Verizon Wireless (Bedminster, NJ)

Verizon Wireless (Bedminster, NJ)

2004 Employer of Choice Award Winner

Northeast Region

Steve Zipperstein
Steve Zipperstein
General Counsel

Verizon Wireless is the nation’s leading provider of wireless communications. Headquartered in Bedminster, N.J., Verizon Wireless is known for its relentless drive in building and maintaining the nation’s best wireless network-and has over 40 million customers as a result.

Verizon Wireless’ diversity initiatives benefit from that same drive, especially in the legal and external affairs department, headed by General Counsel Steve Zipperstein. Diversity is a critical component of recruiting within the department and the numbers speak for themselves. As of year-end 2003, the legal and external affairs department had 176 employees, including 53 (30 percent) minorities and 100 (57 percent) women. Of the department’s 73 attorneys, 16 (22 percent) are minorities and 34 (47 percent) are women. The department is equally pleased with the improvement shown since the year 2000: The number of minority attorneys has increased by 20 percent.

An aggressive diversity print ad campaign augmented diversity recruiting strategy. In 2003, Verizon Wireless spent more than $320,000 of its recruiting advertising dollars in targeted publications such as Working Mother, Black Enterprise, Latina Style, NSBE, People En Espanol, Hispanic Magazine, Essence, and Saludos Hispanos.

The success of the diversity initiatives at Verizon Wireless and its legal and external affairs department is a business imperative. Verizon Wireless’ CEO, Denny Strigl, has put teeth into the policy: All 45,000 employees at Verizon Wireless have their incentive-based compensation tied to the diversity goals established by senior management at the beginning of each year.

Verizon Wireless believes in conducting business with minorities, women, and the disadvantaged. As indicated by the company, this diverse group provides valuable and competitive products and services. The company contends that utilization of minority businesses contributes to the growth of local, regional, and national economies. Additionally, supplier diversity is part of Verizon Wireless’s overall strategy for growth and brand loyalty.

The company’s diversity efforts have not gone unnoticed, especially its efforts on behalf of women. In 2003, Verizon Wireless was honored with the 2003 Corporate Award of Excellence by the YWCA’s Academy for Women of Achievement in Nashville, Tenn. Verizon Wireless was chosen for its exceptional commitment to women-from its hiring, training, and promotion procedures and benefits package, to its promotion of domestic violence awareness and prevention efforts. (Since 2001, when Verizon Wireless launched its HopeLineSM phone-recycling program, the company has recycled, refurbished, or sold more than two million phones, with all proceeds benefiting victims of domestic violence.) Likewise, because of the positive work environment the company has created for women, in 2002 the company was named by Working Mother magazine as one of the best places in the nation for a mother to work.

At press time, the NY Dinner had not been held. Group photos of the awards winners will appear in the Jan./Feb. 2005 issue of Diversity & the Bar®.

From the November/December 2004 issue of Diversity & The Bar®

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