Qureshi is known as the mastermind of Verizon’s corporate strategy, negotiating deals that build the company’s strength in wireless while also challenging it to be a better corporate citizen. She has been a powerful advocate for women in the workplace, co-authoring a letter about how the pandemic has exposed and deepened pre-existing inequities, including divisions based on gender and race. She encouraged companies to help women continue to climb the corporate ladder, even in the times when they need to step back and take care of matters in their personal lives. If she were a teenager in virtual school right now, Qureshi would encourage herself to be curious. “Take this time to engage with your classes but explore what this new learning paradigm has to offer; a chance to connect with your friends and fellow students in a different way, even take on new subjects and explore new ways of learning,” Qureshi says. “While different and at times difficult, it’s a unique moment in time and one to make the most of.”
What is one of your proudest moments during the pandemic? Motivating and leading my team through profound change and pivoting on strategies that deliver significant value. All while showing up for my family as our lives are turned upside down.
Some research has suggested COVID-19 may set women in the workplace back half a decade. How can we ensure the progress made isn’t erased? A combination of dialogue and action. We need to foster open, honest conversation about the challenges women are facing, then problem solve and take steps to ensure we meet those challenges and provide an environment and opportunities for the continued progress and success of women.
If you were a teenager attending virtual classes right now, what advice would you give yourself? Be curious. Take this time to engage with your classes but explore what this new learning paradigm has to offer; a chance to connect with your friends and fellow students in a different way, even take on new subjects and explore new ways of learning. While different and at times difficult, it’s a unique moment in time and one to make the most of.
What is the biggest factor needed to eliminate gender inequality in the workplace? Courage. We need the courage to stand up for ourselves and each other; to challenge and change policies or frameworks that are, at worst, inherently biased against women or, at best, fail to actively support progress.