Bennett Ruiz – Member Spotlight February 2011

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?

I am currently Executive Director of Global Field Marketing at AT&T, serving the needs of our largest Multi-national Enterprise customers around the world.   I have been with AT&T for 17 years, because I love the company and really enjoy the privilege of doing what I do for a living.    I started out as a summer intern and was always interested in the nexus between business and technology.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

The biggest challenge that everyone in my industry faces is the pace of innovation.  It is actually a great challenge to face, because it keeps you current and if you stay at the forefront, it also increases the value that you provide to your customers and to your organization.

What is your proudest achievement?

On the personal front, it has to be raising three amazing boys at our home in Morristown, NJ.   On the professional front, it is having the opportunity to lead a truly global team comprised of the best professionals in the industry.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?

I find it very tough to single out any one individual, plus I want to steer clear of making any political statements with my answer, but I’d like to share how impressed I am by the very compelling personal story of Ralph de la Vega, who leads AT&T’s Mobility and Consumer markets.   He wrote a book about his experience in business and in life, which includes his story about immigrating by himself from Cuba as a 10 year old.   He is also one of the most genuine and approachable individuals that you will come across.  The book is titled “Obstacles Welcome: turn adversity into advantage in business and life”.   I recommend it.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I’d like to have the opportunity to lead a large, global organization and have the overall Profit and Loss responsibility for that organization.   Absent that possibility, I would probably enjoy doing something entrepreneurial.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?

I would first ask them to have a truly global perspective, because from a career standpoint, their competition can now spring from just about everywhere.   With regards to making an impact, I would say that no action is too small, and that they should strive to remember the parable of the Faithful Servant,  that to whom much is given, much is required. You’d be amazed by the influence and impact that you can have through very small, but focused acts.