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Storytelling, More than just work – Elizabeth Backman

Our female colleagues occupy a variety of positions, from managerial and engineering to field positions – side by side with experienced fellow riggers and technicians. Every day, their work contributes to business development, finding creative solutions and a more innovative approach to business.

On this occasion, we would like to introduce you to our colleague, Elizabeth Backman, Senior Project Manager at Roaming Networks USA, who was happy to answer a few questions for us:

How would you sum up your professional career?

In 3 words, What a ride! When I started back in 1988, I was with a small company trying to sell Long Distance to small businesses. Cell phones were still wired in your car and only the wealthy had them. I went from landline sells to customer service and support with major accounts then national accounts where I found my niche.  Watched frame relay turn into ATM, the cell phone went from a huge shoebox case down to the iphone of today, not to mention 3G CDMA to 4G LTE and now the 5G of super speed download.

Heck, I was just happy when the microwave was invented!!

Can you tell us more about your position in the company?

A project manager in any industry is usually the main POC in a project or program. All of this involves planning, execute the plan within a certain timeline, have a plan B, controlling and monitoring results as well as make the customer happy.   At Roaming, this is quite a challenge, but one I do love. I am responsible for the plan to get sites built on a schedule, which is improving every day.  This involves working the resources and matching talent to the next site ready to be built, gaining NTP’s from the tower companies, keeping up with materials and equipment, and most of all, be flexible with your schedule.  It does change and always can adjust on the fly.  Not all will be happy with said adjustments, but the job still gets done!

What challenges have you faced in your career, being a woman in the telecommunications industry?

It would be more breviloquent to state challenges that I have not faced.  In my younger days, there was the usual, “she is a woman, she has no idea.”  Women are emotional and they just cry!  But it made me competitive.

Growing up, I was a tomboy and loved to play all the boy games. I could tackle with the best of the boys.  Was not much for barbie dolls.  As a teenager, I loved sports but at the same time, I was still a girly girl.  Discovered thru this process, men love women who can dress for success and discuss football at the same time.  But I had to be the best and to get that chance; I had to learn how to get the attention of the leadership that did not have to do with a skirt.   I would watch ESPN news and when I went on sales or support calls, 90% of the time, the conversation went into sports as an ice breaker, and I needed to be able to participate.

My presentations in meetings were thorough and I added humor, therefore using the humor along with my knowledge, help make me standout.  But as always, at the end of the day, one had to produce. I believed in what I had and what I could build.

My mother would always tell me, “You can do anything you want, you just need to set your mind to it.”   I did!

What would you say to yourself at the beginning of your professional career?

You go girl and never look back!

How do you prefer to spend your spare time?

Crown Royal and a great thriller movie!

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