Vanessa Maddox is one of those women that just simply inspires us. Not only is she a senior consultant working in global professional services for Verizon, but she also is the founder of TheGirlfriendGroup, an online community created as a tribute to her sister, that encourages women to aspire to network, share and encourage. In her day job Vanessa designs the framework and capabilities around organizational development for global sales, develops professional services training roadmaps and coordinates on-boarding training and consultant development. And with TheGirlfriendGroup, she encourages women to help other women in all aspects of life. Read on to hear how Vanessa went from Capitol Hill computer geek to a senior consultant at a company we’re all familiar with.
Occupation: Senior Consultant / Global Professional Services / Verizon
Education: Management / Potomac College
How did you discover your current job?
I knew I wanted to work for Verizon and it was very close to my home, so I applied online.
What has been your path so far to get you where you are today?
I began my career working for the U.S. House of Representatives. I was a political science major originally and wanted to be a lobbyist. However, the IT bug bit me early on, and the rest is history.
Was there any one situation that helped you along your way?
Yes, while working on Capitol Hill, my former boss asked if I’d help manage the constituent database, and I accepted. I was always a computer geek and thought the opportunity was tremendous. That role was really the catalyst for the rest of my career. If I hadn’t accepted it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I truly believe that.
What is your typical day like? Does it ever change?
Every day is so different even though the scope of work remains constant. Since my work is project based, the dynamic may change on a daily basis. One day I may lead a team discussion on sales strategies, and the next I could be focusing on organizational development. That’s what keeps me coming back every day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of the job is that I get to use all of the experiences and talents I’ve cultivated over the years to mentor junior consultants. If I can teach someone a new skill or process that they didn’t know when they woke up that morning, I’m gratified.
What is the most challenging part?
The most challenging part is managing up. If I can get my boss to be more organized, then some things would run a little smoother.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I was able to stay home with my kids for over a year. The biggest sacrifice was making the decision to return to work.
What is one lesson you’ve learned in your job that sticks with you?
Be nice to everyone you meet. This is a very small world.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
I feel the biggest challenge for women today may be diversity of thought in a male-dominated profession. Pay equity is a huge challenge as well as work-life balance, which by the way, does not exist. Women must continue to juggle career, family and marriage. I’m not sure it will ever be balanced.
Who are your role models?
My eldest sister is my role model. Even though she passed away at a young age, she was the most spirited, funny, talented and resourceful human being I’ve ever met. She had a tremendous influence on my life and how I raise my sons.
Is there a quote or mantra that you live by?
Stop being scared and go get it!
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
I would tell them to never stop learning, never stop growing, and always be humble. Perfect your craft and always be true to your talents.