Women Worth Watching 2015

Jerrie J. Kertz

A Senior VP with AT&T, this Texan Knows how to Optimize Success


web AT&T_kertzJerrie Kertz was named Senior Vice President, Operations Planning and Optimization in September 2014. She is responsible for technology operations planning, strategy, support, and optimization for major technology initiatives and products, as well as improvements to the end-to-end customer experience. Jerrie leads planning efforts in support of the frontline field operations teams, care centers, and technology operations centers, as well as infrastructure planners and engineers. She is also responsible for AT&T’s global fleet, the company’s Business Continuity program, and operational matters for National Security and Emergency Preparedness.

“…I will always have something to offer and something to learn…”

Jerrie began her career with Southwestern Bell as an outside plant engineer in Arlington, Texas. She held field positions in Installation & Maintenance at different management levels in Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston. She also worked in a dispatch center and served on the Operations Planning and Optimization team while in Houston and San Antonio. In addition, Jerrie has worked in Internal Audit, served as president of AT&T Messaging, led the Global Engineering Support team in Network Planning & Engineering, and served as vice president of application and service management in IT Operations. Along the way, she says, she learned to “never question my ability to take on a new role or assignment no matter how much of a stretch it may seem. I will always have something to offer and something to learn no matter what the role may be.”

A native Texan, Jerrie graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in industrial engineering and currently serves on the university’s Industrial and Systems Engineering Advisory Council. She and her husband, Lionel, and son, Kyle, make their home in Dallas, Texas.

Education: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Texas A&M University

First Job: lifeguard and water safety instructor

What I’m Reading: “The Burma Spring” by Rena Pederson

Words I live by: Take care of customers and each other and the rest will fall into place.

The most important quality a woman leader should have is…

…courage and confidence.

The career advice I’d give my former self:

Never underestimate the power of building trusting relationships and the impact it will have on your own ability to achieve, deliver and succeed.

The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…

… never question my ability to take on a new role or assignment no matter how much of a stretch it may seem. I will always have something to offer and something to learn no matter what the role may be.

 When I really need to focus on a project, I…

…make time for the project a priority, set milestones for deliverables and regular touch points with the project team to ensure we keep moving forward towards the desired outcome.

 My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…

…moving from leading a large technical organization to an individual assignment (no team) in Human Resources and facilitating a leadership development course for my peers. As all of the middle managers of the company came through the course it was readily apparent we have really strong talent and I/we need to raise the bar regarding what is expected from leaders at this level.

Being a woman in my profession has…

…provided me the opportunity to demonstrate that women can perform and excel in roles that are traditionally held by men.

I’ve learned that failure is…

…you must take what you learned from that experience and apply it going forward, otherwise let go of the failure and do not dwell on it.

I maintain a healthy personal life by…

…exercising, connecting with family and friends, and giving myself permission to enjoy time off while being reachable yet not always on and connected.

I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…

…I realized the positive impact I could have directly on the experience of customers and employees.