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AT&T's Jennifer Van Buskirk: I Didn't Plan My Career Path. Should You?

"Look at your career as a long-term campaign," says Van Buskirk.

Jennifer Van Buskirk is president of the Northeast region at AT&T Mobility. (AT&T is No. 4 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list)

Jennifer Van Buskirk / LINKEDIN

I'm often asked how my career path took shape. Did I painstakingly map out a plan and intend to be exactly where I am today? The short answer no, and I wouldn't have done it any other way.

I love where my career has led me so far — and for those of you looking to advance in your profession, here is my counsel on how to get to the next level:

Work hard and deliver results: If there is a glue that holds any good career together, it's hard work. You have to earn your success. No one will hand it to you. You own how much effort and initiative you bring to the table. You are in control of the quality of your work and delivering results. Never stop learning and working to find ways to make yourself more valuable professionally. Depending on your industry, this may mean going back to school to gain an advanced degree, taking classes online to achieve certifications – or simply putting in the hours to lead an important company project. As Ann Landers said, "Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them."

Take smart risks: I think of my career as an adventure. I've always taken the high risk/high reward path and routinely embraced positions that pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow. I often coach people to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you are too comfortable, you're stagnant and not learning. This may be some strange genetic defect, but I am most excited about an opportunity when there is a possibility of failure. I see opportunities like these as a competition, and I like winning. The greater the challenge, the greater the reward for success. And, I always have confidence that my team will find a way to win regardless of the challenge.

Be open to opportunities: Plans are great for the short term. For example, when it comes to achieving sales goals, I love seeing people with laser focus — an "eyes on the prize" mentality. But, when it comes to your career, if you lock yourself into a rigid professional plan and put blinders on in order to achieve your goal, you could miss out! My advice? Stay open minded about your career. Learn as much about the business as you can to develop a broad perspective – and don't overlook lateral moves that expand your knowledge and skills. Finally, be flexible about the timing. I've have always taken advantage of opportunities as they've presented themselves — even at inopportune times.

Take a new job working for a smart leader without really knowing what the job entailed? Sure! Start a new venture from scratch to help address a key growth area for the company? I'm in! Move to the Northeast to oversee an enormously talented sales team through an extraordinary change? Yes, please!

Look at your career as a long-term campaign. A well-mapped out plan will get you only so far. Work hard, take smart risks, and don't miss opportunities to expand what you thought was possible in your career. Your next adventure could be your best one yet.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

AT&T: Distracted Driving on Two Wheels: A New Reality

Break the habit and take the pledge to end distracted driving in and out of the car at ItCanWait.com.

Originally Published by AT&T.

By Ryan Luckey, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Brand Marketing

The roads can be a scary place. Drivers are taking their eyes off the road to look at their latest like, text or email.

And with the introduction of shared e-scooters, the latest in transportation innovation, it's more important than ever for riders and drivers to keep their eyes on the road.

One hand on the handlebar, another on the phone, then bam. You hit a pothole.

Tens of thousands of injuries – and hundreds of deaths – occur every year due to smartphone distracted driving. This is the unfortunate reality our AT&T It Can Wait program continues to address since 2010.

And now it's becoming clear smartphone distractions are no longer just a problem in the car.

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Anthony B. Coleman: Veterans Should Discover Their Passion and Allow it to Lead to a Profession

Coleman, talks with DiversityInc about his journey transitioning from life in the U.S. Navy to working for Kaiser Permanente as an Assistant Hospital Administrator.

Anthony B. Coleman, DHA, is the Assistant Hospital Administrator (Operations Support) for Kaiser Permanente, Fontana and Ontario Medical Centers.

He was born at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy serving aboard the USS Pioneer (MCM 9) and USS Ardent (MCM 12). After completing a full sea tour he was transferred to shore duty, and earned a Bachelor's degree in Workforce, Education and Development, as well as a Master of Health Administration.

He later earned a commissioned as a Naval Officer serving in various roles overseas and afloat, including Chief Financial Officer at U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort SC, Human Resources Director at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan and Medical Operations Officer onboard the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) nuclear powered aircraft carrier.

Anthony retired in 2016 with 20 years of honorable service and holds a Doctor of Health Administration Degree and currently serves as the Assistant Administrator (Operations Support) for Kaiser Permanente Fontana and Ontario Medical Centers.

DI: What was the initial transition like going from the armed services to a civilian career?

