#MakeYourMark: Q&A with Jennifer Gamboa-Copeland

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s International Women’s Day Forum on March 5, we’re highlighting 10 inspiring leaders who have made their mark in advancing opportunities for women and girls. Jennifer Gamboa-Copeland, Diversity & Inclusion - Women & Black-African American Segments, AT&T, leads efforts to promote an inclusive work environment.

What’s the most important lesson you learned in your career?

Two lessons I have learned are it is okay to say “no,” and continuous learning is imperative to continued success. Prioritization in work and life can be challenging but understanding limitations helps relieve unnecessary stresses. For example, I am not a chef or a baker so it’s okay to buy cookies for the bake sale! As my career has transitioned, staying apprised on technology and its impact on business has been a positive differentiator.  

What is the biggest issue facing women today?  

Access to mentors and sponsors is an important part of progress for women today. Women need diverse advocates to learn from and share experiences with to advance all. Leaders need to be deliberate in their move from mentors to sponsors, and a component of that is sharing their people networks. We all have an obligation to seek guidance and reach back to provide support for others.  

How can we best engage the next generation to continue the momentum?

For the next generation, it is critical to meet them where they are and help them to engage in a way that fills their cup. We need to be thoughtful in our relationships and grant grace for them to find their passion and to lean into it. As a parent, I share my experiences and those of the leaders before me to help understand the importance of continuing the momentum for women and women of color.

Jennifer Gamboa-Copeland spoke at last year's International Women's Day Forum on enabling an infrastructure that creates a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. Join us at this year's 10th Annual International Women’s Day Forum: Marking a Milestone, Continuing the Momentum on March 5 in New York City. Explore the full agenda and register now to save your spot.