28 Days: Moments that Matter with James Nathan
James Nathan is a senior systems integrator at AT&T. James began his career with AT&T after serving the Air Force for 20 years. He has been with AT&T for 15 years. In his current role, he oversees and monitors AT&T systems and networks within the intelligence community and the Department of Defense. But engineering isn’t his only talent. A Queens, NY native, James is a published author with a background in comic art.
Q: Why did you choose to work at AT&T?
A: Actually, AT&T chose me! After retiring from the Air Force, I became an adjunct faculty instructor, teaching information system security to security officers. I was also working as a security officer for another defense contractor supporting the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). I was actually quite happy working at these jobs when AT&T reached out to recruit me. Today, I can confidently say that deciding to accept AT&T’s offer was one of the best decisions of my life.
Q: What are some of the defining cultural moments you’ve experienced during your lifetime?
A: For me, defining cultural moments began in early childhood. They’ve continued through my adult life through my family’s generations.
My father was a civil rights activist, hailing from Birmingham, Ala. He was part of the youth who marched from the 16th Street Baptist Church. They were beaten and sprayed with water cannons. As a child, Malcolm X lived blocks away from my home in East Elmhurst, Queens. I even had the opportunity to meet him on occasion through my father’s involvement in the Black Nationalist Movement. During my military days, I lived in Hawaii and participated in aspects of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement with my then wife, a native Hawaiian.
However, the most pointed moment for me occurred about a year ago. My daughter and I participated in the Black Lives Matter march in Washington, DC. Hispanics, Asians, white and black people alike gathered. It was remarkable and inspiring to see the diversity. Even more remarkable to me was that my daughter became the 3rd generation in my family to march.
Q: Which qualities are necessary to be an inspiring leader?
A: An inspiring leader shows integrity. They speak with sincerity, honesty and compassion, and they are in touch with reality—which is often overlooked.
Q: What inspires you to work toward making the world a better place?
A: I have travelled the world and met many of its people. Truthfully, I believe that one person can make a difference in the lives of everyone with whom they connect. You just have to care. I care.
Q: What does Black History mean to you?
A: Reflection and knowledge. Reflect on the past in hopes of influencing the future. Strive to learn and understand the struggles of not just black people, but all people of color.
James Nathan, senior systems integrator