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AT&T's Jennifer Van Buskirk's Career Advice: Fight for Your Future

"One of the things I admire about UFC fighters is their dedication to their craft," writes Van Buskirk.

AT&T is No. 3 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list


(Originally published on LinkedIn)

Jennifer Van Buskirk

When I lived in Atlanta, my neighbor was former Marine and UFC athlete Brian Stann. One of the things I admire about UFC fighters is their dedication to their craft – Brian was no different. They are constantly training and learning new skills to stay sharp and maintain a competitive edge. And, while most of us don't list "combat" as our profession – the battle to stay on top of our games is real.

Changes in our marketplace – and in society – have a profound impact on us. It may be changes in how people use technology or how we communicate – even how we stay entertained and physically fit. It could also be larger structural changes in the ecosystems in which we work. All of this impacts us the skill set we need to be valuable team members and leaders in the future.

UFC fighters begin fight preparation by studying their opponent. They watch videos, they read analysis, they learn as much as they can. This is the first step in preparing for future career success as well. Read all you can; study the industry and key players. Be proactive about learning as much as possible.

Fighters surround themselves by great coaches who push them to their limits. Now is the time to find yourself some good coaches – those who will push you outside of your comfort zone where you can grow and develop new skills.

Fighters develop a game plan, train and hone the skills they need to win the fight. With this same line of thinking, you can create a game plan for your future career. What skills do you need in order to do your dream job? Get aggressive and proactively build the skills you need to be successful. If you learn something you never use…so be it.

But, all the preparation in the world cannot account for every possible scenario. Sometimes you just have to throw out the plan and make a fast pivot to take advantage of opportunities that arise – strike for that knockout. This is ultimately where knowledge and new skills come together. Brian made many pivots in the Octagon through his fighting career. But, the most impressive one has been his pivot outside the ring – to commentator and CEO of Hire Heroes USA. Talk about building new skills!

We are in the midst of an incredible time of innovation and technology evolution. Things are moving so quickly it can be dizzying to keep up. Don't get overwhelmed, get focused.

Keep building up your skills. Learning new things never hurt anyone – unlike my neighbor – who was a force to reckon with in the ring.

Fight for your ultimate vision of success and be sure to #PivotLikeAPro on your journey.

Jennifer Van Buskirk is President, Northeast Region, AT&T Entertainment Group

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 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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AT&T: 6 Lessons I Learned Along My Journey to the C-Suite

Reputation is what others think of you. Character is who you are. It's something you own.

Originally Published by Linkedin.com.

By David Huntley, Senior Executive Vice President - Chief Compliance Officer

I had the honor of addressing the incoming class of full-time MBA candidates at SMU, my alma mater. After sharing how the continuous reinvention of my career parallels that of AT&T's, I provided 6 lessons I've learned along the way. At the encouragement of others, I'm sharing them with you. Regardless of your industry, profession, personal background or career aspirations, I hope you find value in them.

#1 Seek out and identify mentors and sponsors – No matter where your career path takes you, you'll always need the assistance of others, whether that's sponsors or mentors. To realize your fullest potential, you must seek out people who can help you throughout your journey. Some will be mentors: people willing to lend advice and help you find your way. Others will be sponsors: people that won't simply mentor you, but advocate on your behalf and champion your efforts. Having both will help you reach the career aspirations you've set for yourself.

#2 Persevere – Never give up. At times, you'll experience what you may see as roadblocks. They're not. They're simply speedbumps that require more introspection to help determine the right path forward. You must have the resolve to persevere. Struggle leads to progress. Just think, what would happen if Steve Jobs had stopped the first time he was fired from his own company. We probably wouldn't have the iPhone and Apple probably wouldn't be the first publicly traded trillion-dollar company. Instead, he persevered, stayed true and reached his goals.

#3 Be flexible and embrace change – Greek philosopher Heraclitus is cited as the source of the saying "change is the only constant in life." Joining AT&T as a junior lawyer almost 25 years ago, I expected to practice corporate law through retirement. That wasn't the case. I've spent roughly half of my AT&T career in the Legal department, the other half in operations. And while I'm not a practicing attorney today, I still lean on my legal background on a daily basis. Bringing a foundation in the law to an operations role has only increased my value. So, if change is constant, you must be able to embrace it. If you can't, you'll limit your career options.

#4 Stay relevant and be proactive – Always be learning. You can't stay relevant if you keep your head down. Identify your strengths and continuously develop them. If you have an interest in something, but lack the knowledge, do the work. Always be learning. Whether that's reading, attending training or going back to school, the only way you'll stay relevant is by knowing the latest trends. If you don't remain relevant, then the tools you possess will dull and your value will fall.

#5 Compete the right way – Who doesn't like competition? Healthy competition makes us better. It's when we compete by cutting corners, cheating or sabotaging others that we lose, even while "winning." Because those that you undercut will always remember. They may forgive you, but they'll never forget. And you never know who you might work with, or work for, in the future.

#6 Exercise humility – Admit that you don't have all the answers. The best leaders surround themselves with the best people, so they know who to go to when they don't know the answers. Every great leader also has great people behind them. No one gets to where they are on their own. The sooner you recognize this, the more effective you'll lead. And, one last thing, boldly recognize the great work of others. Give credit where credit is due. Who doesn't want recognition from time to time. This accomplishes two things. It shows your humility, endearing others to you. And it shows others you value their contributions and they're deserving of praise.

The Wrap Up

The last thing I left the MBA candidates with was the importance of character. You can do all the things I've shared above to help position you for success, but character is key. Reputation is what others think of you. Character is who you are. It's something you own. If you haven't started to really focus on it, you must. And while you do, keep integrity at the center.

After all, how do you want to be remembered?