Leslie Miles

Miles’ expertise in M&A proved instrumental in planning and completing the CommScope acquisition of Arris last November, and this year she and her team focused on improving network operations. Customer Connect, CommScope’s voice of the customer program, is also part of Miles’ purview and will continue to be important the remainder of this year and into 2020. “It is the responsibility of women in senior roles in our industry to help move the needle and ensure that we are making a difference in advancing women within our industry,” she says.

What specifically does your company do to support and elevate the women who work there?
Elevating and supporting women is a global priority for our company and continues to evolve. We established a women’s network, with over 900 members, that develops leadership skills, provides mentoring, networking and visibility to help career growth for women. In order to continually add value to the program, we use an executive diversity dashboard that captures the statistics of women throughout our company—including the number of women in leadership roles, engineering capacities vs. staff roles, promotions received, just to name a few. The executive team uses the data to determine how best to drive change. We also participate in several industry-wide networking and educational forums that support women. We encourage women in our company to take advantage of these external opportunities to gain exposure to other female leaders in telecommunications.

How can the industry do a better job of recruiting women and ensuring they have a path to senior positions?
I think early engagement and strong female role models are powerful tools to improve recruiting and create a clearer path for career growth to senior positions for women. Seeing other women leaders in action speaks volumes that the company supports the advancement of women and allows the person to envision her own growth and success through the lens of someone “like” her. Mentorship and sponsorship are priceless. Designing in career support and guidance is a key lever to help women create a path to senior positions. We cannot discount the importance of women supporting, promoting and sponsoring women. It is the responsibility of women in senior roles in our industry to help move the needle and ensure that we are making a difference in advancing women within our industry. We cannot solely put the responsibly, nor the blame, on others. College speaking engagements and STEM program support is another way for our industry to do a better job on early recruitment. Creating awareness of women leaders in our industry, to the younger female generation, can be an impactful approach in helping them visualize themselves in careers within our industry.

What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
I would tell my 13-year-old self that time is really on your side. There is no need to be afraid to use your voice, even if it differs from those around you. There is no need to rush to establish relationships [in the workplace]. Those will happen over time. And above all, be true to yourself and your belief systems. While it is important to gather facts and data, it is equally important to trust your instincts—your true north—and act in ways that make you feel good about yourself and the decisions you make.

What changes, if any, has your company enacted since the dawning of the #MeToo movement, and what results have ensued?
My previous company was recently acquired by CommScope. We had a strong women’s business network in place prior to the #MeToo movement. CommScope values the continuation of that community and is currently planning to expand and enhance the program to make it even more impactful. The initiative has seen valuable results for women. From creating visibility to our executives of women in leadership roles, to bringing awareness to the presence of, or lack of, women on an organization chart, to providing women with educational resources to further assist them in their professional advancement. Perhaps most importantly, women who never previously met established their own connections with each other, through both formal and informal mentoring.

Which current shows best reflects the kind of women’s roles you like to see and why?
Currently, I am watching “Designated Survivor” [on Netflix]. I think this show does a wonderful job depicting women in senior roles as leaders in their field of expertise – an FBI agent, and speaker of the house – they are portrayed equally to men and are not apologetic about being strong and ensuring that their vision, and message, gets heard.

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