Suzanne Rosato

CAREER CHOICES

Having attended an engineering school for undergraduate and participating in a co-op, I was sure that I wanted to move a bit away from engineering, and into an area that would allow me to capitalize on my communications skills and facilitate more personal interactions. Working in the technology industry provided the opportunity to continue to capitalize on my technical education while leveraging some business and language skills.

PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS & DRIVE

My passion is to enable my clients to be successful. I take an enormous amount of personal pride in positioning my clients to secure spectacular results from our contract negotiations engagements, and to be recognized within their organizations. I find it extremely rewarding to have grateful, happy clients and repeat engagements are the biggest compliment that I could receive. Knowing that I’ve helped companies secure the best pricing, terms and conditions possible may seem like a minor contribution when compared to other executive responsibilities, but I personally find it extremely fulfilling.

MENTORS & INFLUENCERS

When I was working at AT&T as a Contract Negotiations Manager, I had a mentor who encouraged me to be creative in testing the boundaries of what was approved for inclusion in agreements and develop unique solutions. This went a long way toward giving me the courage and confidence to challenge the way things had been done in the past, and not blindly accept current processes. Later, this mentor left AT&T and began working for a small consulting firm. When he invited me to follow him, I was very nervous to leave the security of a large, stable employer for a small, untested firm. But it turned out to be the best decision I could possibly have made for my career.

MENTORSHIP VALUE

In my opinion, as well as my experience, mentorship is critical to the advancement of women in careers in technology. I don’t believe it has to be women mentoring women, but everyone should seek out one or more individuals for that role. And I believe that we all have an obligation to “pay it back” once we’ve advanced our own careers, by reaching out to others who are beginning their journey to provide that support. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunities that were made available to me that put me on my career path. If there hadn’t been people willing to give me a chance to prove myself in the roles that I have taken on, I wouldn’t have been motivated to go beyond undergraduate studies and I certainly wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today.

ADMIRED LEADERS & TRAILBLAZERS

I am a fan of Sheryl Sandberg and admire her courage in writing “Lean In” and forming the nonprofit Lean In organization. While I do not subscribe to all of the submissions in the book, Ms. Sandberg had to understand that by putting some controversial ideas out there, she would become the focus of some criticism. Regardless of how you feel about the opinions she expressed, the bottom line is that the conversations are necessary, and she advanced communication about some very important topics that society tends to downplay. We need more public forums to discuss the challenges of work/life balance as a woman, as well as more acknowledgment of stigmas around successful women not being “likeable”, etc. I even found value in her chapter titled, “Don’t Ask Anyone to be Your Mentor” where she suggests that you should instead ask for specific advice to solve a problem. She suggests that this will engender much more productive relationships than a simplistic, general plea for mentoring. I admire Sheryl Sandberg for making the effort to share what she had learned and experienced with other women. I believe that she made an effort to effectively “mentor” a multitude of women by sharing specific advice to solve problems that women face.

LEADING THE NEXT GENERATION

The best advice I could offer would be to commit to continuous learning. Whether it is through efforts to learn from colleagues or more formal classes or certifications, a career in technology means change and evolution will be part of your career. Since there are so many varied aspects to the field of technology, there are always opportunities to explore. While specialization can translate to value in an employee, it is up to you to make sure your resume is well- rounded, and that your knowledge is current. Seek out the opportunity to learn on an ongoing basis and it will serve you well.

ADVANCING GENDER PARITY

Picking just one challenge is difficult, but I believe that the model that has resulted in inroads for women in STEM in general has applicability in the technology industry. A lot of effort has been made to introduce girls to STEM when they are young, but, in my opinion, that leaves a gap for the girls who might be interested in the technology industry. The messaging for the technology industry is that you don’t have to love math or science or want to be an engineer. There are so many career paths in the technology industry that don’t require that focus! Sheryl Sandberg majored in economics in college. When I’m asked by one of my college aged daughter’s female friends what I do for a living, their eyes glaze over as I try to explain. However, my college age son’s male friends seem to understand. They have been introduced to the idea of a technical career in high school, while the high school girls have not. Basically, the “girls in STEM” efforts need to be broadened to include technology roles such as project management and IT management. The more girls that enter the pipeline to these careers, the more progress there will be toward gender equity in organizational leadership.

About Suzanne Rosato

I began my career as a Contract Negotiations Manager with AT&T, representing their interests in negotiations of telecommunications and data network agreements with large, global customers. For the second half of my career, I’ve been “on the other side of the table”, working as a consultant to assist Fortune 500 companies with their negotiations with providers such as AT&T, Verizon, etc. The insider knowledge I have from my background with a major carrier has positioned me well to secure best in class agreements for G2’s clients. I’m an attorney and have specialized in terms and conditions throughout my career.

Achievements & Recognition

  • M.B.A. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, J.D. from University of Connecticut School of Law
  • Member of the bar in New York State and Connecticut

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