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Where My Girls At? Part II: The Tech Tea with Kimberly

It's always great to catch up with people you have been rocking with for a while. It is equally as cool to meet new people.


This week's blog is from someone I connected with via LinkedIn and I am super excited to have her share her tech journey.


 

Joining us on this week's Tech Tea Q&A is Sherry Bellomo.


Sherry, tell us about yourself and what you do.

I am 61 years young and enjoying this beautiful time in my life. I am very active, enjoying cycling, swimming and have most recently become a pickleball enthusiast. I have 4 grandsons that I adore and an amazing daughter that has worked with me for me full time for the past 10 years. I have had my own small business for 14 years and it provides a lifestyle that really couldn’t be any better. After 30 years with the Phone Company I saw a significant, insidious, problems with phone billing and the need for Customer Advocacy. I now audit phone billing for Customers in the Government, Education and Medical Markets.


What’s your professional background, and how did you get into your current career?


I started work for Southern Bell in 1977, three months after turning 18 and a year after completing my GED education. I was hired as a technician, installing phones in residents’ homes. This was a job that was 100% males until that time when Southern Bell started hiring the first women to work in the field. After 10 years, I won a job bid, promoting me to the highest paying non-management position in Marketing. I went from boots and jeans to heals and dresses. What a transition. After another 10 years I was awarded a management position in the newly booming ‘wireless’ arena. I worked for years designing transport networks for T-Mobile. Working in an area where our Customers were paying millions of dollars a month for services, I began to see massive ‘problems’ with the billing for these services. When I had the opportunity to leave what was then AT&T, at 48 years old and with 30 years’ service, I took it. I knew there was a tremendous potential to become a billing advocate for Customers and I jumped in. It has been the most amazing experience every and I have achieved tremendous success in all ways.


Tell us what a typical day at work looks like for you.


My daughter and I typically begin work at 9:00, starting with a coffee, discussing how things are going in our lives and what’s on the agenda for the day. We both have very distinct responsibilities, so we insure we are on the same page with what each of us needs to be working on. I keep a weekly schedule of Business Development contacts to be made on my high priority potential Clients. Each day, what I am specifically working on for my Clients changes so there is always something different and unique to the job that I am working on. Much of what we do requires action on our part and then we have to wait for the Carrier we work with to do their part. That being said, it is much of a start, wait, confirm work was done correctly process.


How does your current role help your company?


I am basically the salesperson for my Company. I believe I do well when I can get in front of a potential Client because I truly do not believe there is anyone that does what I do that is better at it than me. With that being said, my knowledge of AT&T services, tariffs, pricing, processes, etc. makes me the best advocate a Customer could have when it comes to their monthly billing.


What do you like best about your current position?


If I were to rename my company it would be Telecom CSI. I often joke that phone bills are like crime scenes, and I love investigating them. I absolutely love analyzing the data and finding mistakes, errors, things that don’t belong, and things that don’t make sense. Every audit feels like a treasure hunt. Some mistakes are easy to find and rectify and others can be very challenging requiring a lot of analysis and detective work. It is absolutely my favorite part of what I do each day.


What is the most challenging thing about your current position?


What I find most challenging is #1, getting that face to face meeting with a potential Client. #2 is often getting them to take action. Often my contacts think “we’ve got this”, “we don’t need help”, “we do this in house.” I kind of compare that to looking in your own mouth and saying “well, my teeth look good to me.” Having a thorough telecom billing audit is like getting an x-ray on your teeth. Your Doctor sees problems that you would never see.


What is the best career advice you have received?


When I first went into Marketing in about 1986 we had two computers in our entire office tucked back in a small room. There was no such thing as the internet, at least not for us mere mortals. My boss, at the time, taught me how to use what are called tariffs to look up products, descriptions, pricing, etc. These were massive books and you had to learn how to navigate them. She taught me well and to this day I search those tariffs on a regular basis. Although now, I simply go to https://cpr.att.com Go ahead and take a look, you’ll see why you have to have detective skills to find what you need there!


What advice would you give other women about a tech career?


Learn where to go to find what you need. Don’t just let someone answer a question, have them tell you how they know what they know and teach you how to find those answers you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done, it is OK to fail. It is the only way to reach new levels no matter what you are doing.


How would you rate your tech career on a scale of 1-5 and why?


5...I love the freedom to create my business the way I choose it to be. I have believed in myself from the very beginning and being brave has allowed me to create what I never could have dreamed of if I had played it safe. Being a ‘pioneer’ in the telecom field has also allowed me to watch how technology has advanced over the years. I remember ordering the first internet services for AOL and thinking, “this internet thing is never going to catch on.” Also, today, working with my daughter is beyond amazing. We are both so blessed, and we tell ourselves that every day.


Tell us one really cool or unique thing about you.


I moved out of my parents house the day I turned 16. Long story, but the result is I have always taken care of myself. Of course, it takes a village for anyone in life these days to be truly successful but knowing my success in life is ultimately up to me, I have never put my happiness, financial security, or freedom in any else’s hands. Other than God that is=)

 

Thanks so much Sherry. I love your journey!


Maybe I can turn the Tech Tea into a company so I can have my own business one day.




Later...

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2 Comments


Sherry Bellomo
Sherry Bellomo
Sep 13, 2021

Kim, thank you again for the opportunity to share my story. It was interesting to reflect on where I have been and where I am now on my journey. I am enjoying your blog and look forward to your future posts. Sherry

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Kimberly Bailey
Kimberly Bailey
Sep 13, 2021
Replying to

Your story is inspiring. I am so happy we connected!😊

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