There are many paths you can take here at AT&T. One where you can become the subject matter expert in your field. One where you work across several different organizations in the company to reach common goals. Andy’s goal: “I want to know a lot about everything.”
“My parents came to the U.S. as Vietnam refugees hoping for a better future. My siblings and I were all born here. Being Asian American we were still tied to their heritage and customs from how they grew up.”
Andy Chung’s career at AT&T started with what was our Retail Leadership Development Program (RLDP) 11 years ago. He left his home in Southern California to move to Atlanta for six months. Six months of training. Six months of career development. Six months of relationship building. “This program helped jump-start my career. Taught me how to be a leader and lent me to my first role as a Retail Store Manager.”
After graduation from the RLDP he moved back to California to manage a store of his own in Los Angeles. He excelled in this role, learning more and more each day about sales strategies, customer behavior, purchasing decision points, and day-to-day operations. He won his first AT&T Summit Award (highest accolade awarded in a consumer sales role at AT&T). In no time, he was promoted to Area Retail Store Manager and asked to move to Jackson, Mississippi.
Not somewhere he was expecting but he took the challenge head-on.
“You can’t control all the opportunities that come to you. You just have to be ready for when they do come.
There is a sense of independence in Asian culture. We’re self-starters, entrepreneurs. We own our roles and take on whatever comes our way. This shaped my personality and career. My progress is all on me. I needed to learn as much as I could.”
Arriving in Mississippi, an area not known for a heavy Asian demographic, didn’t concern Andy. He grew up in a part of Orange County where he was used to being the only Asian amongst his peers. He was comfortable being uncomfortable. In fact, he said it never really phased him. He did his research; he knew the numbers.
“I was always the only Asian growing up. I was always different. I never really let myself notice it. I was used to it. I can’t control the way I look but I can control the way I treat people.”
He focused on building positive relationships from the start and gaining buy-in from store managers. They worked on team building and building trust. He catered his leadership methods to meet their needs.
“I remember my first day. I wore a suit. Managers wore suits in LA. Well, not in Jackson. I quickly gained the nickname ‘Hollywood.’ Being able to joke around from the beginning made the transition easier.
When you grow up different from the others around you, you become more empathetic. You see other’s points of view which is a key to building relationships.”
Andy learned a lot during his time in Jackson, not only personally but professionally. A little over a year and another Summit Award later, his VPGM asked him to take on a new role in Atlanta for more exposure. “Never saying ‘no’ has taught me so much and made me the leader I am today.” This move back to Atlanta was life changing as this is when he met his wife, Dona!
“I have held 8 positions in 11 years, which is wild to me, but it expanded my experience and knowledge. It allowed me to build my career and make good choices along the way.
I am a generalist. Sales, mobility operations, transformation, wireless marketing… each step I learned more; I understood more. I gained a well-rounded education. The key players I met along the way helped make my development grow faster.”
This really speaks to the self-starter, self-driven, entrepreneur mindset that comes from growing up with his Asian heritage. Asian-owned businesses are one of the largest among minority groups. “I looked at each role I have had as if it was my own business. I come from a family full of entrepreneurs.”
Andy is pretty settled in his current role as an offer marketing lead for our Android portfolio and back in Southern California, his career development still continues every day. He’s also the current President of the Management Development Program Alumni Association Board, supporting over 3,500 members, as well as a key player in 7UP (Wireless Marketing culture committee), supporting over 450 employees. He’s not afraid to take on new responsibilities and is always ready to say ‘yes’ to the next adventure.See where you can go with #LifeAtATT