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Authenticity and Vulnerability


Rhonda Johnson's Story

Rhonda Johnson

Techbridge Girls is pleased to spotlight Rhonda Johnson, President of AT&T California, for her fearless leadership. Rhonda is responsible for AT&T’s government affairs, public policy, philanthropic, and social engagement initiatives in California. She leads the company’s state workforce, including more than 33,000 employees and nearly 50,000 retirees. AT&T has generously supported the Techbridge Girls community and helped empower thousands of girls from low-income communities to pursue STEM careers.

When young women hear “STEM,” Rhonda Johnson, President of AT&T California, wants them to think broadly about the possibilities.

"I want them to open up their horizons, because it's not just about engineering," she says.

Since AT&T is much more than a phone company -- it includes HBO, CNN, Turner Broadcasting, plus Warner Bros film and television -- Johnson sees many more possibilities for STEM applications in film editing, graphic design, animation, and anime.

“Young women who are interested in STEM are not limited to traditional STEM career choices – they can explore careers in the healthcare, arts, communications, and entertainment fields,” says Johnson, who has worked at AT&T since 1984. “There are endless possibilities for women to use their education, knowledge, and skills to make a lasting impact on our world.”

During her career at AT&T, she takes time to urge women and girls to be vulnerable and approach these possibilities and new opportunities fearlessly. She describes her approach to fearless leadership as owning who she is and where she comes from.

"Put your authentic self out there, take some risks," advises Johnson. "Show a little bit of vulnerability."

She practices this approach by sharing opportunities with and for other women. Ms. Johnson keeps herself motivated and inspired by seeing people get excited about their work, or by what they’re engaged within the community, and by going out with team members into the community.

As the executive of a large global corporation, Rhonda recognizes the role that AT&T plays in leading fearlessly to change the world. "We need to give back to the community,” she shares. “Part of the responsibility of working for a successful company is to focus back on the community. It's more than writing a check, it's engagement. It makes a difference."