacareerservices
Assistant Vice President – Corporate Business Continuity at AT&T
University of Texas, McCombs BBA 1997 (Business Honors & Marketing)
University of Dallas, MBA 2000
My journey with AT&T started right after college. I took one month off after graduation for the typical “European travel” experience. Truth be told, I would have taken all summer but I was bankrolling the trip on the yet-to-be realized salary of my new job so I thought it best to keep it to a month and get on with paying for it ASAP! I joined what was Southwestern Bell Telephone (SWBT) at the time as part of the Leadership Development Program (LDP). The opportunity to rotate around for my first few years into different roles was highly appealing to me. Like many undergrads, I didn’t have a clear sense of exactly what I wanted to do but I was confident that my education and the rigor the Business Honors program would set me up for success in just about any role. That proved to be true and not just in my early years with the company but throughout my time at the company.
So I’m sure you’re wondering how in the world I am still with the same company 18 years after graduation. NO ONE does that any more, right? The truth is that it’s not the same company. I mentioned that I started at SWBT. By the time I actually started my first day, the company had purchased Pacific Bell Telephone and changed its name to SBC Communications. That kind of merger and acquisition work would continue at a steady clip for the first five years of my career where we averaged one major M&A per year. You simply can’t teach what we went through in those early years of my career. Along the way, I had an opportunity to test my skills in different areas of the business both as part of the LDP program but also outside of the program. So while I have been with the same entity since graduation, I challenge that I have worked for more ‘companies’ than most my age and certainly have had to maneuver through more change than many have had the opportunity for. That is why I have loved my journey and this company. From my first day, I was given REAL RESPONSIBILITY! I was responsible for people and targets at 22 years of age. With time, my roles have changed and my scope has increased but at the end of the day, I know that what I do is meaningful for the company and for the people I support. That makes for a pretty good career in my book.
Today, I am responsible for our Corporate Business Continuity work both domestically and internationally. Essentially, my team and I are responsible for getting care for our customers and our employees in the time of a disaster or emergency situation. We focus on how to get our operations back up and running to be able to support our customers but also to ensure we care for employees that may be personally impacted by the event. In most recent history, think of Hurricane Sandy. If you watched the news, you might have seen AT&T trucks deployed to try to restore the network after the storms devastating blow to the north east. Internal to AT&T, my team kicked into action, working to account for every single employee in that area to ensure their safety and to work on getting them help they may need personally. We also worked with our operations teams to make sure we were ready to support our customers in the north east that were desperate to establish communications with their loved ones. Like I said, that’s meaningful work.
All that said, AT&T is not for the faint of heart. Those that are successful here have some common traits – tenacity, ability to drive change, a willingness to roll up their sleeves and make it happen. You’ll notice I didn’t mention technical skills or an MBA. Those things are great and we certainly value them. In my experience though, we can teach a lot of that. What we can’t teach is motivation and drive. I get asked a lot about if I would recommend AT&T as a place to work and my answer is always the same – it depends. The company has afforded me amazing opportunities to work with brilliant people and work on important projects. I have learned from every single leader I’ve worked for and from every single person that has worked on my team. But we aren’t for everyone. We have high expectations. We give you responsibility and expect you to deliver from day one. We value hard work and experience – don’t expect to get promoted or rub elbows with our leadership until you prove yourself. There are a lot of other companies that would say the same so as you embark on making your career decisions, take time to not only study a company on paper but to understand its culture. Our culture at AT&T continues to evolve as our business evolves. That ever-changing landscape motivates me and makes me look forward to walking in each morning knowing I can make a difference. I challenge you to find what gives you that drive and to chase it until you find it!
Interested in starting your career with AT&T. Visit www.att.jobs/college to learn more.