Celebrating the diverse voices that make up our team is an integral part of our culture. One way we amplify these unique voices is through our employee groups. Through mentorship, networking, volunteerism, and more, our employee groups create an inclusive workplace for all.

We sat down with Rob Walter, National President of LEAGUE at AT&T — our LGBTQIA+ employee group — to learn about the groups history, mission, and recent initiatives.

LEAGUE at AT&T logoLife at AT&T: How did LEAGUE at AT&T begin?

Rob: LEAGUE at AT&T was founded in in 1987 with the first individual chapter in Denver, Colorado, and it’s one of the oldest LGBTQIA+ employee groups in the United States. Our organization has grown and changed alongside the company over the years, but our focus has always been the same: Be a voice for LGBTQIA+ employees at AT&T, a voice for our community, and resource for the company to engage our community.

How has the organization evolved since its inception?

Our core focus remains the same, but the scope has expanded over the years. Our commitment to youth grows as our foundation has distributed more than $480,000 to self-identifying LGBTIA+ high school seniors. Our focus on equal rights for our members has evolved from workplace rights and equality to marriage equality and now to transgender and non-binary rights.

What are the the guiding principles of LEAGUE?

LEAGUE has a focus on four pillars: Representation in the Workplace, Skills Development, Engagement, and Advocacy. These pillars guide our group’s mission to support our members and work with external organizations that support the greater community. Each year, our leadership reviews the organization’s goals and refines them to focus on pressing issues.

How any chapters and members are there today?

Currently, we have nearly 4,000 members across 12 chapters based primarily in the AT&T hub offices locations.

What is a recent initiative of LEAGUE you’d like to highlight?

One of the programs we are most proud of is our effort to help AT&T rewrite its transgender policy. The published document dates back to 2017. Since that time, our commitment to equality and workplace acceptance has evolved. We reviewed the current policy line-by-line and made significant recommendations that included new resources and the use of non-binary language.

Are there any projects you’ve played a role in you’re particularly proud of?

I think my proudest moment was the creation of a job shadow day for self-identifying LGBTQIA+ high school students. We partnered with a local job-shadow and an at-risk youth organization to create a first of its kind program from AT&T. The program partnered out professionals with students to show them that you can be “out and proud.”

What inspired you to join LEAGUE?

I thought, “What a great group to be a part of! These are people like me working to grow their careers and supporting each other.” It was exactly what I needed at that point in my life and my career.

How did you get involved with leadership?

I had led the Georgia chapter right after the BellSouth-AT&T merger for four years before taking a hiatus to focus on my family. After the pandemic, I was feeling very disconnected from my community and decided to take on a national leadership role. I thought there couldn’t be a better way to give back to the community that I’m a part of and that I believe in than by stepping up to lead again.

What kind of impact has LEAGUE had on your career?

I have had the opportunity to network with a number of leaders within AT&T and my local community because of this group. LEAGUE has helped me grow my skills as a leader and to become more confident and outspoken in support of my peers.

How has the culture of LEAGUE and AT&T as whole helped you embrace your authentic self?

One of the things I noticed when I first joined to organization was how out and proud and confident the leaders were. I hadn’t worked in an environment where there was acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community in the workplace before. I found myself seeking mentors and opportunities to work alongside those leaders. They helped me find my own confidence that I continue to impart not only to our LEAGUE members, but to the allies and coworkers around me, too.

Do you have any advice for team members who need help embracing their authentic selves?

Be you! There’s no one else better qualified! Seek out and surround yourself with individuals that have the skills and qualities you wish to grow in yourself. Overtime, that exposure will help you build the strength to speak out and be your true, authentic self.

Rob WalterRob Walter began his career with us 20 years ago after a nearly four year stint as a contractor. He chose to take a full-time position because of the community and inclusive atmosphere, as well as opportunities to grow and develop his skills.

Today, he is part of a Software Development organization supporting Field Operations and Business Solutions among others. Rob’s focus is helping his peers grow leading edge skillsets as well as develop learning materials for corporate tools and processes.

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