Better team dynamics. Increased innovation. Enhanced performance. These are just a few reasons why placing women in leadership roles is becoming increasingly important to the vitality of large corporations and businesses.
Despite benefits from greater gender diversity many industries, including Telecommunications, often miss the mark when it comes to understanding the value of placing women in leadership positions.
According to a recent study by Harvard University, the percentage of women in telecommunication companies was significantly tied to a company’s market value. A 10% increase in gender diversity related to a roughly 7% increase in market value.
“There’s absolutely no question that this is a male-dominated industry and women in the industry have to prove themselves. But once you do, the sky is the limit,” said Laurie Caruso, Founder and CEO of Safe-Fi Technologies, a consulting firm for public safety in-building solutions.
Caruso, a telecommunication industry veteran, provides consulting and financing options for building owners dealing with the onerous burden of installing public safety in-building DAS systems.
Caruso says women bring a more innovative approach to the industry. “Women are wired differently, and this brings a different thought process and dimension to a project. We have the ability to multi-task and think outside the box.”
Caruso has spent decades working with enterprise customers and carrier providers managing the cellular infrastructure for high-profile clients and some of the largest accounts in the industry, including working with the NFL, individual stadium and arena owners, and commercial property owners. She says women managers are more willing to take risks and push new ideas.
“With fear comes resistance. Women in the industry are less fearful because they have to prove themselves again and again in order to stand out from their male peers. Over time, this makes us far less concerned about keeping things status quo,” Caruso said.
Caruso talked about a high-profile project that entailed creating a Wi-Fi stadium deployment for a top customer.
“I had a large arena Wi-Fi deployment. Being a male-dominated industry, there was some resistance. Our willingness to think outside of the box and identify the right players enabled our team to provide a Wi-Fi network while delivering a true fan experience,” said Caruso.
“I help my customers to solve every single pain point along the way. My customer-centric focus has helped me segue into other projects. Venue and building owners are faced with similar challenges and word of mouth is a powerful thing,” Caruso added.
It’s the same passion and tenacity to help customers solve problems that brought Caruso to her most recent call to action: helping building owners solve public safety issues.
“Let’s face it, there’s great risk in public safety. There’s the potential loss of life,” said Caruso. “I want to support and help building owners to build safer buildings for both first responders and building occupants. I want building owners to know that there are affordable and viable solutions which can help them mitigate challenges related to mandated code enforcement and budgeting constraints.”
Caruso has three pieces of advice for women in the telecommunications industry: “Keep learning. With education comes confidence, so never stop learning about this ever-changing industry. Don’t be afraid to ask your peers questions; these experts will help you to become an expert. Network and meet as many people as you can in the industry. You never know when you will need them or more importantly when they might need you.”
Senior management should encourage more women to take on leadership roles and trust that women can do the job. When women are given an opportunity, they are likely to contribute for an entire lifetime, Caruso said.
“I have had many opportunities to exit this industry throughout my career. While challenges definitely exist, I never gave up and I knew that I could beat the odds. And now that I have proven myself, I have the confidence to not only stay in the industry but also start my own company, Safe-Fi Technologies,” she said.