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

AT&T and U.S. Air Force Academy Collaborate to Explore Advanced Technologies

Formal 5- Year Agreement Aims to Help U.S. Air Force Keep Pace With, Acquire and Use Commercial Technology.

Originally Published by AT&T.

AT&T* and the U.S. Air Force Academy are working together on networking services and advanced technology capabilities. They entered a 5-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) aimed at boosting the Air Force's use of modern technology at a pace more like the commercial sector.

"Networking is a platform for innovation and mission support," said Lt. Col. Michael Chiaramonte, director of Air Force CyberWorx at the Air Force Academy. "With access to AT&T's resources, we plan to advance our academic and research objectives. By leveraging public-private partnerships with AT&T and our other industry partners, we improve our understanding and use of technology and, ultimately, improve the Air Force's mission capabilities."

The collaboration aims to:

  • Offer knowledge and commercial best practices of cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and other AT&T-led innovations for the Air Force Academy faculty. Such innovations include Smart Base solutions, software-defined networking and 5G.
  • Provide hands-on demonstrations for Academy cadets.
  • Ensure AT&T has greater insight into the vision and technology needs of the U.S. Air Force.
  • Explore opportunities beyond academic interests.

"Our work with the U.S. Air Force Academy will be much like an action-oriented academic 'think tank.' We're here to help the Air Force keep pace with commercial innovation and pinpoint their current and future technology needs," said Rocky Thurston, Client Executive VP, AT&T Public Sector.

Part of the Air Force's larger mission

Partnerships fuel the Academy research program. There are 19 centers and 2 institutes, as well as cadets, faculty and industry all working together for the benefit of tomorrow's Air Force. CyberWorx was established in 2016 as a public-private design center focused on cyber capability. It combines Air Force, academic and industry expertise with state of the art technology and innovative thinking to solve operational problems.

AT&T: How to Build a Culture of Learning

Instead of only providing employees with classroom and web-based training, we're also supplementing those resources with relevant content from social and digital platforms, like social media channels, podcasts and video platforms.

By Jennifer Robertson

Originally Published by AT&T.

Last year, best-selling author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman visited AT&T. During a conversation with employees, he emphasized the importance of continuous learning for employees and employers to succeed in the age of acceleration.

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