WIA Celebrates Noteworthy Women In Wireless Infrastructure

Each year, it is an honor to learn more about the women of the wireless infrastructure industry as WIA celebrates International Women’s Day March 8 and Women’s History Month throughout March.

This year, WIA asked women at our member companies to reflect on their most memorable achievement during their career in the wireless infrastructure industry. We heard from women who have been actively engaged in the industry over many years, as well as those who are new to it. We heard from women who are influencing regulations that impact the industry, those who are shaping the technologies that make connections happen, and those who are building relationships that will allow the industry to grow.

Year after year, the women of the wireless infrastructure industry highlight teamwork and helping communities around the world stay connected along with personal and professional achievements among their most memorable moments.

Teri Borders

Director of Infrastructure Development

Tilson Infrastructure

The pandemic has highlighted how necessary and dependent we are on connectivity. It’s shown us where the weaknesses and deficiencies are in the wireless industry. We now find ourselves with more opportunity than ever before, and it’s not tied to just a small customer base, as it once had been. During the height of the pandemic, my previous company was acquired. It was stressful on so many levels because of the timing. I unexpectedly found myself having to decide which path to take, whether to stay or leave. I took the leap and started a new position with Tilson Infrastructure. How could I know through a series of zoom calls if it would be the right fit? In the end, it was the best decision. The right leadership, the right team, and the right culture: all of which I’ve come to appreciate so much more as I’ve advanced in my career. It’s exciting to see where the next few years will take us as a company.

Michelle Brea

General Counsel, Latin America & Caribbean, Legal Operations

Phoenix Tower International

Among all the challenging and memorable experiences, I can say that the biggest challenge was working remotely for almost 2 years during the COVID-19 Pandemic and overcoming obstacles such as lockdown measures in several countries where we do business in, health issues, delays in obtaining government documents, and general uncertainty while we kept the business running. I am very proud of my team and how we have soared through all the obstacles, stress, health issues, family issues, and still managed to close important contracts for the business, making sure PTI’s interest were always protected and working together as one to meet our business goals with integrity and passion.

Elizabeth Dabdoub

Mechanical Engineer


In 2020, after graduating with an MS in Mechanical Engineering, I got my first job at viaPhoton, a fiber solutions provider specializing in end-to-end connectivity. viaPhoton values moving ideas forward through teamwork and innovation, which gave me the confidence and strong foundation to work on their Overvoltage Protection Box (OVP). I felt empowered to take risks and think outside of the box while creating my first commercial product. After many test builds and samples, we finalized a new design, filed for the patent, and quickly received our first order. It was both thrilling and daunting when the order came through for something I had designed. With the team’s support, we have successfully shipped and deployed multiple OVPs on cell towers across the U.S. I feel fortunate to have had this experience only 18 months into the job and consider it my most significant professional achievement thus far.

Kelly C. Day

VP, Human Resources and Community Initiatives

Phoenix Tower International

There are myriad reasons to be proud of a team that has quadrupled our business in just a few years and that now is a wireless infrastructure leader in more than 18 countries. At the core of our success is a company value which I am especially honored to lead – our philanthropic giving through the Wings Foundation. With Blackstone Group’s support, we have built an organization that gives more than $1 million a year to 40+ impactful nonprofit organizations in 20 countries. Focused on a mission to provide children and underserved rural areas with wireless connectivity, computer equipment, and other educational tools, we are dedicated to the next generation of this industry and this planet. In 2022, we will be building libraries, computer labs, and volunteering thousands of hours of time in various markets. We have created a special microcosm of kind team members who look to do the right thing with integrity and passion.  I feel deeply connected to each and every person at PTI and I applaud their dedication, skill, and, heart.

Shannon Dominguez

Senior Associate

DigitalBridge Investment Management

There have been many memorable moments throughout my career, but a unique and meaningful one happened just recently; it is the difference people at the firm have made over the last years.

I joined DigitalBridge about one month before the pandemic lockdown. Transitioning to a remote environment in a new role was certainly a challenge, but I was fortunate to work alongside colleagues who went out of their way to ensure I had a positive experience. As a result, in 2021, I was able to help consummate DigitalBridge’s investments in both Boingo Wireless and Landmark Dividend.

