Network Operations: Women Can Make The Difference

Network Operations: Women Can Make The Difference

19/11/2021
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We asked WIA members to reflect on their most memorable achievements during their careers in the wireless infrastructure industry. As well as women who have been active in the industry for many years, we also heard from those who are new to it. As part of this event, we heard from women who are influencing regulations that impact the industry, shaping the technologies that make connections happen, and building relationships that will help the industry grow.

It’s amazing how many of these women chose to share moments that exemplified teamwork, helped other women at work in their careers, or helped those in need across the country and around the world. Moreover, many of the women nominated spoke about the importance of persistence, tenacity, and self-confidence for achieving success and growing into leadership roles in the industry.

Women in Wireless Infrastructure who are Making a Difference

With smart, determined, and selfless women building wireless networks, our industry has a bright future.

Jennifer Alvarez

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Aurora Insight

The decision to found Aurora Insight, however, will always be a defining moment in my career. The leap of faith I took with my co-founders was a crucial decision in my career, even if I was lucky to take that leap with them. Our team currently consists of 24 employees and is growing rapidly. When I think back on that decision, I do not doubt that it was the right one, and I encourage anyone else in my position to take that leap of faith and embrace the risk if you believe you have something significant to offer the world.”

Melissa Ashurst

Vice President, Business Development, JMA Wireless

“Throughout my career at AT&T and JMA, I have been involved in many large-scale projects. Among all of our projects, our most recent triumph with Tucson, Arizona stands out the most. I was unable to accept the fact that my niece would not be able to finish her school year because of the pandemic. We could certainly do better in 2020 than Marconi did back in 1895 when he sent the first wireless message from over a mile away! After being laughed at on several calls about using CBRS to solve the digital divide, I decided to show that in fact, we could harness this new technology.

It took meeting a couple of innovative Chief Information Officers for me to ignite my fire. By the end of the first phase of our city-wide project, we will have connected thousands of students. We have created a template of success that other cities and school districts can use to replicate this solution and increase digital equality in the United States. The project I am working on is why I am in this industry and is a great example of why you shouldn’t give up even when others say you can’t.”

Becky Bobzien-Simms

Senior Vice President of Operations, Federated Wireless

“The most memorable achievement of my career is the day in September 2019 when we launched our shared spectrum CBRS network. This was both a personal and industry milestone. The operations team I built at Federated just over a year earlier was world-class. Our Network Operations Center was operational by launch day in Arlington, and we were able to invite guests to participate in our launch celebration.  We are so proud that since then, we have been able to deliver on our promise to run a highly available network that operators large and small can count on. As enterprises roll out their own private 4G/5G networks over CBRS, spectrum sharing is a game-changer for the wireless industry that will impact years to come.”

Morgan Gola

Tower Network Operations Manager, SBA Communications

“I gained a unique perspective on our organization by accompanying a Regional Site Manager on daily rounds. By speaking up about my findings every day, I was able to make a real difference in our operations as manager of our workforce management tool. My first impression of the International Operations project was overwhelming; at times, I even wondered if I was over my head. However, I persevered and remained focused. Following the development and adaptation of the management tool for the majority of our international markets and their business operations, I realized my work provided insight into the workforce and valuable recommendations for how to better manage our teams across multiple markets within six months.

As a woman and a young professional, I entered the industry without any knowledge of wireless infrastructure and worried that the odds would be stacked against me. Just 15 months later, I know I am respected by the people I look up to in the industry and that I am trusted and empowered to make decisions that matter. My professional development and success at SBA remind me that there is always an opportunity if you work hard and speak up.”

Out Take:

THANK YOU, WIA, for this inspiring post about women’s entrepreneurship and working. For youth economic development, we talked about including young women in the wireless industry and network operations centers. If more women were to join the tech/cyber security industry, it would be more prosperous.

As for our part, at ExterNetworks we came up with a strategy involving gender equality in work opportunities for the development of vibrant communities.

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