Chairman & CEO, AT&T Inc.
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Education: University of Oklahoma
First Job: Mounting tapes on the drives of a computer mainframe for Southwestern Bell
What I’m Reading: Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath
Best Advice: To be successful, surround yourself only with people who are smarter than you.
Creating a connected world
Companies need great talent at every level to achieve their full potential. That’s why we embrace diversity at AT&T—from our executives to our retail and service employees to our suppliers.
Our company has a long history of leadership in this area. But we’re in the business of changing our customers’ lives through technology, and our industry is highly competitive. This means it’s critical that we have a deep understanding of our customers and the communities we serve. So we’ve done a number of things to step up our game.
For example, we appointed one of our top executives Chief Diversity Officer. Her role not only influences how we communicate to consumers, but also how we attract and retain the best talent.
And she doesn’t work in isolation. AT&T’s Diversity Council includes me, my direct reports and our diversity officer to ensure every area of the company makes the most of our employees’ broad range of backgrounds and skills. Nearly 40 percent of our workforce is made up of people of color, and nearly a quarter of every dollar we spend with suppliers is with certified diverse businesses.
We also count on our employees to lead the way. We fully fund all membership dues for our 11 Employee Resource Groups. More than 60,000 of our employees participate in organizations such as Community NETwork (the African American Telecommunication Professionals of AT&T), AT&T Veterans and Women of AT&T. These support groups lead the charge on improving the communities they represent, and they’ve made a big impact. For example, Community NETwork launched an annual Youth Innovation Day in 2012, where students were mentored for a day by AT&T employees.
Several participants were also selected to present their product and service ideas to our executives. Our Hispanic/Latino group HACEMOS hosts an annual National High Technology Day to educate and prepare high school students for technology-based careers after graduation.
Our industry is in an era of rapid expansion, with innovation happening on a global scale. So we need the best minds focused on creating a connected world for our customers. When diversity is welcomed, it’s a game-changing advantage.