Investing in the Dream

As I reflect on Black History Month and the Black community’s contributions and sacrifices that have shaped this nation, I think of my parents. I was five years old when we immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti. My parents had to adjust to a new country and learn the language– all while taking care of four children. To say we faced some adversity early on is an understatement. My parents’ experience showed me how access to economic empowerment opportunities is vital in creating financial independence and improving lives.  

When AT&T announced its acquisition of Time Warner in 2016, I didn’t expect to be sitting as the CFO of AT&T just five years later. I’m here because someone saw something in me early on and it opened a world of opportunity. I strongly believe the work we’re doing through economic empowerment will help others achieve more than maybe they ever thought they could.

One of the ways AT&T is investing is through our work to help close the digital divide.  In particular, AT&T has made a three-year $2 billion commitment to bridge the digital divide through efforts that promote broadband affordability, accessibility and safe adoption.  Part of our work here is helping to close the homework gap through the AT&T Connected Learning initiative: an investment in digital inclusion, literacy and learning to help underserved communities with skills, resources and opportunities for success – in and out of the classroom.  Additionally, we’re focused on working with OneTen, a non-profit coalition committed to hiring and/or promoting 1 million Black individuals without a 4-year college degree into family sustaining careers. At its core, OneTen’s mission closes the opportunity gap and provides access to family-sustaining careers.

OneTen and AT&T share the desire to expand the opportunity for these individuals and are committed to providing the resources needed to bring more diversity to the field. At AT&T employees who join our team with OneTen qualifications then have the access to growth and networking programs, such as Women of Color and Lift & Connect, and various employee groups.

My friend and colleague Corey Anthony, AT&T’s Chief Diversity and Development Officer, recently sat down with Maurice Jones, the Chief Executive Officer of OneTen, and Una Dixon, Senior Applications Developer at AT&T, for a conversation about the importance of our commitment to empowering communities through professional development. Hear more about our collaboration with OneTen in this month’s Conversations with Corey series:

Shaping the future requires investing in the present, especially as our nation faces a tight labor market.  When you look at the demographic trends, population growth is going to come from minorities and therefore, as a nation, we need to ensure we are making the investments now to address the impact of an employment equity crisis. I was fortunate to have advocates who championed my growth, and the significance of knowing I’m in a position where I can do the same for others isn’t lost on me.

AT&T’s commitment to fostering economic empowerment in order to create a more equitable society isn’t limited to just this month. This work is a year-round, company-wide effort, and I look forward to continuing to play a role in its success.