Since our beginnings in wireless over 10 years ago, our team has been deeply aware that the telecommunications workforce has traditionally been dominated by men. The GSMA even reports that only 31% of senior leadership positions in the telecom world are held by women, with closer to 40% in entry or staff roles.
With International Women’s Day right around the corner on March 8th, we spoke with Executive Vice President Iris Dawson to talk about how telecom leaders can create a company culture that grows and empowers women.
As a leader at inRange, Iris Dawson is paving the way for women in the industry. In her role as EVP, Iris is responsible for the overall health of the company, overseeing finance and operations of the organization, and collaborating with the marketing and sales teams. Over the last eight years Iris has grown with inRange moving from her initial role as a project coordinator into site acquisitions, project management, and now, the leadership team. In addition to being a strong leader at inRange, Iris was a finalist for Sitetracker’s Most Influential Woman in Telecom award.
Through her time with inRange, Iris is proud to both learn from and contribute to building a culture that supports, guides, and mentors women. She even reports that throughout inRange’s growth over the last two decades, they have begun to close the gender gap in telecom, with 47% of our roles being filled by women. Here are four insights to how telecom leaders can continue to create opportunities for women in the industry:
Create a foundation of care, trust, and accountability.
Iris was the first woman on the team, joining the inRange crew in their initial talks around a kitchen table. From the beginning everyone around that table was equally committed to rolling up their sleeves and getting the critical work done. By sharing this mentality and drive, this core team became close. They lived by the mantra “work hard, play hard” and made sure they each had the flexibility for guilt-free time for parent-teacher conferences, soccer games, and family time. For Iris, it’s this flexibility and trust that has allowed her to be the proud class mom at her children's school for six years running. These humble beginnings established a foundation based on respect, accountability, and care—a foundation that set the tone for the company as it grew and still drives how it is managed today.
Welcome employees from unique backgrounds.
As Iris puts it, she kind of fell into the world of telecommunications. Her roots were actually in dance, both performing for the New York City Ballet and teaching ballroom classes. As she’s grown in her roles with inRange, the self-discipline and drive she had in the studio have contributed to her growth and success. Now, in addition to Iris, a number of core inRange team members have come from backgrounds outside the telecommunications realm, from customer service experts to training specialists at Tiffany & Co. Our openness to provide people with different professional experiences and unique backgrounds the opportunity to bring their perspectives to the business has both attracted a diverse candidate pool and created a company culture where people want to learn, grow, and contribute to inRange’s success.
Find the right place for people that shine.
In addition to hiring employees with unique backgrounds, one of the things that Iris is proud to share about inRange is the leadership team’s deep commitment to employee growth. Our leaders take the time to get to know our people, to ensure that each employee is filling a role that is not only beneficial to our customers and our organizations, but also fulfilling to each individual employee. Through her time at inRange, Iris has experienced these growth opportunities first hand. In her current role, the leadership team saw potential to grow the finance department and with Iris’ years of experience improving processes and managing operations, she was the perfect fit for the financial side of the business.
Invest in and mentor your people.
Guidance and mentorship are core to building up the inRange teams, especially for women in the organization. When Iris first started working with inRange, the leadership team encouraged her to partake in a mentorship program where she was partnered with a successful female CEO. After her positive experience, inRange now encourages all women employees to participate in a mentorship program as well as the Women in Wireless Leadership Forum to learn from and connect with other female leaders in the industry.
Are you interested in being a part of the inRange success story? We’d love to hear from you. Visit our careers page to explore our current list of job openings.