AT&T Executive Background Research

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AT&T Executive Background Research

Charlene Lake's work history, current roles, recent coverage in the media, and recent statements made are detailed below. Additionally, eight more recent media coverage sources, and recent statements made by Dennis Williams are also provided. Two videos of Mr. Williams were included, one detailing life as a gay father, and another is an interview he gave for the American Black Film Festival in 2017.

Charlene Lake, AT&T SVP of CSR and Chief Sustainability Officer; Chair, AT&T Foundation

  • Charlene Lake is currently serving as the Chief Sustainability Officer and SVP of Corporate Social Responsibility at AT&T.

Work History

  • She has been with AT&T for 34 years, first joining the company in 1986.
  • Her LinkedIn profile provides no information surrounding her different jobs during those 34 years, and only lists her current title for the entire 34 years, which is clearly not possible. That work information gap has been closed further down in a subsequent bullet point.
  • For one year (1995-1996) Charlene worked in Marketing and Communications for Clarke American.
  • From 1985 to 1986, she was employed as a reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal.
  • Charlene Lake is the past chair for the board of directors on the Public Affairs Council. Despite no longer serving as chair, she still sits on the board.
  • She is the Vice Chair, Board of Trustees for the National Urban League, and also sits on the board of directors for the Kansas State University Foundation.
  • She was recently appointed to the board of directors for Baylor Scott & White Health, and has been serving for 2 months.
  • In her current role she is "responsible for leading AT&T’s philanthropic and volunteerism endeavors, third-party advocacy program and public affairs functional support as well as coordinating signature initiatives that connect social needs with business objectives."
  • The rest of her work history that was lacking from her LinkedIn profile is filled in from this source. Charlene Lake "began her career at Southwestern Bell Telephone in 1986 in Topeka, Kansas, and served in management roles in financial communications, media relations and employee communications in Kansas, Missouri and Texas. She assumed leadership over SBC’s corporate advertising and sports marketing department during the mid 1990s, and managed the organizations through the mergers of Pacific Bell, Southern New England Telephone and Ameritech. In 2003, Ms. Lake began developing a public affairs discipline within the SBC External Affairs department, and in 2007 launched the development of AT&T’s centralized corporate citizenship and sustainability function."
  • Charlene Lake was named chair of the AT&T Foundation, effective September 18, 2019. "She will oversee the AT&T Foundation and all other charitable giving programs, including the company’s focus on education and its efforts with environmental stewardship, economic opportunity, digital safety and community engagement."


