This article is the first article in a broader feature on women working in key engineering and technology roles in the telecom industry. Check back here for future installments.
Melissa Arnoldi is president of technology development for AT&T, where she is responsible for the development of AT&T’s “digital experiences” for customers, and systems supporting operations across AT&T business segments, networks and services. Arnoldi is also responsible for information and network security strategy, standards and platform development at the operator.
Arnoldi earned her Master’s of Business Administration from Georgia State University and cut her teeth writing code for billing programs as a senior executive at Accenture. After her second daughter was born, she moved to AT&T, where she assumed the position of director of IT, overseeing retail sales delivery and device launches, including the historic launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. “My STEM degree, my previous technical experiences, and hard work helped make that opportunity possible,” Arnoldi said in a video from the National Center for Women & Information Technology intended to encourage women to obtain science, technology, engineering, and math education. “We need more education around the importance and opportunities for women in technology fields,” she added.
After working on the launch of the iPhone, Arnoldi moved into AT&T’s Mobility and Home Solutions department, overseeing portfolio management and business operations support. After that, she became the carrier’s SVP of its Technology Solutions and Systems Strategy organization, “responsible for supporting business clients in developing technology solutions, managing highly integrated strategic programs, and aligning technology investment portfolio for the AT&T Technology & Operations organization,” according to the company.
How did you get to where you are now? “I’ve been successful thus far, by working hard, taking on new challenges and staying true to my core leadership principals of trust and transparency, collaboration within my team and across external teams; as well as fostering an environment where the team inspires and educates each other.”
What are the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your professional career? “One of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced in my career is being told that I was incapable of achieving one of my career goals in a field that I am passionate about; but I knew that I couldn’t let that deter me from trying.”
What advice would you give young women entering the workforce in your industry? “My advice to young women in technology is to create their own definition of success, lead courageously by example and continuously learn and challenge themselves,” she said.
What are you most excited about in the future? “I am excited about driving changes in an industry that is ever evolving which includes defining and executing on our technology development strategy goals of delivering projects faster, re-architecting our apps to platforms, and imbedding security and resiliency into our software platforms infrastructure and operations.”