Before the pandemic, I never would have guessed it was possible to accomplish so much in a remote environment. It’s incredibly rewarding to work in a company and industry that powers the digital ecosystem, allowing us to remain connected during such challenging times.

Julie Furber

Executive Vice President – Smart Buildings


My most memorable achievements in wireless infrastructure involve helping the industry understand that wireless needs wire — and needs better wire. Cabling (layer 0) is often overlooked in wireless network designs, but it’s actually the most crucial component of a wireless network. A wireless network is only as good as the cables that connect the equipment. If you want your wireless to work — and you want happy and connected users — then you need cabling and connectivity that offers excellent throughput and maximum uptime. There are six specific wireless infrastructure achievements that rise to the top of my list:

  1. Through Belden’s involvement with the Communications Cable and Connectivity Association (CCCA), we helped make sure that the INFORM Consumers Act and the SHOP SAFE Act were included in the America COMPETES Act to create opportunities for manufacturing and technology.
  2. Being recognized as a top-tier company for TIA standards development contributions, engagement and leadership.
  3. Developing Digital Electricity™ Cables to safely extend data and power to end devices with higher speeds and across longer distances.
  4. Working with other manufacturers to define new UL standards and helping define Class 4 cabling for inclusion in the 2023 National Electrical Code.
  5. Joining three wireless organizations — WIA, NATE and IWPC — to make sure we’re always in the know about wireless infrastructure and deployment so we can pass information on to our customers and the industry.
  6. Making it easier to design in-building wireless networks by making Belden’s core products available as part of the iBwave Design and Ranplan software platforms.

Leslie Wolff Golden

Global Head of Capital Formation and Investor Relations, Investment Management

DigitalBridge Investment Management

Closing the third-largest infrastructure fund in 2021 and DigitalBridge’s second flagship vehicle DigitalBridge Partners II (DBP II) at $8.3bn (exceeding our target raise by over $2 billion) has been an incredible achievement. The largest dedicated digital fund ever, raised in less than 18 months, is an incredible testimony to DigitalBridge’s expertise and level of specialization, and at the same time, it shows the compelling opportunities investors see in the digital infrastructure space. 

Working across our global LP base, driving many new relationships and expanding existing ones, has allowed me to experience first-hand how digital infrastructure has become pivotal in the time of COVID and will extend into the future.

In addition, DigitalBridge’s co-investment program continues to be prolific, underscoring the firm’s ability to work closely with investors as they increase their allocation in the sector.

I have enjoyed a successful career in private equity, and I recognize it has been a harder path for women. At DigitalBridge I have found a place where I can continue to grow as an executive, have a seat at the table, and continue to mentor women as we expand our investment Management platform.

Aura Greenberg

SVP, Data & Analytics

Crown Castle

As part of the wireless ecosystem, Crown Castle contributes to the technology innovation that changes the way people live, work and play. Since joining Crown Castle, my team’s focus has been on using digital technology to strategically and continuously improve how we support Crown Castle teams and our customers. Our ongoing journey has taken us to accelerate our work in machine learning, automation, enterprise data management, and other latest technology to help Crown Castle employees and our customers navigate the opportunities and challenges of today and tomorrow, particularly as 5G continues to scale, bringing next-gen use cases.

Beyond the technology itself, the most memorable part this journey has been the evolution from a traditional view of IT to a strategic view on technology and how it can support our business.  At its core, this is about tightly integrating our teams so we can combine Crown Castle’s expertise with key digital technology skills and aim that collective talent at our most pressing opportunities to use technology to innovate how we support and serve our customers. How can we use digital technology to deploy networks faster, and more efficiently? How can data help us be proactive in understanding and addressing our customer needs? It may sound ironic, but I view Crown Castle’s digital and technology journey as a journey about people – how our teams work together, how we organize our work and teams, how we use our existing know-how while we also build new skills, and how we stay nimble to accelerate technology’s strategic role in our business. We are a company about connections and connectivity – something so innately human – it is only fitting that connecting people be at the focus for our own digital and technology journey.

