Career Choices

I got a job through a blind ad in the New York Times that turned out to be with New York Telephone. I worked there and at Southwestern Bell as a service representative in the business office supporting residential and then business accounts. After that I worked as a project manager for a small consulting firm in New York City. When they closed in 1979, I was able to hold onto some of the clients I had been working for and that was the start of Digby 4 Group.

Professional Interests & Drive

I never think of anything as a passion other than being in love. However, I do feel strongly about doing a good job for our clients and contributing to the communications technology industry. We keep our Digby 4 clients for a long time which is rewarding, so we are good at maintaining long-term relationships. I have had some clients over 30 years.

Mentors & Influencers

Cannot think of one particular mentor, but I had a few that helped me to get going in the early part of my business. They were mostly owners of interconnected companies, selling business telephone systems, which was a new concept in the 1970s. Before that, organizations rented their telephone systems from “the phone company.”

Mentorship Value

Mentorship in general is important to helping others get started in their careers. I can point to many women and some men too, whom I mentored although I did not think of it as mentoring. But by working with me or being inspired by what I was doing in some way, these people were motivated to pursue careers in telecommunications.

Admired Leaders & Trailblazers

Hmmm – maybe Ellen Hancock with IBM. She was ahead of the curve. I also used to belong to an organization called Empire Women in Telecommunications whose president was Beau Holland. They were trailblazers of sorts. So many women out there in technology now that it would be hard to pick.

Advancing Gender Parity

Work hard and be willing to do menial jobs first to get a foothold. I still am willing to do what some may consider menial, but it helps with success. For example, I take good notes and they type them up and distribute them to meeting participants. Everyone loves it.

Leading the Next Generation

Hopefully by this time in history, people who are doing the hiring are enlightened enough to pick the best person for the job, regardless of whether that’s a male or female. If they are not, then you probably do not want to work for them (or with them) anyway.

About Jane Laino

Jane Laino is founder, owner, and president of Digby 4 Group, Inc., a professional services firm based in New York City. Digby 4 was an old Wall Street telephone exchange in the days when telephone numbers started with letters instead of numbers. Digby 4 helps clients manage communications technology expenses, contracts, and inventories for fixed, mobile and cloud communications. Jane is a graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York and an active member of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants International. She has published several industry books and writes for the No Jitter website.

Achievements & Recognition

  • Member of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants International
  • Digby 4 Group, Inc. is certified as a Woman Owned Business by WBENC

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