Recent Coverage in the Media and Statements Made

  • Charlene wrote this opinion article published on July 16, 2019 surrounding why American companies must engage in training the youth of today to build the workforce of the future.
  • Charlene Lake is quoted in this article, from April 15th, 2019, about AT&T's detailed map of where climate change will damage its infrastructure. She states: "“It helps us anticipate the impact of severe weather on our networks, and on our operations up to 30 years into the future, and that obviously gives us a chance to adapt and become more resilient. Because climate change affects all of us, and it’s not just an issue for us at AT&T, we think these data sets should be available to those who want them for their own planning purposes."
  • In this article from April 2019, Charlene Lake is quoted as saying: "that it’s no longer just socially responsible investors asking questions. Now the decibel level from mainstream investors has caught up. The most challenging area is external reporting, where stakeholder opinions are still emerging about how to present data in ways best suited to the investment community."
  • In celebration of Earth Day 2019, this article quotes Ms. Lake saying: "This Earth Day, AT&T is making it easy and fun for everyone to make a difference. Through the ‘Hope Island Recovery Challenge,’ we’re turning in-game actions into real-world contributions to the Captain Planet Foundation to create more outdoor learning spaces at schools.”
  • In this report from September 2019, it is revealed that AT&T signed virtual power purchase agreements for 960 MW of wind and solar projects by Invenergy and Duke Energy Renewables, which pushes the telecommunication giants’ renewable energy purchases to more than 1.5 GW total. Charlene Lake is quoted in the article saying: "AT&T is investing in renewable energy because it is good for our planet and our business. AT&T’s new renewable energy purchases are a milestone in our company-wide efforts to help address climate change, and they will deliver important benefits to our bottom line."
  • The Aspire Accelerator supports great educational companies of tomorrow and empowers diversity in entrepreneurship across the United States. Ms Lake in this April 2019 article, states that "Technology is making it easier for everybody — regardless of age, gender, geography or income — to learn anytime, anywhere. Innovations in technology remove physical barriers associated with learning. That’s extraordinarily important to the future success of students and the workforce."
  • Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, is an initiative that is supported by AT&T. In this article from April 2019, Charlene Lake is quoted as saying: "It’s difficult for many professionals to mentor in the traditional way, which usually involves spending time with a student offsite. If we can provide mentoring opportunities via technology it makes it easier for everybody that wants to get involved to do so. Our employees are passionate about education, and they play a critical role in this program through their mentoring efforts."
  • Political polarization is another topic that Charlene lack tackles in this article. She states: "AT&T is a microcosm of the United States: We have employees of almost every culture, race, gender, sexual orientation and political persuasion in towns and cities all across this country. When we engage in social and political issues, it’s important that we are transparent about our motivations and give our employees a way to voice their opinions." Further, Lake added that as AT&T’s strategies are based on corporate values (as opposed to shifting political priorities), this helps employees and customers understand the company’s investments and decisions. And the company makes sure those priorities are clear. "We’ve found that our reliance on those values and our need to point to them as our anchor of involvement has increased in tandem with society’s rancor and dissension."
  • AT&T has announced the goal of reaching zero-waste-to-landfill in 100 of its sites by 2020. In this article, Charlene Lake states that "It takes all of us working together to protect our planet. That’s why we want to apply the power of our network and our people to be part of the waste solution. Stepping onto the path to zero-waste is another way our employees are helping to improve our global headquarters community and other communities where we live and work."

Dennis Williams, Warner Media SVP of CSR

Additional Media Coverage and Statements Made

  • In this article surrounding GLAAD, HBO employees gathered to help put an end to bullying against LGBTQ youth. Dennis Williams is quoted as saying “All this happens because we have leaders at the top who get and understand and support all that we do.”
  • In this February 2019 article surrounding the 16th addition of the New York Latino Film Festival, Dennis Williams is quoted as saying: "Now, more than ever, we are honored to partner with NYLFF to offer Latino creatives the opportunity to present, represent, and define their culture and experiences in their own voices."
  • In this article, C4 Atlanta announces a partnership with WarnerMedia for a new arts business incubator as well as the selection of the inaugural artist cohort. Dennis Williams was quoted as saying: "Warner Media is excited to be a funding partner supporting the work of our local creative entrepreneurs in Atlanta. We see this as an important step to be a catalyst for the artists in our own community. We want to amplify Atlanta’s status as the cultural capital of the Southeast."
  • Family Equality took time to thank Dennis Williams for his support in December 2019. Specially, they stated: "We are especially grateful to Dennis Williams, SVP of corporate social responsibility for WarnerMedia, who has championed Family Equality as a gay dad and hero to LGBTQ+ and all marginalized people. It was an honor to share Dennis and his son Élan’s story for the first time at Night at the Pier 2019."
  • To read more about Dennis and his son, click here.
  • HBO is a supporter of Birthright AFRICA. Started in 2015, by co-founders Walla Elsheikh and Diallo Shabazz, "Birthright AFRICA is creating the next generation of global leaders and entrepreneurs." Dennis Williams said this about them: "The entertainment industry is one of many sectors benefiting from a renewed and sometimes new interest in understanding personal history and lineage, especially within communities of color. As filmmakers, writers, and storytellers of all kinds have reconnected with their own histories, they've invited audiences to do the same, resulting in content that is richer, more inclusive, and bringing with it bigger and bigger audiences. Birthright AFRICA serves as an important pathway for self-discovery and understanding for a future generation of creatives and entrepreneurs who will continue to innovate through their narratives and having a meaningful social impact on our industry."
  • This is a link to an interview with Dennis Williams in 2017 at the American Black Film Festival.
  • In 2018, HBO partnered with Rock the Vote. Dennis Williams was quoted as saying: “The right to vote is one of the most ignored gifts of our democracy. At HBO, we often have programs that give voice to the underrepresented. This partnership with Rock the Vote is us encouraging you to use your voice so that you are heard.”