Jessica DeSimone Gyllstrom


Telecommunications Law Professionals PLLC

Many experiences throughout my career at TLP have made me proud to be an attorney in the wireless industry. I enjoy working with wireless service providers to ensure that they are offering resilient and reliable networks to consumers throughout the country. I also get to help innovators develop, craft and advocate important policy changes in this fast moving industry, whether it involves pushing to remove unnecessary barriers to infrastructure deployment or encouraging the allocation of additional government funding for services that are increasingly essential to public. This rang especially true over the past few years during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, I represent a wireless company that provides telecommunications services to some of the most remote and rural communities in the country. These services offer critical telehealth solutions, which allow residents access to medical specialists that may otherwise not be available due to travel, weather or cost. They also offer distance-learning solutions that provide K-12 students the opportunity to expand their education through participation in state-wide spelling bees and science fairs, or via virtual instruction from experts in various fields. In many instances, these telecom services are the only form of connection for such remote communities – representing a lifeline and the sole ability to contact first responders and public safety. These were obviously important services before the pandemic, but COVID created an astronomical increase in demand, and the need for increased capacity and reliability became even more critical.  For this client and others, devising support plans for wireless infrastructure, increasing spectrum efficiency and seeking various forms of emergency authorizations became common areas of focus in my practice.  Helping our wireless clients manage these unprecedented demands within the confines of a regulated industry has been extremely rewarding, and has allowed me an opportunity to give back to these communities in a time of need.      

Lazara Hurd

Director of Leasing

Phoenix Tower International

I am a new entrant to the wireless infrastructure industry having joined in 2018 after a long career in Commercial and Corporate Real Estate. What has stood out for me throughout is the corporate social responsibility found in the industry. It has been truly memorable to witness and participate in charitable events alongside our competitors or working alongside colleagues to deliver unique business solutions to our customers big or small. I would certainly encourage anyone coming from a different industry to not shy away from pursuing impactful solutions as I have found that applying my real estate knowledge alongside the industry knowledge from my colleagues has provided fertile ground to support our customers in unique ways. From the deployment of a new entrant to the Jamaica market , an IOT Solutions in North America to assisting our customers in LATAM achieve demanding corporate strategies both at a local or regional level.

Chelsea Kovacs

Business Development Manager

SFC Energy

Working within the wireless infrastructure industry brings its own unique challenges  – and a specific challenge in my mind is when we deployed a 500W EFOY Pro 12000 Duo Fuel Cell inside of a communication building on a mountaintop site requiring substantial power 24/7. This mountain side communications site saw a significant drop-off in the solar availability during the snowy winter months and the power demands needed to keep the equipment operational were not being met – which is where EFOY came in. Built in anti-freeze protection, no maintenance, and a Drop Deployable -40 Degree Celcius rated Nema 3R Pre-Packaged solution allowed our client the peace of mind needed to operate in this remote, snowy, and often frigid location. I thrive under unique challenges, and being able to support a customer who had substantial communication issues – on a mountain no less – was project that will always stand out in my mind!

Trisha Koyanagi

Managing Director, Treasury


As an investor in digital infrastructure, DigitalBridge has never been busier. The rapid expansion of online education and health services, e-commerce, and remote working has highlighted the importance and increased demand for connectivity.

From a Treasury perspective, overcoming this challenge, two years ago, during the pandemic, when in-person alternatives where impossible looked daunting. However, technology, allowed us to automate the payment process from start to finish, including functions like scanning, processing, and determining the appropriate business unit approver. It was the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that enabled the Accounts Payable (AP) team to become reviewers rather than processors.  I am happy to report, that in 2021, the Treasury team processed over 45k payments and $120bn worldwide.

DigitalBridge’s robust treasury team has become an area where we can mentor and inspire young women who continue to move forward in a role that has been predominately male dominated.

Victoria Lamberth

Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer

ZenFi Networks

ZenFi Networks is the wireless infrastructure partner to the LinkNYC project. LinkNYC is a public-private partnership that replaces public pay phones across New York City with public communications structures called “Links.” Each Link provides high-speed free public Wi-Fi, nationwide calling, USB charging, and tablet services for access to City services – all at no cost to the taxpayers of New York City. The program is funded through advertising on two LCD panels on the Links along with wireless siting revenue. Since its inception in 2016, LinkNYC users have logged billions of Wi-Fi sessions, tens of millions of free phone calls, and saved hundreds of millions in data costs. Perhaps most notably, in a survey of Wi-Fi users during COVID, approximately 30 percent of those users stated the LinkNYC network was their sole source of access to high-speed broadband. The infrastructure provided by the project is a necessity in New York City, and a bridge to accessing the digital world.

