Queens College hosted Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T’s east region sector, at a business forum breakfast earlier this month in the Student Union ballroom. Shorenstein discussed how AT&T impacts local communities.
Shorenstein spoke about her childhood and the hard work it took for her to get to where she is today in the world’s biggest telecommunications company. She grew up in a Jewish household located in New York City where politics was a major focus of her parent’s work. Shorenstein often attended political rallies with her parents. She spoke about standing on the corner of 77th Street and Broadway at age 9 to hand out leaflets, campaigning for her mother.
When Shorenstein attended Harvard University and graduated without any job offers, she realized that she had to be bold in her attempts to land a job. She figured that in order to get a job at the age of 19, she would have to make a big splash. Consequently, Shorenstein infiltrated a Bill Bradley press conference – Bradley was running against Al Gore for the 2000 presidential election – where she was carried out by security. The next day, this news made the front page of The Concord New Hampshire newspaper and eventually led to her landing a job with the Al Gore campaign as one of five press advance leads.
Felix Matos Rodriguez, the president of Queens College, introduced the guest speaker by saying that, “Her portfolio includes external and administrative affairs from Maine to D.C. so we can only imagine that she is always a busy business lady, especially with all the changes in D.C..”
Now, Shorenstein is the president of AT&T’s east region division where her work has expanded to include 14 states. She oversees legislation and the regulatory agenda within these states. Shorenstein overcomes challenging state and federal issues and legislation within each state that range from tax to consumer issues. However, aside from her everyday work life, she said that what she enjoys most is the opportunity that she has to work with the outreach programs that AT&T has within their local communities.
Shorenstein said, “The other part of my job, the most rewarding part, is the work we do in our communities. It’s the part of my job that keeps me going every day,”.
She serves on the board of the “Girls Who Code” program, an eight-week program that teaches and empowers young high school girls, mostly of low-income households, how to code. According to Shorenstein, at the end of the program 90% of the girls say that they will move on to college and major in computer science.
Shorenstein predicts that “This this will start to change the trajectory of our business and the future of theirs.”
One of the attendees, Alder Canero, a junior majoring in Economics at Queens College, enjoyed her motivational speech and said, “I came to see her because I read her background and it was very impressive and I wanted to ask her about AT&T and the future.”