From the Frontline to the Boardroom: Building Great Women Leaders

From the Frontline to the Boardroom: Building Great Women Leaders

By: Debbie Storey
Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 6:00pm



The Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom, hosted by the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, was recently held in Washington, D.C. The event brings together leaders – from business, government, academia – who champion boardroom diversity, to review gender diversity progress in the U.S. and internationally, and to make constructive recommendations for further progress.

AT&T has a longstanding reputation as a company where women can achieve their full potential, take on increasing levels of responsibility and help lead the communications revolution. We’ve long understood that excellence at diversity and a commitment to inclusion are competitive advantages. Our customers, partners, employees and shareholders are diverse, and we serve them best when we embed diversity in all we do.

We’re proud of our efforts, but at the same time, we strive to continually raise the bar:

  • 37% of our managers and 29% of our senior leaders are women.
  • Of the senior executives who run operations with more than $1 billion in revenue, 25% are women.
  • 30% of the Directors on our Board are women.
At the Global Conference on Women in the Boardroom, we talked about why it’s imperative that companies take proactive steps to foster leadership and networking opportunities for women. If the goal is diversity in the boardroom, we need to cultivate talent. Here are a few ways we approach that at AT&T.
  • Our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – including Women of AT&T – provide opportunities for career development with the goal of enhancing the diversity of our talent pipeline. We recently hosted our 6th Annual National ERG Conference, where more than 1,700 ERG members interacted with more than 100 AT&T senior leaders. This year’s event sold out in under an hour.
  • In 2011, we established a recruiting center of excellence to educate hundreds of AT&T recruiters on the importance of identifying and recruiting diverse talent – particularly women. The program’s success is evident in the numbers: In 2012 we had about 520,000 external applications from women; in 2013 it climbed to 637,000. And the percent of our female management new-hires grew from 33 percent in 2011 to 35 percent in 2013.
  • To address the sometimes unique challenges women face as they advance to leadership positions, particularly when STEM skills are needed, we created the AT&T Women’s Leadership Council. The cross-functional council is comprised of 20 female managers who embody the breadth of diversity that comprises our female management population – across management levels, functions, geographies, and demographics. The function of the Council is to lift up issues encountered by women in the business and recommend initiatives that will make AT&T a great place for women to work.
AT&T consistently ranks as a great place for women to work by outside organizations such as the LATINAStyle 50 Best Companies for Latinas, The Top 50 Employers for Women Engineers, and The Top 50 Companies for Female Executives by NAFE.
While we’re grateful for the recognition, our real reward is knowing 240,000 diverse, talented people bring their full selves to work every day – mobilizing the world for millions across the globe.