In 2021, ZenFi Networks worked hand-in-hand with CityBridge and the City of New York to re-imagine the LinkNYC program to include wireless siting for 5G. As part of this expansion of the program, we’ve worked with our partners to design Link5G, an innovative wireless siting solution with five RF transparent transmission bays, four equipment bays and two utility bays all concealed in a sleek, cutting-edge design. By adding a multi-tenant, multi-technology siting solution as a toolkit for carriers in New York City, we’ve provided a necessary expansion of siting solutions to solve for the ultra-densification of wireless networks.

With the expansion of Link5G, we now have a funding model to expand the LinkNYC program into more areas of New York City. This means more coverage via free outdoor public Wi-Fi, more high-capacity fiber infrastructure providing competitive access to more areas of the city, and more access to city services and nationwide calling for our residents.

Being part of a program like LinkNYC has been a privilege for me personally. Our team and partners have designed a revolutionary structure, worked together to reimagine a public-private partnership, and are solving both our customer needs and the needs of our community by bridging the digital divide with access to free high speed Wi-Fi.

Most recently we celebrated the opening of our first indoor Wi-Fi facility enabled through the LinkNYC Wi-Fi Network. As part of our franchise with the City of New York, we are building these gigabit centers in each of the 5 boroughs. Seeing a physical space brought to life and knowing the impact it will have on our community has been both exciting and humbling. Access to broadband service is a necessity, and too many of our neighbors and colleagues live in areas where high speed broadband access is not yet a reality. It’s been very meaningful for me and my team to find a way to help bridge this digital divide, while furthering our business interests. It truly feels like a win-win and we’re excited to see the program expand in New York and beyond.

Kelly Lazuka

President, Wireless Services


Building an innovative, robust centralized front-end services model, I needed a huge team and I needed it quickly.  Initially hiring over 80 recruits and a couple hundred more in the following four years, many without any industry experience, I also needed to create a robust, comprehensive training program. I could say that my greatest achievement was assembling and training this largely inexperienced team and watch them grow into a high-performing group that was highly sought after by customers in our industry.  However, my greatest achievement and proudest moments are still happening today, as I watch my original team continue to grow and succeed in leadership roles with customers, here at Fullerton and with other vendors.  I am so proud of the leaders they have become and now I’m learning from them.

Alice Mahoney

Vice President of Business Development

Milestone Towers

In a very short time with Milestone, Alice has demonstrated that she has been the right choice. She exhibits all of the Milestone Tower core values: Integrity, Customer First, Accountability, Respect and Growth. She brings an energizing level of energy that quickly spreads across the team. Over the last three months, she has led our new customer engagement strategy by leveraging a design thinking approach that focuses on our customer experience. The effort has reemphasized the importance of understanding of customers’ needs and realigning business practices to deliver on them to create value. In a challenging time where physical presence has been minimized it is difficult to create authentic relationships. Alice is simply a natural, she effectively engages our customers with authenticity and warmth. Over the next six months, Alice is focused on continuing to drive deep engagement with our customers, help us enter new markets and position Milestone Towers as a go to Tower Developer. Alice came to Milestone from NextGen Global Resources, where she held a series of senior-level sales positions during her 10 years with the Chicago-based company’s Reston office. In her most recent role as NextGen’s Vice President of Sales, she developed and led a high performing sales team focused on T-Mobile, Verizon, Comcast, Dish and other telecom companies. In 2019, she received the Global Circle Award from Kelly Services (NextGen’s parent company) for her outstanding performance and sales results. Before joining NextGen in 2011, Alice held sales positions at Comcast Spotlight, Z104 Radio and TEKsystems. She has a bachelor’s degree from Towson University.

