Throughout the past few weeks, the road-trippers have been incredible in their individual interviews, but for this visit, they really stepped up to the big leagues—so that the team could interview as many leaders as possible during their visit, AT&T set up two roundtable discussions, an arrangement that fostered spontaneous conversations between the leaders themselves, as well as with the road-trippers. Of course, Elicia, Regina, and Ariel handled the new format like pros, and the ensuing interviews were both illuminating and empowering.
Representing all different factions of STEM, be it within engineering, finance, or technology, these roundtables were stocked with some of the country’s most powerful women in their fields—women who are truly improving the landscape of STEM for future generations.
The first roundtable consisted of Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall, Senior Vice President (SVP) of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer; Charlene Lake, SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility and Chief Sustainability Officer; and Debbie Dial, SVP and Controller.
All of these amazing women are working to change the world through STEM, but in order to encourage more girls to pursue STEM, we’ll need men to be equally purposeful in their messaging and hiring practices. That’s why the second roundtable included John Palmer, AT&T’s Chief Learning Officer, who’s dedicated to improving the diversity of his company by promoting the hiring of more women and minorities in STEM. Rounding out the table were Melissa Arnoldi, SVP of Tech Solutions and Business Systems Strategy, and Anne Chow, President of Integrator Solutions.
These poignant conversations restated common themes that have been touched upon throughout the trip, but they also unveiled new insights as to how large companies are tackling the diversity gaps in STEM on a grand scale.
At the end of the day, everyone was left enthusiastic about the future of STEM, but one of the sentiments that resonated most strongly with the road-trippers were some powerful words of personal wisdom from Cynthia Marshall. As a pioneering woman in STEM, as well as a cancer survivor, Cynthia knows a thing or two about overcoming odds and surmounting challenges, and it’s no surprise that her mantra struck a chord with the team: