WWLF Speakers

WWLF’s inspiring message: “We are the future of our industry”

Standing before an audience gathered to recognize the contributions of women who have been instrumental in building the wireless industry, Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum Immediate Past President Amanda Cahill asked the audience to look to the future while celebrating the past.

“If you are sitting in this room, you have the power to make an impact not only for yourself, but for everybody else around you,” Cahill told the audience at the Wireless Women’s Leadership Luncheon hosted by the WIA Foundation and WWLF. “We are only as strong as the people who support us and get involved. When you look around this room, we are the future of our industry.”

WWLF was formed more than two decades ago in 2000 with a membership base of 25 women. Today, WWLF has more than 1,000 members and is adding more every day. Cahill outlined the many programs WWLF offers to support women in their wireless industry careers – from educational events, to mentorship, networking and volunteer opportunities.

“We understand the importance of mentoring future generations by the sharing of industry knowledge, and we have created programming to address this issue by joining together women who are committed to empowering other women,” said Cahill. “These programs rely heavily on our ability to provide customized strategic training, networking opportunities and provide access to an array of women dedicated to mentoring on a one-on-one basis. We also further drive the educational program by providing access to top-notch learning experiences through educational seminars, impact meetings, and regional networking events.”

Cahill emphasized the power of diversity to impact team dynamics, increase innovation and enhance performance in the wireless industry. She noted that women thrive when they are given leadership opportunities and that, in turn, paves the way for other women to follow. It all starts with opportunity, she said.

“When we started thinking about what this event was going to be it got me thinking back to the young woman I was on December 12, 2012,” said Cahill. “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that saying yes to a job in the wireless industry would have led me to standing on this stage today in this room full of incredible leaders from the wireless industry and government.”

Cahill started in an entry-level marketing and business development position and grew into a national director role in less than 10 years.

“The young woman I was all those years ago was uncertain of the future, didn’t know what direction she was going to take in life,” said Cahill. “But by an introduction to the Women’s Wireless Leadership Forum within the first year, I was in the industry that changed the entire path of my career, and ultimately, my life.”

Cahill’s story is inspiring but not necessarily unique.

WWLF’s incoming president, Lynn Whitcher, sat down with third-term WWLF secretary Ashli Fuselier, who herself has become a leader in the wireless industry with only 7 years of telecom experience under her belt, an accomplishment she attributes in part to her early connection to WWLF. In addition to serving on WWLF’s board, Fuselier recently was elected president of the Texas Wireless Association, one of the youngest people (if not the youngest) to hold that position in the association’s history.

Fuselier’s story of leadership in the industry is one marked by being willing learn and open to helping.

“Honestly, this was my job until my next job,” Fuselier said of the receptionist job she took seven years ago after working as a wedding planner. “I didn’t know what telecom was. I thought I was going to work in a call center. But I needed a job.”

Early on, Fuselier connected with WWLF at a local event. Her natural inclination to volunteer led her to become more and more involved in the organization. She became a mentee in WWLF’s mentorship program, applied for and won a fellowship, attended her first tradeshow – Connect (X) – and finally ran for a board position so she could give back to the organization she felt had given her so much.

She encourages other young women to get involved with WWLF in whatever capacity they can, even if it’s volunteering at an event. “You’ll be amazed at how many people you can meet,” she said.

Whitcher asked attendees to give themselves a round of applause for taking the time to be present at the WIA Foundation’s celebration of the achievements of women in telecom and said she had three requests. She asked those in attendance to tell people they were there, tell them about WWLF and the work the organization is doing to invest in the next generation of leaders, and to get their companies involved in the organization.

“The messages here today are so inspiring,” said Whitcher, encouraging women to continue to pursue leadership positions in the industry and help other women rise in their careers. “Speak from the heart because you never know who needs to hear that message and who needs to know that you’re out there supporting them in their career.”

WWLF recently launched a new program designed to prepare women for C-suite roles and is willing to help companies establish and run employee resource groups focused on women. Whitcher encouraged anyone with questions about WWLF to reach out to her at president@wwlf.org.

“I read a study that said that 75% of American workers are not engaged in their job or are actively disengaged – 75%!” said Whitcher. “That percentage is surprising to me because I don’t see that in the women of WWLF. We are invested in our impact in the community. We’re invested in the work that we do. We’re invested in future leaders.”