Heidi Mahoney

Regional Director of Small Cell


One of my favorite projects at Tilson was supporting a wireless carrier with engineering, permitting, and constructing over 23 new poles in less than six months. I was able to leverage Tilson Infrastructure, Tilson’s asset-owning affiliate, to come up with a creative solution to our client’s problem and meet their expedited project timeline. Without this solution, our client would still be waiting to collate on existing infrastructure, pending a colocation agreement, and would have been unable to meet their deployment goals for the year. It was such a rewarding feeling to see everything come together!

Geneviève Maltais-Boisvert

Managing Director

DigitalBridge Investment Management

A number of specific transactions or initiatives at our portfolio companies make me immensely proud, but what makes me even more proud is how far we have come in terms of diversity amongst the digital infrastructure sector. While the industry remains largely male-dominated, there are more and more women entering and thriving in the sector. We recently launched a Women at DigitalBridge affinity group and I could not have been more proud to see 400% more women than when I joined just 2.5 years ago! This affinity group gives a forum to women from around the world to ask candid questions and brainstorm on personal or professional challenges. As part of the Mentorship subcommittee of the DigitalBridge DEI group, we are putting in place a firm-wide internal mentorship program between junior and senior team members that will be beneficial in driving team culture, inclusion, and engagement. Following my recent promotion to Managing Director, a number of team members reached out to say that finally having a woman from the investment team at that level will go a long way in providing a role model to more junior team members who may wonder how to combine a successful career and a family (did I mention I also had a baby last year?!).

Heather Takacs

National Director of Large Projects, Fiber Engineering


I am blessed to have had many memorable achievements throughout my career in the wireless industry, but the most meaningful has come from seeing the positive impact this career path has had on the world. The pandemic presented challenges for the telecommunications industry unlike any we’d previously seen. Almost overnight, the world was working from home, streaming data, and video chatting with loved ones. The industry created jobs and growth at a time when much of the economy was struggling. I am proud to be part of a team that supported the wireless industry as it brought the world together so that humans could stay connected while feeling so disconnected. Knowing that my job was helping mobile carriers enable 5G, which in turn connected families and enabled remote learning, helped me stay positive. And seeing my mother have the ability to video stream with her first grandchild when she was born last year brought it all home even more. My fiber team at Zayo is responsible for the backbone of these invaluable deliveries, and without the wires behind the wireless, none of this would be possible. It can be easy to lose sight of the end goals when you’re the one always behind the stage and not able to be in the audience. Actually seeing and personally feeling the ways that the wireless industry is changing the world has by far been the most meaningful achievement of my career!

Mar Tarres

Vice President of Products


Not every project has the potential to be particularly memorable or meaningful in the context of a decades-long career, but every now and then you are lucky enough to be part of one that has that potential and really lives up to it.  That’s how I think of the initiative to create, launch, and grow the Utility Broadband Alliance (UBBA) — thanks to the work of a wonderful Anterix team building on a legacy of women pioneers and innovators in the industry, it’s a true highlight. It began with a concept — the idea that an industry-run organization focused on private wireless broadband communications technology could be highly effective in helping electric utilities make the necessary transition to private broadband in support of their grid modernization efforts. In those early days, Anterix employed only a couple of dozen people, and as the products and marketing lead at the time, it was my job to develop this formative concept and drive it to fruition.  It was apparent even then that, if we could pull it off, this project was going to have a substantial impact on the industry, requiring everything from branding and setting up the organization to socializing it among stakeholders, recruiting members, and launching operations. UBBA launched at DistribuTECH 2019 with eight founding members, a combination of leading utilities and technology vendors. In the first 4 months of operations, UBBA grew to more than 35 members. In its first eight months, UBBA organized and held its first Summit. Then COVID hit, but even during this period of uncertainty and new constraints, UBBA continued growing and attracting industry interest, producing thought leadership via webinars and white papers. It became time to evolve the organization to the next level, and with the founding members, we engaged in the excruciating process of establishing a member-based not-for-profit organization with the appropriate legal and governance structure in place.

