Honoring Black Leaders in the Telecom Space

March 1, 2023

It’s Black History Month!

Every year in February, the United States celebrates black people by commemorating their achievements and central role in U.S. history. It is a tradition that originated in 1915 when a noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans began the Association for the Study of African American Life and history. And since 1976, every U.S. president has designated the month of February as Black History Month.

Black Leaders in Telecom and Their Achievements

In honor of Black History Month, we’re highlighting some of the great black leaders in telecom and their achievements. Some were at the forefront of making notable innovations, and some are still providing their immense contributions to improve the telecom space.

Read on to learn more about these innovative leaders.

  • Lisa Gelobter

Lisa Gelobter is a computer scientist who played a crucial role in developing Shockwave, which allowed for animation on the internet, as well as contributing to the rise of online video and working on the launch of Hulu.

Her experience ranges from tech to policy, including working at the White House and as the Chief Digital Service Officer for the Department of Education.

Lisa is now the CEO and Founder of tEQuitable, a platform that helps companies create a safe, inclusive, and equitable workplace. Thanks to her, we can now enjoy animated GIFs and videos online.

  • Samme L. Thompson

Since August 2005, Samme L. Thompson has been an American Tower Director, serving on the Compensation Committee from May 2006 to May 2019 and as Chairperson from May 2009 to May 2019.

Mr. Thompson has a wealth of experience in the industry, having worked for companies such as Motorola, AT&T Information Systems, and Kidder, Peabody & Co. He is currently the President of Telit Associates, Incorporated, and has served on the Board of Directors of Spok Holdings, Inc. until July 2020.

  • Mathew Thornton, III

In November 2020, Mathew Thornton, III was appointed to the Crown Castle Board. He previously served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of FedEx Freight Corporation, a FedEx Corporation subsidiary.

Mr. Thornton joined FedEx Corporation in 1978 and held several management roles, including Senior Vice President of U.S. Operations and Senior Vice President of Air, Ground, and Freight Services. He also serves on the board of directors of Sherwin-Williams Company and the board of trustees of Nuveen funds.

  • John W. Thompson

John W. Thompson has had a notable tech career, starting as a salesperson at IBM and ultimately becoming the general manager of IBM Americas. He later served as CEO of Virtual Instruments and Symantec. He serves as Chairman of Microsoft, a position he’s held since 2014. Additionally, he has made significant investments in the next generation of technology.

  • William E. Kennard

William E. Kennard served as Chairman of the FCC during President Clinton’s administration, where he played a major role in the proliferation of wireless phones and internet access. He later served as the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union under President Obama, focusing on improving US-EU economic relations.

During his tenure as FCC Chairman, he advocated for underserved populations, implemented the FCC’s e-rate program, and expanded access to communications technology for people with disabilities.

Kennard is currently the Chairman of the board of directors of AT&T and serves on the boards of directors of Ford Motor Company and MetLife, and is a member of the board of trustees of Yale University.

Let’s Celebrate these Heroes

There are many black leaders in the telecom sector to be celebrated. But we’ve only named a few. We thank them for their enormous contributions to society.

If you are looking for a job in the telecom space, check out our open positions today. At NextGen/GTA, we are one of North America’s largest telecom consulting firms, providing comprehensive high-value engineering, technology, and business consulting solutions. Contact us to learn about our services.

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