Amanda Todd

Career Choices

It is possible that the technology industry chose me, for as a young person I was interested in joining a company that provided great benefits and training, and I found these requirements within New York Telephone Company. As the years progressed, I realized that technology became my career. Additionally, as I continued to learn and grow within the network and telecommunications world, I realized that when given the opportunity, I could transition my skillset to other arenas. I transitioned from being the vendor to the public sector, hence, an urban Public School system. This gave me the opportunity to use my skillset to work within an entirely different arena and shine. For example, I was able to review contracts that Verizon put in place and see how they helped the public sector. I continue to embark on new skillsets as my technology career continues to thrive.

Professional Interests & Drive

My passion is working within a team where each person has a voice and is valued. Each team member is an arm waving them until we collectively gather solutions. Far too many people don’t value others as I do, but I realize that the table should include many different ideas and strategies. I love the term “dream team” brainstorming until we all win. I pride myself on working with the strongest and weakest link. Regardless of formal training (or age) when set in place, you are surprised at what each has to contribute. Feeling left out and undervalued creates the type of environment that fails. My goal is to begin every project with a clean slate and team that wants to be exactly where they are. I do reflect on what went wrong (when necessary) – but every day is a new start to get it right. My passion is to treat each person like I want to be treated and keep it moving.

Mentors & Influencers

I have had many mentors in my extensive telecommunication career. I can remember many people who pulled me to the side and said to me, “let me help you get it right,” and grateful I am for their help. Yet today, although I continue my journey and pay it forward when I can, I can say my mentors have been all of the millennials that work on my team. I value each and every one for keeping me abreast of new technology and coaching me when I want to earn a new certification (CISCO). Many seasoned employees don’t value them, but I do and scream it from the rooftop each chance I get. We must continue to value and understand what they bring to the table. I continue to be the subject matter expert on many levels, but they bring new technology my way, I study it and incorporate it when possible. What a team we have, seasoned employees and millennials working side by side, my dream team.

Mentorship Value

Mentorship is very important to supporting and advancing the careers of women in technology. This cannot happen if we don’t provide women with safe spaces to learn, grow and cultivate ideas. Mentorship provides just that. I charge anyone who is passionate about the advancement of women in technology and changing the landscape of the field to make investments in the development of diverse talent. It is great to see women advancing and bridging the gap, but men still make up the majority of the decision making in this field. It is time for each person regardless of gender orientation to take this pledge. Women can do it all – and we are proving it each and every day.

Admired Leaders & Trailblazers

As a woman of color, there are many I admire whom I consider to be trailblazers. Ursula Burns is a trailblazer that we all should admire. She was the first black women to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. This is visibly so important for young women that aspire to be leaders. Her story is relatable and inspiring, as one who also grew up in New York City, my hat continues to go off to her. She had a humble beginning and worked very hard and wasn’t given shortcuts on her way to the c-suite. I also love what Bozoma St. John is doing. It’s inspiring to see a woman show up as herself and be so successful. It is another example for young women of color to look at and see a bit of themselves at the table.

Advancing Gender Parity

Thirty years ago, this would not have been a question asked. Many of us were sat down and told to reach for the stars, but today it is said with conviction. Today when we sit our girls down and let them know they can be whatever they choose to be in our democratic society, it’s obtainable. They now see people who look like them in positions of power and leadership. One piece of advice would be to become an independent thinker and go with your gut. Working towards those harder goals will reap the greatest benefits in the long run. Many of us have not and will not have the opportunity to be thrust into positions because of who we know, but aligning ourselves with organizations that we believe in is a good start. Volunteer and seek internships and most of all, network with those who have similar goals. Sometimes standing alone is a good thing, it gives you time to think. I tend to jot down my goals and beliefs constantly, for seeing them in writing puts a fire in me, perhaps it would do the same for someone else.

Leading the Next Generation

What is needed is training and opportunity. Technology is a white-male-dominated arena, which typically keeps women and minorities out. This may be because of the large incomes that can be generated and the prestigiousness of developing new concepts, which become new products for sale. Many times, women in particular are given a hard time throughout college because they are weeded out in certain course. The discouragement that this promotes keeps them away from the opportunity to provide for themselves and help support their families. So, more real mentorships are needed in order to combat this situation. Additionally, more supportive organizations and companies that provide study groups that will help them over these difficult changes. You also need an opportunity to work in your chosen field, to put those new skills to work. Real internships and workplace mentors will assist with the application of the newly minted degrees.

Additionally, mentoring on the high school level – for many great paying technical careers don’t start with college degrees. As many are not college bound, discussing certifications and internships will help bring many young minds into organizations who didn’t know jobs existed for them. Gender equity is obtainable, but each person must reach back and pull one person up at a time.

About Amanda Todd

Amanda Todd is a seasoned telecommunications professional who has dedicated herself to providing excellent customer service as a vendor and now as a customer. Working with Verizon (formally New York Telephone and Bell Atlantic), Amanda was given the opportunity to grow in her craft and embark on a journey from the Northeast to the South with ease. She prides herself on being a team player regardless if I am in a classroom or conference room, working together has always been my motto.

Achievements & Recognition

  • Bachelor of Science – Business Administration
  • Graduate Degree Telecommunications
  • Graduate Certificate Aging Studies
  • Master of Business Administration
  • CWA Local 2201 – Executive Board
  • Post Baccalaureate Certificate
  • Real Estate and Land Development
  • Licensed Health and Life Insurance Agent

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