My initial thoughts on transition brought unnecessary anxiety. However, when I learned that my preceptor was a retired Air Force Colonel, it helped put me at ease about the transition. On my first day at Kaiser Permanente, the staff and physicians welcomed me and ensured that I had the support I needed to make a successful transition.

DI: What are some skills or habits you developed while serving in the military that have helped you in your current role?

Two things stick out in my mind as important.

The first is transitioning mindset from duty to desire. I joined the navy at 17, and during the first 3-5 years of my military career I didn't realize I was part of something bigger than myself so I competed tasks out of obligation (duty). After completing my first full sea tour, I realized how my efforts contributed to the overall mission of the U.S. Navy and the duties I carried out started to come from a desire to do so. This realization helped shape my leadership style and how I groomed young sailors early on in their enlistments. I wanted them to realize their very important part in the overall U.S. Navy mission and motivate them to bring their "A" game every day.

This has helped in my current role overseeing nine non-clinical departments (Housekeeping, Food and Nutrition, Engineering, Construction, Parking, Safety, Property Management, Telecommunications, Security and Supply Chain Management) where the majority of the employees I oversee are entry-level and can feel disconnected to health care because they are not physicians or nurses. However, I stress to them as often as possible that whether their job is to nourish the patient, clean and disinfect a patient room, make sure life-saving equipment is in working order, or any other of the hundreds of non-clinical functions they perform day in and day out, they too are vital to a patient's health and healing.

The second is attention to detail. Most times, my staff are the first and/or last interaction our members have with Kaiser Permanente. It is crucial for them to pay attention to every detail about the patient they encounter because each and every detail about the patient, large or small can help us do a better job in serving them. Sometimes, it may be as simple as a smile or word of encouragement that could make all the difference in the patient experience.

DI: What career advice can you offer to veterans or current military folks who are looking to pivot, and what types of jobs should they be looking for?

Stay current in world health affairs, as well as the political climate in the US. Now more than ever, politics are shaping our approach to health care and vice versa. Veterans and current military members should make sure they have an idea of where civilian health care is, as well as where it's going in the future, so they can demonstrate their value to potential health care employers.

Devote time to discovering their passion and allow it to lead them to a profession. So often, when military members plan to transition to civilian life, they tend to focus on their ability to continue providing for their families beyond military service. This can cause us to accept positions for the sake of securing post military employment, or accept positions that are not aligned with our core beliefs, or passion.

DI: Did you always have an idea of the type of career you wanted to pursue after the military?

Yes. As a matter of fact, I began planning my exit from the military in 2005 when I discovered my passion for eliminating health disparities however, because I was a single father of a 5 year old girl, my mom convinced me to complete a full career first.

In 2004, the Navy sent me to graduate school to learn how to be a health administrator. During the summer of 2005, I interned at Wallace Thomson Hospital in rural Union County, South Carolina. While there I met a kitchen worker who impressed me with her skill in preparing meals for all of the sick patients at the hospital, specific to their individual needs. Her name was Pee Wee and even though she never finished high school, and worked a second job to make ends meet she somehow found a way to show compassion for each patient while contributing to the healing environment.

After the rotation was complete, I went back to finish graduate school and learned that Pee Wee died of a stroke. She was 52. Her death really affected me and a began to look at how a person in America could die so young of a preventable health issue. That's when I learned about health disparities and discovered my passion for eliminating them. I understand that I may not be able to complete this task in my lifetime however, I am completely comfortable with making it my life's work at Kaiser Permanente.

AT&T Awards $25,000 at Pitches with Purpose Event

The winner, MindRight, provides a judgement-free mobile platform that empowers youth of color to heal from systemic oppression by offering support and personalized live coaching via text message.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T launched its inaugural Pitches with Purpose earlier this month in Dallas, with 8 companies from this year's AT&T Aspire Accelerator class competing for $25,000 for their cause.

Participating companies gave a 3-minute pitch to a panel of company executives and employees. In the end, MindRight took the top prize. The company provides a judgement-free mobile platform that empowers youth of color to heal from systemic oppression by offering support and personalized live coaching via text message.

The AT&T Aspire Accelerator funds entrepreneurs creating education solutions with technology. It is part of AT&T's signature philanthropic initiative, Aspire. AT&T launched Aspire in 2008 to provide access to education and training people need to get and keep good jobs.

Now celebrating Aspire's 10th anniversary, AT&T has committed $450 million to programs to help millions of students in all 50 states and around the world since 2008.

AT&T: HACEMOS Drives Diversity in STEM

AT&T's HACEMOS group helps drive Latino diversity in STEM fields with 20th Annual High Technology Day.