So today I am honored to be able to report that we did pull it off: in three years, UBBA has evolved from concept to a very well-funded, 60-plus-member organization with a record of meaningfully and effectively contributing to a critical transition in the industry by helping to create a market for utility private broadband networks. In November 2021, UBBA delivered on its inaugural, sold-out utility broadband PlugFest in St. Louis. The event attracted a strong contingent of utilities with more than 275 attendees in St. Louis, while another 150 watched remotely via the Cisco WebEx platform. The Plugfest featured critical use cases such as FLISR (Fault Location, Isolation, and Service Restoration), Capacitor Bank Controllers, Smart Streetlighting, and next-gen smart meters, to name a few.

And it couldn’t have happened without the fantastically talented group of women I was privileged to work with, including Bobbi Harris, Tori Carver, Danielle Kohler, Liz Stipnieks and Danielle White.  Just imagine — after two decades of avoiding the flu, I came down with a terrible case on the eve of our big launch at DistribuTech 2019, and the team executed beautifully a very successful event. I could not be prouder. Perhaps the greatest validation came at UBBA’s first — and very well attended — summit at Southern Company’s facility in Birmingham, Alabama, only eight months after initial launch.  A representative from OnGo Alliance — a longstanding organization also focused on private broadband — said she was greatly impressed with the event and couldn’t believe we had managed it with such a small team and such a new organization. 

On International Women’s Day, UBBA is a great example of women making a meaningful and positive difference in the wireless infrastructure industry.

Rashmi Varma

President & CTO/CIO

Innovate5G Inc.

COVID, undoubtedly has been a huge challenge for most industries and companies to overcome in the past couple years. When labs shuttered and our customers could not come in to test on our test beds, we took our test network online to the cloud. Consequently, when our customers asked for more flexible solutions to test and monitor their applications in real time, we developed yet another groundbreaking platform, for our application companies, to monitor network conditions and provide application performance monitoring over 4G & 5G networks. This became the first patent-pending Telecom Application Performance Monitoring (APM) platform. Our teams never backed down and delivered each time in the face of adjusting to work from home, sick days and disrupted schedules. Many firsts and many innovations later, thanks to our amazing product engineering teams, we are proud to establish ourselves as market leaders in the Telco APM sector.

Maria Alexandra Velez

Senior Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs

SBA Communications

I joined SBA Communications in 2018, charged with structuring the government and regulatory affairs function for international markets. I saw this as a unique opportunity to apply my foreign policy experience in a dynamic industry that is impacting the lives of people around the globe. During the past few years, I have had the privilege to advocate for best regulatory practices that contribute to infrastructure sharing, a critical aspect of the tower industry. As a result, many countries in which SBA operates have incorporated the principle of orderly and efficient deployment of digital infrastructure, recognizing the economic and environmental efficiencies that a sharing, neutral-host model generates. This in turn has led to a better allocation of investment resources, expansion of connectivity and more affordable wireless services in emerging markets.

I have also had the privilege to lead the regulatory affairs team that is at the forefront of efforts as SBA compiles and actively promotes best regulatory practices for wireless infrastructure deployment. For example, thanks to our engagement with the Inter-American Development Bank, we provided expert commentary to the publication of Digital Transformation: Infrastructure Sharing in Latin America and the Caribbean, which provides a comprehensive guide for governments to incentivize infrastructure sharing as an efficient way to expand connectivity and reduce the digital gap. In Brazil, SBA and Abrintel, our trade association, with support from Anatel, the telecommunications regulator, have secured the incorporation of a model ordinance that supports orderly and efficient deployment of wireless infrastructure in several municipalities across the country, including Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. This has allowed local governments to ready their jurisdictions for 5G implementation. Finally, working with other industry peers, SBA is accelerating the licensing processes for infrastructure deployment in Chile, aligning them more closely with the connectivity needs of the country.

As a government affairs practitioner, working with SBA in the wireless communications industry has offered me a unique opportunity to support the governments’ ambitious agenda to reduce the digital gap, expand connectivity and promote inclusive economic growth. It is always very rewarding to be able to champion public policies that leverage the creativity and innovation of the private sector for the benefit of a country’s development and prosperity.

See also:

Meet the Women Making a Difference in the Wireless Infrastructure Industry

A Celebration of Women in the Wireless Infrastructure Industry

Celebrating the Women of the Wireless Infrastructure Industry