In August 2018, the Fellows visited AT&T headquarters in Dallas, where they were hosted by LCLD Member David McAtee (below), Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel.
The Fellows started the day with a welcome from McAtee, who told Fellows of his own career path to general counsel. The ethos of his Legal department can be summed up by a military maxim, he said: “Two is one, one is none.” In other words: It’s imperative for team members to operate as one team rather than as individuals—and even more so when the stakes are high.
Bruce Byrd, Chief Legal Officer of AT&T Communications, outlined the corporate and legal structures of the company for the Fellows, who learned that AT&T is actually a compilation of four separate units that make up the modern media company: AT&T Communications, WarnerMedia, AT&T Latin America, and Xandr (formerly AT&T Advertising & Analytics). Byrd introduced the executives who lead several of these units, who attended the sessions and took questions from the Fellows.
Corey Anthony, AT&T’s Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, not only described AT&T’s efforts to become a more diverse organization at all levels, but he challenged the Fellows to overcome their own "echo chambers” and binary thinking.
Kevin Peck, Senior Vice President of Brand Strategy, Design and Management, spoke to the Fellows about the growth of AT&T and the company’s efforts to broaden its brand to cover everything the company does. He discussed AT&T’s support of the #seeher movement, designed to improve perceptions of women and girls in advertising. And he cited the company’s sponsorship of the Tribeca Film Festival and its million-dollar grant to an underrepresented filmmaker. This year’s winner, as part of the AT&T Presents: Untold Stories program, is Faraday Okoro, director of the film, “Nigerian Prince.”
Priya Dogra, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development for WarnerMedia, discussed the strategy surrounding the four media companies: Turner Broadcasting, HBO, Warner Brothers, and Otter Media.
Kristen Fellows, Assistant Vice President of Product Marketing Management for Xandr, briefed Fellows about the key trends in advertising and how AT&T meets the demands of a changing consumer base. She also fielded questions from the Fellows, including one on the dilemma of consumer pushback.
The AT&T Legal Department was the focus of late afternoon remarks by Stacey Maris, AT&T’s Senior Vice President, Assistant General Counsel, and Secretary. She echoed McAtee’s emphasis on ‘two is one, one is none’ preparedness and described the structure and culture of the department.
After joining LCLD in 2016, AT&T has been recognized as a Most Active Member Corporation every year since.
To end the day, Jim Meza, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of WarnerMedia, presented a panel of general counsel and managing partners on the role of leaders in advancing diversity and inclusion. Joining Meza, who moderated, were Andrew Baker, Managing Partner of Baker Botts; Amy Stewart, Founding and Managing Partner at Stewart Bradbury; and Keitha Wright, General Counsel of G2 Secure Staff.
To call this a full agenda is an understatement, and many of the Fellows were both energized and exhausted by the end of the day. Yet all appreciated the extraordinary time and effort that AT&T put into this Learning Experience.
“The presentations from various leaders within and outside their legal group were fantastic,” said Bahi Okupa-Hines, a 2018 Fellow from Walmart. “Even more impressive was the fact that a lot of these leaders, who have very busy calendars, stayed with us most of the day, listened as their colleagues presented, and participated in the discussions after each presentation. I learned so much more about this company and their legal team and culture than I would have expected. AT&T made me feel like a valuable client—and a life-long customer!”
LCLD would like to thank AT&T Fellows Lysha Weston (2016), Darrell Guy (2016), Tamera Woodard (2017), Jason Chang (2017), and AT&T Legal Operations Director Diane Murphy, for making this Learning Experience a one-of-a-kind opportunity for the LCLD Fellows.
For more information about the LCLD Fellows Program or to host a corporate Learning Experience, please contact Nichole Velasquez, Program Manager.
Leadership. Action. Results.