Even at a young age, I was business focused. My elementary school principal was concerned because I bundled papers and pencils as a package and sold them for a profit. He wanted to know how I not only got students to purchase the bundles but also got them to pay interest! So even as a young child, I always believed I could be successful as an entrepreneur and a leader.
Mina Stewart’s newest role is that of vice president for Network Creation and Provisioning within Verizon’s Services Operations. She and her team are responsible for expanding the network required to meet the consumer’s increasing demands for technology at the fingertips. Her goal, she says, is to “build it once, build it fast, expand the reach, and keep it running.”
It seems that Stewart has been running toward higher demands and more responsibility her entire career. Until earlier this year, she served as executive director of Wholesale Marketing/Sales and Enterprise-wide Metrics for Verizon — a natural fit to nurture the interest in sales and marketing that she discovered in grade school. Her previous roles, including a stint in Verizon’s IT organization, taught her the importance of maturing into the kind of leader who resonates with people on a genuinely personal level.
“Early in my career, I was intensely focused on tactical results, and I was very intent on managing the teams’ direction and my peers’ expectations,” admits Stewart. “But in focusing strictly on the delivery of the project, I could lose sight of the human-relationship part of project leadership and concentrate only on delivery, delivery, delivery. I now recognize and appreciate that with leadership also comes responsibility to connect with people.”
Stewart believes that one of the greatest strengths she now brings to her organization is the ability to energize teams and provide a vision and path to make employees successful — both as individuals and as teams.
“I like to bring energy and passion to teams, gathering around a cause and objective and making a desired result and achievement happen.” She definitely generates results, and Stewart has a stellar track record of directing cross-functional teams to enhance profitability and efficiency.
Stewart’s interest in information technology was first piqued when her uncle brought home a personal computer while she was in her junior year of high school. “I was enthralled and challenged to understand how it worked and to learn what impact it could have on daily activities,” says Stewart. “Since I’m analytical by nature, I enjoy solving problems and embracing challenges. I remember sitting for hours trying to do different things on the PC.” Her uncommon interest led to degrees in undergraduate and graduate schools, and culminated in a career in the IT industry that she has enjoyed for the past 20 years.
Connia Nelson, Verizon’s senior vice president of Human Resources, referred to Stewart as one of the company’s “rising stars” when nominating her for the Eagle Award. “Her passion and commitment to deliver on our customer promise with integrity and consistent high performance,” added Nelson, “are core attributes of all true leaders.”
As Stewart explains, “I think that success is achieved through our empowerment of teams and by developing strong future leaders. I am a strong believer in progress based on honesty, integrity, listening, and an open mind. I believe that excellent leaders surround themselves with excellent people, because successful leaders understand the power of both the team and a network in achieving excellence.”
CareerFOCUS Magazine and the National Eagle Leadership Institute® salute 2010 Eagle Award winner Mina F. Stewart.