In honour of Women's History Month this year, Verizon, in partnership with Global Citizen, spotlighted extraordinary women – from historic leaders to personal connections – who inspire change. Chosen by women leaders, these names represent resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment – embodying the true essence of courage, vision, and empowerment. From groundbreaking tech innovators to compassionate educators, their narratives captivate with a rich tapestry of experiences, showcasing both the depth and diversity of their contributions. Join us in celebrating these remarkable women as we honor their legacies and the spirit of Women's History Month.

Verizon has been a partner of Global Citizen, an action platform dedicated to achieving the end of extreme poverty powered by millions of Global Citizens, since 2018. To learn more about what we’ve accomplished together, visit this link.

Jennifer Artley

Name: Jennifer Artley
Title: Senior Vice President, 5G Acceleration, Verizon Business
Who She’s Inspired By: Temple Grandin

I became inspired by Temple Grandin several years ago after watching a movie about her life. Temple is autistic and grew up in an era where brains like hers weren’t understood. In fact, her early diagnosis was “brain damage,” but her brain worked just fine — just differently.

Temple is a visual thinker. Her brain works in photographic-specific images. This ability served her work well. She studied cattle behavior and the systems being used in commercial slaughterhouses, and her brain could see how elements of movement, light, and design were leading to animal stress and injury — which are both costly for the cattle house and inhumane. She is credited with revolutionizing the process with curved corrals and adaptations, but initially, it wasn’t an easy pitch to ranchers who were stuck in their ways.

In the end, her diverse way of thinking created solutions serving the business, the consumer, and the livestock. When I build teams, I build them with diverse minds. I am less interested in “how we’ve always done it” and more in “how we can do it better and in service of the customer, the business, and the holistic ecosystem.”

Marisol Carabello

Name: Marisol Carabello
Title: Visual Arts Teacher at Hawkins Street School, a
Verizon Innovative Learning school, in Newark, N.J.
Who She’s Inspired By: Dr. Maya Angelou

At 49, I have been fortunate enough to learn about and draw inspiration from a plethora of historic and iconic female figures. Among the myriad of women who have inspired me are artist Frida Kahlo, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and environmental activist Greta Thunberg, all for evident reasons.

That being said, if I were to choose just one overriding inspirational iconic female figure, I would have to say it is Dr. Maya Angelou, also known as Marguerite Annie Johnson. She inspires my love for humanity, respect for all individuals, and deep regard for the human condition. She famously spoke of having many “Rainbows in her Clouds.”

The Rainbows in her Clouds represented all the people throughout her life whom she carried with her in moments when she needed the most support and help. These individuals she held dear came from diverse backgrounds: different races, creeds, religions, genders, abilities, and orientations. Dr. Angelou possessed a profound respect for all human beings. In the spirit of honoring this remarkable icon, I aspire every day to be a Rainbow in Someone's Cloud, as Dr. Maya Angelou so gracefully affirmed. 

V’Esther Goode

Name: V’Esther Goode
Title: Owner of Boomer’s Kitchen and Catering in Philadelphia, PA, and
Verizon Small Business Digital Ready grantee
Who She’s Inspired By: Ms. Robbie from Sweetie Pies

Ms. Robbie from Sweetie Pies (previously aired on OWN Network) is a role model of mine. I used to watch her and observe how she built up her restaurant. I always admired how she ensured her family remained an integral part of her business. That's something I prioritize now in my own life. I ensure my family and closest friends are always with me. When family is present, nothing but love fills your pots and the hearts of your customers. That's my goal — to keep everyone full of food and love when they encounter us.

Crystal Morris

Name: Crystal Morris
Title: Engineer Software Developer at Verizon + Verizon Skill Forward Graduate
Who She’s Inspired By: Daughter, Mariam Aftab

The woman who has inspired me the most is my own daughter, Mariam Aftab. Though younger than me, obviously, I personally know most of her struggles, many of which were much harder than my own. Yet she never gave up, and she fought back against the odds. She knew at a young age that education was the way out of poverty, and she wasn't settling for just getting by. She maintained top grades and graduated from high school, which in my family was a significant achievement. She then paid for and completed her bachelor's degree without any financial help. Securing a career in her field, she remained in that role until she outgrew it. Now, she is preparing to start her master's degree, having taken on a new role that challenges her in ways the previous one didn't. She never quits; giving up is not an option.

Abby Knowles

Name: Abby Knowles
Title: Vice President, Consumer Group IT Technology & Transformation, Verizon
Who She’s Inspired By: Oprah Winfrey

One woman who has inspired me is Oprah Winfrey. As I've followed her story over the years, one thing was clear: Oprah bet on herself. But she also used her self-belief to lift others up around her. She has had a significant impact on not just the lives of people, but also organizations, institutions, and policies, all from the power of believing in herself and doing what she loves most. She has inspired me to take risks and to believe and advocate for myself, especially when others have been unsure of my capabilities. As we emerge into the post-pandemic era and the age of artificial intelligence, we will need to energize and lift up each other  as we chart a new course of how we work and create social impact. We will need to believe in ourselves enough to take risks and build a sustainable world that maximizes the talents of people amidst rapid change. But as a technologist, most importantly for me, it is crucial that we ensure new technologies help amplify the superpowers that humans bring to the world.

Traci Sanders

Name: Traci Sanders 
Title: Vice President, Global Head of DE&I, Verizon
Who She’s Inspired By: Her Mother

Reflecting on the women who have molded my passion and purpose, my thoughts quickly turn to my mother. Her journey, marked by resilience and boundless love, has been the cornerstone of my inspiration. Raising seven children, mostly on her own, she navigated the complexities of balancing work and family with a grace that left a mark on my heart. Her roles often came with rigid schedules, scarcely leaving room for the nurturing moments that knit a young family together. Yet, against these odds, she ensured that we not only survived but thrived, instilling in us the values of empathy, perseverance, and the importance of education. It is a reminder of the collective effort required to foster environments where the work I do to support diversity, equity, and inclusion is not just buzzwords, but the very pillars upon which communities are built.

These extraordinary women exemplify the boundless potential and resilience within each of us. As we celebrate Women's History Month, let’s not only honor these remarkable figures but also embrace the collective journey towards equity and inclusion. Our campaign on Celebrating Women’s Voices serves as a powerful reminder of our shared commitment to amplifying female voices and recognizing their historic contributions. Through initiatives like generating custom email signatures that pay tribute to women who changed history, Verizon inspires both senders and receivers with every message. By highlighting the accomplishments of women throughout history, these messages empower individuals to recognize the power of their own voices and the impact they can make. In these voices lies the power to reshape our world, break barriers, and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow where every individual, regardless of gender or background, can thrive and shine.


Demand Equity

Celebrating Women’s Voices: Verizon Community Leaders Share Their Female Icons