This week the Women@Sitetracker group had the opportunity to sit down with Victoria Lamberth, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of ZenFi Networks, for a discussion about leadership in the telecom industry.
ZenFi Networks is an innovative, locally-owned and operated communications infrastructure company focused on enabling fiber optic network, distributed colocation and wireless siting solutions in the New York and New Jersey metro region. As the area’s most experienced communications infrastructure builders, ZenFi Networks has an unparalleled reputation for efficiently architecting, delivering, and expanding fiber optic networks, distributed colocation, and wireless connectivity solutions. Having recently merged with Cross River Fiber, ZenFi Networks has become a the leading communications infrastructure provider in the New York and New Jersey metro areas, with more than 700 route miles of fiber optic network, 120 on-net buildings, 45 colocation facilities and nearly 6000 outdoor wireless locations under contract. In addition, the company owns 2 unique, special purpose tower sites that enable the high frequency trading industry.
Victoria is a leader in the telecom industry, and for good reason: she’s driven, hardworking, and a believer in taking risks. She shared tips from her playbook for success with the women of Sitetracker.
Be kind; empathy goes a long way
“Empathy goes a long way in both your professional and personal life.” —Victoria Lamberth, Co-Founder and CRO of ZenFi Networks
A co-worker sends a tough email, a customer loses their temper, a project is seemingly falling apart… every day there are countless crises to deal with. Everyone has a moment when they become the target of frustration and while it might be tempting to give match his/her mood with an equally unpleasant demeanor, Victoria advises that you take a step back for a moment. Ask, “What’s really going on here? Is there anything I or one of my colleagues may have said or done to upset this person or create this problem?” When you pause to ask these questions, a larger conversation is unlocked. Taking time to find the root cause helps build relationships and confirm your investment with employees and customers.
Choose and stay with great partners
Victoria credits her success to great partners, both in and out of the office, “I couldn’t do what I do on a daily basis without a great partner at home, and fantastic partners at work”. Even with the best partners, there are bound to be disagreements from time to time. Victoria insists you present a united front publicly after hashing out differences privately. “It’s important to remember and convey that this is the team you chose to work with and, ultimately, you believe in the group to make the best decisions. These are the people you believe in.” Believing in and relying on your partners is the best way to build and ensure a strong team culture and successful career.
Remember, there’s always tomorrow
Victoria’s father gave her this piece of advice and it stuck with her: when you have what you think is the worst day in the world, you have the benefit of going home and starting over the next day, “There’s always something more to do, a decision you can second guess. Some days you need to call it and try again. Keep showing up and trying your best, eventually you’ll break through.” Having the chance to reset and clear your mind makes you sharper for the important decisions you have to make. Learn from your mistakes to make tomorrow a better day.
Take calculated risks
When looking for the next person to bring onto her team, Victoria said she, “…doesn’t want a perfectionist because if they are trying to be perfect, they are probably trying to do what has already been done. If you attempt something new and it fails, it’s okay. You can usually go back in and fix it. Most of the time when you fix it, its better than the “perfect” version before.” The short version: take calculated risks; they usually pay off.
Diverse teams are the best teams
Diversity in age, race, culture, gender, and background provides different perspectives that are valuable to any team. In the telecom industry, specifically, age has been in the spotlight. “I don’t see how you can have a quality team without diversity of experience. I’ve learned so much from people who have been in the industry for decades, their experience is invaluable to me, it helps provide context for where we are and cautionary tales for what to do going forward. But at the same time, we all need to grow and change. That change often comes from new hires with fresh perspective.” According to Victoria, it is beneficial to have an industry veteran on a team and a person new to the telecom industry who can view problems with fresh eyes.
The telecom industry is constantly changing, and Victoria’s advice will be helpful for anyone, industry veteran or newcomer, for navigating the future of telecom.