2020 FierceWireless Rising Star — U.S. Cellular's Courtland Madock

U.S. Cellular's Courtland Madock (U.S. Cellular)

For 2020 the FierceWireless editorial team has selected a diverse slate of wireless executives who are on the rise in their careers. We’re doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. Next week, we’ll post our popular Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in wireless.

Courtland Madock knows that favorite career memories do not have to be entirely positive ones. They can be challenging and important learning moments, too.

“One of my favorite career memories is launching my first product at U.S. Cellular [a prepaid smartphone offering], which was in many ways as a product developer not the most successful launch for me,” she said. “I didn’t ask the right questions. It was a little bit of a disaster just operationally and how I handled it as a new leader. What I learned was to ask a lot more questions up front, and not be afraid of that.”

That learning moment kept Madock on a path to become vice president of marketing at U.S. Cellular. She developed a strength for breaking down complex problems, and coming up with plans to start making progress on them. “I enjoy that I can work with my team to come up with a plan of steps we can take to make progress and remove roadblocks for people,” Madock said. “Making sure I have the right talent on my team is something else I put a huge amount of focus on.”

Madock also got guidance from mentors who encouraged her to take on jobs outside of her comfort zone. “Early on in my career I took on a number of roles that really diversified my experience both in 5G and in operations that taught me to think more as an enterprise leader, and less as somebody who is a specialist in just one function. I think that has been pivotal in getting me to where I am today.”

Where she is today is in the driver’s seat of U.S. Cellular’s efforts to acquire new customers and grow revenue from its existing customer base by offering the right prices, services, devices and promotions to customers in a way that feels personalized and makes them feel valued as customers.

Madock is now busy growing the company’s prepaid and postpaid offerings, but also its high-speed internet products, which have taken on increasing importance during the Covid-19 pandemic as more people have been working from home and logging on remotely to e-learning applications.

“The last six months in this industry have brought to light just how critical wireless is going to continue to be in peoples’ lives,” she said.