SHE-E-O FEATURE OF THE WEEK: Anne Chow

How have female CEO’s risen to the top? What was their journey? Let’s explore…

I’m empowered. I have the skills. I’m ready to take on the world. Now, if I could just figure out tangible steps to get there. This series has two purposes: to celebrate women’s accomplishments in business, and to research their path to success.

Notable things you should know about Anne Chow:
1) CEO of AT&T Business as of September 2019 – one of the very few Asian women to break the “bamboo ceiling”
2) Chow is the highest ranking Asian American ever at AT&T male or female and 1st woman of color to be a CEO at AT&T
3) She created one of AT&T's fastest growing Employee Networks -- AT&T Women of Business -- which has 4,800 members across 27 countries
4) Chow has held leadership positions in engineering, direct and indirect sales, sales operations, marketing, customer care, international operations, product management, and strategic planning.
5) Chow is leading AT&T by working with the University of Miami to make it the first college campus with 5G+ and edge computing. This will enable next-level educational tools, such as virtual reality headsets that allow students to interact with a 3D DNA strand
6) Chow also serves on the National Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of the USA

Anne Chow’s parents left Taiwan for America shortly before she and her brother were born. They were very active kids in school, sports, Scouts, and music. Chow started taking piano lessons before the age of 5 and ended up in Juilliard’s pre-college division by the age of 10. Chow and her parents commuted from New Jersey to Manhattan every Saturday for 7 years to develop her budding talent. Chow uses her experience in music to drive her leadership style to this day.

Anne attended Cornell University and graduated with a BS and Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, followed by an MBA from Cornell University.

She started as an engineer at AT&T then transitioned upward through a range of positions including sales, P&L management, marketing, strategic operations. Over 3 decades she has changed titles 17 times.

Chow is known for her positivity, motivational phrases, and being a proponent for authenticity in the workplace. Former AT&T Exec and female CEO that we profiled previous, Cynthia Marshall, overlapped at AT&T and called her “wicked smart and can size people up quickly” which likely has helped Chow succeed and rise up the ranks to CEO.

My takeaways on her path to success: 1) Chow focuses on people and relationships to create authentic bonds with her colleagues which has likely helped with advocacy for her to become CEO at AT&T Business 2) She is simply very smart – Juilliard at age 10?! This also contributes to my theory that playing classical music as a child helps with brain growth… 3) She stuck with the company for 30 years before becoming CEO. We’ve seen quite a few female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies with this same story of longevity.

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