Originally Published by AT&T.

School used to be all about the 3 Rs: reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic. But the future is all about all about STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. That's why HACEMOS, AT&T's Hispanic/Latino employee resource group, is introducing students to STEM during their 20th annual High Technology Day on Thursday, Oct. 18.

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AT&T Launches New Advertising Company, Xandr

AT&T Advertising & Analytics is Now Xandr, A New Kind of Advertising Company Harnessing Data, Technology, Premium Content and Distribution.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T* announced the launch of XandrSM, its new advertising company led by CEO Brian Lesser. The announcement was made at the Relevance Conference, Xandr's inaugural conference in Santa Barbara, California.

Xandr encompasses all aspects of the existing AT&T advertising & analytics businesses, including AT&T's advanced TV business, AT&T AdWorks; AT&T's data and analytics business; ATT.net and AppNexus, which will continue to support its US and global customers under the Xandr umbrella.

"Xandr is a name that draws inspiration from AT&T's rich history, including its founder Alexander Graham Bell, while imagining how to innovate and solve new challenges for the future of advertising," said Lesser. "Our purpose is to Make Advertising Matter and to connect people with the brands and content they care about. Throughout AT&T's 142-year history, it has innovated with data and technology, making its customers' lives better. Xandr will bring that spirit of innovation to the advertising industry."

This new kind of advertising company has four key advantages, which include data, premium content, advanced advertising technology and AT&T's distribution to more than 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships across wireless, video and broadband.1

Advancing Advanced TV

To further strengthen its leadership in advanced TV advertising, Xandr has entered into agreements with Altice USA and Frontier Communications to aggregate and sell their national addressable TV advertising inventory. This initial step starts to create the foundation of a national TV marketplace for advertisers and premium content publishers. Xandr will also collaborate with a4, Altice USA's advanced advertising business, to help expand a4's nationwide addressable digital advertising capabilities.

By aggregating this video inventory from multiple multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), AT&T's addressable TV offering starts to provide advertisers with a one-stop shop. This allows marketers to reach the audiences they want to connect with most, while improving yield by helping inventory owners compete more effectively.

By combining data with advertising technology, addressable TV allows advertisers to more effectively reach their audiences without the wasted spend associated with traditional, non-targeted TV.

Consumer-Centric Advertising

Xandr's unique differentiator is its commitment to personalization, while considering the human element of advertising and people – not just placements.

To underscore its commitment, Xandr teamed up with Insight Strategy Group and Advertiser Perceptions to conduct surveys and on-the-ground ethnographies in order to understand the dynamics between consumer sentiment and the advertising experience.

These findings formed the basis of the inaugural Xandr Relevancy Report, original research on the state of consumer attention, which found 66 percent of consumers wish advertisements were more relevant to their interests and lifestyle, while 57 percent said ads are not relevant to them.

However, consumers recognized the importance of advertising: 64 percent of those surveyed believe advertising enables independent voices to be heard on the Internet, while 70 percent like when ads go beyond just selling a product.

Additional findings can be found in the Xandr Relevancy Report, including examples of how relevant advertising and data-driven insights can result in better consumer experiences.

AT&T Foundry Launches Innovation Space for Vertical Industries

Enterprise Customers Get Venue to Co-Create Innovative Technologies to Solve Industry-Specific Challenges.

Originally Published by AT&T.

Revolutionary technology breakthroughs in business don't happen by accident. That's why AT&T* is launching a vertical industry-focused space at the AT&T Foundry in Plano to showcase our edge-to-edge network capabilities and develop transformative technologies.

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AT&T Announces Largest Deployment of Free Aira Service

AT&T, Aira Use Groundbreaking Technology to Bring Retail Experience to Blind & Low- Vision Shoppers at Over 5,300 AT&T Retail Locations.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T* and Aira continue to expand their relationship to bring new experiences to the blind and those with low vision. This time, it's the customer experience. All AT&T company-owned retail and authorized retail stores are now Aira Access Locations. That means that any member of the blind and low-vision community with a smartphone can become an Aira Guest and can get free use of Aira's service at over 5,300 AT&T retail locations across the U.S.

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AT&T: FirstNet Momentum: More Than 2,500 Public Safety Agencies Subscribed

The FirstNet Network Platform Has Been Reliably Supporting First Responders Battling Wildfires and Other Emergencies Nationwide.

Originally Published by AT&T.

More than 2,500 public safety agencies across the country have joined FirstNet. This is nearly double the number of agencies since the last update in July.

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