Meet the 2015 Most Influential Women in Wireless

att woman with phone

Sue Marek

Welcome to the 2015 FierceWireless "Most Influential Women in Wireless" list. Since 2008, Fierce editors have been compiling what we believe are the top female stars in the wireless industry (check out our 2014 list, 2013 list, 2012 list, 2011 list, the 2010 list, the 2009 list and the 2008 list).

In 2015 this list was particularly difficult to compile because we've seen a significant surge in the number of women making their way to the top ranks of wireless companies. And we've also seen many more discussions among top telecom executives about what can be done to attract more women to this industry. It's refreshing to see this dramatic change in the industry.

But before I reveal our list, 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:

  • Mary Clark, CMO, Syniverse. Clark, a long-time wireless industry veteran, has long been a champion for women in the wireless industry. Clark has played a key role in Syniverse's strategic vision, helping grow the company's consulting services and spearheading the introduction of its LTE strategy. In addition, she has held several executive positions at CTIA, Cibernet and Cellular One.
  • Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum. Monahan is also director for GSMA North America and has more than 20 years of experience in the telecom industry. Monahan was appointed to the Small Cell Forum in April 2014 and works closely with operators to make sure they have the information they need to deploy small cells.
  • Rebecca Murphy Thompson, general counsel, Competitive Carriers Association. Thompson has led CCA's regulatory team for the past five years. This past year she had a number of successes, including helping convince the FCC to use partial economic areas (PEAs) to ensure smaller carriers have the opportunity to bid on reasonable spectrum geographic license sizes in the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction.
  • Catherine Smith, chief administrative officer and general counsel, Brightstar. Smith worked with Brightstar founder and former CEO Marcelo Claure on a series of acquisitions and helped secure SoftBank's $1.26 billion investment in Brightstar in late 2013. She also speaks globally about the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

I hope that this year's Influential Women in Wireless list recognizes the women on this list for their achievements and also 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, brightest and most successful female executives in the business. This list 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

Angela Ahrendts, SVP, retail and online stores, Apple - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Meredith Baker, president and CEO, CTIA - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Jennifer Van Buskirk, president, Cricket Wireless - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Mignon Clyburn, commissioner, FCC - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Aicha Evans, corporate vice president and general manager, Intel's Communication and Devices Group - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Karen Freitag, president, Sprint Enterprise Solutions - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Joan Marsh, vice president of federal regulatory, AT&T- 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Rima Qureshi, chief strategy officer, Ericsson - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Sue Swenson, chairwoman, FirstNet - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

Marni Walden, EVP and president, product innovation and new businesses, Verizon Communications - 2015 Influential Women in Wireless

 

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Meet the 2015 Most Influential Women in Wireless