Meet the 2014 Most Influential Women in Wireless

att woman with phone

sue marek

Welcome to the 2014 FierceWireless "Most Influential Women in Wireless" list. Since 2008, Fierce editors have been tracking the top female stars in the wireless industry.

It's important to note that as we compiled our 2014 list, we were struck by how many more women are among the top-ranked executives at wireless companies. It's certainly a positive trend and I can't help but think that much of this evolution is due to the efforts of so many in the industry to recruit and attract talented women to the field. In fact, just last week AT&T made a $1 million contribution to "Girls Who Code," a national nonprofit working to close the gender gap in the tech and engineering sectors. And earlier this year, Verizon Communications was honored as one of the top 50 companies for executive women by the National Association for Female Executives.

It's heartening to see these types of changes occurring in an industry that has traditionally been such a male-dominated field.  But it has also made our job of narrowing down the list of "influential women" in wireless to just the top 10 even more challenging.

So let me explain a little about our selection process, because it's not easy. We've picked these women based upon what we believe to be their "influence" in the industry. Influence is not an easy attribute to measure. We look at the role these women play in their company and the wireless industry at large. This list consists of women we believe help guide the industry, whether it's through their technical expertise, their leadership, or their commitment to promoting women in the wireless field. These are the women who inspire others in the business with their ability to take on difficult challenges.

But FierceWireless is also keeping an eye on up-and-coming women in the industry--those who I like to call the "Women to Watch." These are the women who may not be as widely known but are powerful players behind the scenes. They are the ones overseeing important business units, heading up smaller, lesser-known companies, or perhaps just new to their role so their influence hasn't yet been tested. We wanted to mention the following women:

  • Karen Freitag, VP, global sales, wholesale and international, Sprint. Freitag heads up a group that contributed more than $1.5 billion in revenues to the company in 2013.
  • Jennifer Van Buskirk, president, Cricket Wireless. Van Buskirk oversees Cricket Wireless, which AT&T purchased for $1.2 billion earlier this year. She's in the midst of revamping that service and recently rolled out new price plans, a new store design and more.
  • Susie Kim Riley, CEO, Aquto. Kim Riley is a familiar name to many. Before founding Aquto, she was the CEO of policy control firm Camiant, which was purchased by Tekelec for $130 million in 2010. Aquto is a mobile advertising startup that is using AT&T's controversial Sponsored Data program to allow mobile users to view mobile ads without the data from those ads counting against their monthly data bucket.
  • Jessica Rosenworcel, commissioner, FCC. Rosenworcel has emerged this year as a powerful player on the FCC. She was credited for getting the FCC to make it less restrictive for Verizon and AT&T to participate in the incentive auctions.
  • Meredith Atwell Baker, president and CEO, CTIA. Baker is a bit of an unknown. She is the first woman to be at the helm of CTIA. Baker's first public challenge will begin early next month, when CTIA launches Super Mobility Week.

I hope that this year's Influential Women in Wireless helps provide recognition to the women on this list for their achievements as well as provides some inspiration and guidance to women in the early stages of their wireless careers.

I believe that we have compiled a list that includes some of the best and brightest and most successful female executives in the business. This list, however, is a compilation of women who are particularly powerful in the U.S. wireless industry. We realize that wireless is a global business and many of our candidates work for international companies, however our list is based upon their influence here in the United States. --Sue

Anne Bouverot, director general, GSMA - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Marian Croak, SVP, domain 2.0 architecture and advanced services, AT&T Labs - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Regina Dugan, SVP, Motorola Advanced Technology and Projects, Google - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Kathleen O'Brien Ham, VP, federal regulatory affairs, T-Mobile - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Renee James, president, Intel - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Peggy Johnson, EVP, business development, Microsoft - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Nicola Palmer, VP and chief network officer, Verizon Wireless - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Kris Rinne, SVP, network technology, AT&T Labs - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Sue Swenson, chairwoman, FirstNet - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless
Marni Walden, EVP and president, product and new business innovation, Verizon Communications - 2014 Influential Women in Wireless

 

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Meet the 2014 Most Influential Women in Wireless