In Personal Board of Directors, top business leaders talk about the people they turn to for advice, and how those people have shaped their perspective and helped them succeed. Previous installments from the series are here.
Tami Erwin, the highest ranked woman at Verizon Communications Inc., keeps a lightbulb signed by a key mentor so she never forgets that colleague’s counsel.
Verizon executive Lowell McAdam gave her the bulb in 2006 after he noticed a dark sign outside a store in her region. “She needed to see how the details could make a difference,’’ explains Mr. McAdam, who went on to become chairman and chief executive of the company.
“I look at that lightbulb almost every day,’’ says Ms. Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business Group, a unit with $31 billion of revenue in 2020. “I am reminded to seek problems and solve them.’’ Her division, based in Basking Ridge, N.J., provides wireless and landline phone services, internet connectivity, security and other technology solutions to businesses.
Ms. Erwin took charge of the global unit in 2019—more than three decades after she joined the telecom industry as a wireless customer-service representative making $20,000 a year. Her 2020 compensation totaled about $8.3 million.