Fiona Carter, chief brand officer at AT&T, leads sponsorships, media, brand, and corporate and business advertising. A passionate advocate for diversity and gender equality, Carter leads the company’s partnership with the Association of National Advertisers’ three-year #SeeHer campaign to improve the way girls and women are portrayed in the media, so that, by 2020, they will see themselves portrayed accurately. She is also involved with Lift & Connect at AT&T, a program in which senior leaders coach, advise and sponsor high-performing colleagues looking to advance their careers.
Carter founded AT&T Presents: Untold Stories, developed in collaboration with the Tribeca Film Festival. The program recently awarded its first $1 million grant to an underrepresented filmmaker. The winner will use the funds to produce a film based on his screenplay, which will be premiered at the festival and distributed on AT&T’s video platforms.
Diversity in the workplace that embraces differences in gender, ethnicity, lifestyle, and thought is an issue Carter is passionate about. “At AT&T, we serve a diverse set of customers,” she explains. “Fostering a culture of diversity and innovation not only lets us think more creatively and execute more effectively, it lets us empathize with our customer base. I believe business flourishes when you have a team made up of people with different opinions, worldviews and backgrounds.”
Gender equality in advertising is especially near and dear to her heart. “The inaccurate portrayal of women and girls in advertising – or their complete absence – perpetuates regressive and discriminatory narratives,” she says. “At AT&T, we’re working to end the global marginalization of women and address the gender-gap by participating in projects like the #SeeHer campaign.”
Carter has always offered colleagues career-related advice. However, at AT&T, she has launched a formal mentoring program. Leaders set aside two hours each month to meet with colleagues seeking to learn how to grow their careers. She also offers this wisdom to all professional women: “First, network, network, network – make your personal brand known; second, work hard, market your accomplishments and talk about your contributions; and third, ask for what you want – it’s your best chance of getting it.”