James May-June 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 29
HIL KENT You were raised by a single
mother, one of 10 siblings, and credit her
for giving you the confidence and drive to succeed in
corporate America. What did she say or do to motivate you?
Interviewed by Phil Kent
VENESSA HARRISON, A NATIVE OF RALEIGH,
NORTH CAROLINA, FELL IN LOVE WITH
GEORGIA DECADES AGO. SHE BEGAN HER
TELECOMMUNICATIONS CAREER AS A
TELEPHONE OPERATOR, RISING THROUGH
VENESSA HARRISON From my mother’s example, I
learned a work ethic and a determination that has
been essential to me in life, including the business
world. She taught us at an early age the importance
of walking in our truth and never allowing someone
to define us with their own interpretation of who
they thought we were.
Throughout my life, I have worked hard, held myself
to high standards and let my mother’s words “beginnings do not define you” echo every step of my way.
I am grateful for my mother’s example and the support provided by her and other intentional leaders who
used their voices to advocate for me, and others like
me, until we had a seat and— more importantly— a
voice at the table. I firmly believe to whom much is given, much is required and know the best ideas are never
wholly successful by themselves. It takes a diverse
team with diverse minds and diverse talents to realize
Today I am incredibly proud to serve as president of
AT&T Georgia, working in a company with diversity,
inclusion and belonging at the core of what we do.
KENT You took the helm of AT&T Georgia when the
telecommunications company completed its merger
with Time Warner. Dallas is the corporate headquarters, yet Atlanta continues to be a vital AT&T center and a big Georgia employer. What are AT&T’s
overall goals, especially as we recover from a rough
HARRISON For 142 years, AT&T has been committed
to the strength and vitality of Georgia. This state is
an enduring part of our company’s past, a key aspect
of our company’s present and vitally important to our
company’s future. And, personally, after decades of
aiming to move here, I am especially proud to call Atlanta home and to be part of the AT&T, WarnerMedia
and Cricket family.
With corporate goals, the strength of AT&T’s
business and how we define our purpose is creating
connections. We connect people with each other,
with what they need to thrive and with the stories
and experiences that matter most
to them. To that end, we are focused on three primary objectives:
THE COMPANY RANKS IN POSITIONS OF
• Leveraging our world-class fiber
and wireless infrastructure to carry
more broadband traffic and serve
more customers than any other U.S.
company. Last year, we added more
than 1 million fiber subscribers and,
this year, we plan to increase our
fiber network by 3 million locations.
We have successfully rolled out nationwide 5G, further strengthening
our wireless network, which was
already recognized as the best and
fastest in the United States. And we
continue to expand FirstNet, the first
INCREASING RESPONSIBILITY. SINCE
DECEMBER 2018, SHE HAS BEEN AT THE
HELM OF AT&T GEORGIA. MARRIED WITH TWO
ADULT CHILDREN AND ONE GRANDCHILD,
VENESSA HARRISON IS PASSIONATE ABOUT
EQUITY OF OPPORTUNITY AND ACTIVE IN
MULTIPLE GEORGIA BUSINESS, EDUCATIONAL
AND CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS.
continued on page 30
M AY/JUNE 2021
VENESSA HARRISON AT THE ATLANTA UNIVERSITY CENTER
CONSORTIUM (AUCC) NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION.
MAY/ J UN E 2 0 2 1