March 14, 2021

Spotlight on Outstanding Women at RFS

To celebrate International Women’s Day and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to empowering women in the industry we shine a spotlight on some of the outstanding women in leadership roles at RFS

Radio Frequency Systems,

A recent report from the GSMA highlights both the positive impact women have in leadership positions in our industry, but also what still needs to be done. 

  • Only 24% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women.
  • Less than a third of female students choose to study subjects like maths and engineering at a higher level resulting in women being under-represented in related industries.  
  • 70% of women working in tech feel they have been treated differently at work owing to their gender. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to empowering women in the industry we shine a spotlight on some of the outstanding women in leadership roles at RFS

Name: Beckie Reed 
Job Title: Chief Accounting Officer and local Site leader
First Job in Telecoms: 
I started out working for a local ISP in college before moving into sales roles for some of the larger US Telcos. After a few years I transitioned into accounting and finance and this led me eventually to my role at RFS.
How the industry has changed
It has been an amazing 20 years for technology; moving from dial-up internet to today’s high-speed connections, from early Nokia mobile phones to today’s smart phones. It has also been an amazing 20 years for women. Women have become more empowered, particularly over the last decade, as we become and support leaders. You don’t become a good leader on your own, having a good team behind you and support of your leadership allows you the opportunities to succeed.
A woman that inspires me:
This may sound Cliché, but I would say my mother inspired me and laid the foundation for my success.  Coming from a very humble background she worked hard, always giving 110%.  At a young age I saw the drive and determination to succeed, and this will always push me to continue to seek and accept new challenges and opportunities. 

Name: Marianne Mandel 
Job Title: Director of Sales, T-Mobile Key Account Manager
First Job in Telecoms: 
My first job was a sales representative for Motorola moving through the organization to become a sales manager for large DAS projects. One of the most memorable moments in my career is being one of the first representatives on site with Los Angeles fire chiefs in 1988 when the First Interstate Bank, then the tallest building in Downtown Los Angeles, had several floors burning and working to provide the emergency communications they needed within 24 hours. Since then, I have been with RFS for 20 years, handling large project and managing key accounts for a number of tier one operators.  
How the industry has changed
When I started in telecom only two-way radios and paging existed.  I remember my first phone was the size of a brick and had to be stored in the trunk of my car. When I started my career, I was the only woman on the sales team in a male dominated industry for several years. I always felt respected and supported but it wasn’t until 2000 we really started to see more and women in management and leadership roles. A big change has been making it easier for women to balance family and career. The way has been paved for women to have the structure and support to access many more possibilities and opportunities. 
A woman that inspires me:
Norah O’Donnell, American television journalist and anchor of the CBS evening News and Correspondent for 60 minutes. Washingtonian Magazine named her as of Washington’s 100 most powerful women. As a wife and mother of three, Norah is a pilar of strength, demonstrating the balance of professionalism and family life. She is poised, bright, organized, confident and a stellar role model to all the girls and women in the world that want to set and achieve their goals successfully balancing family and career.

Name: Sophie Guennec  
Job Title: Project Manager for Base Station Antenna in Mobile in Mobile Site Solutions BU.
First Job in Telecoms: I studied at a highly selective post graduate engineering school before taking my first R&D role working in power electronics. I’ve held a variety of positions over the years, working in Fixed Networks and then later Mobile Networks. After 21 years at Nokia/Alcatel I joined RFS 3 years ago. 
How the industry has changed
The industry has become significantly more competitive since I started. Companies that once held monopolies for certain technologies must now battle fiercely for market share. The industry has changed significantly for women over the past few decades, there are far more women in the sector but for me it is not enough. Women still represent a minority, and the industry isn’t able to benefit as much as it could from the efficiency that having a diverse and well-rounded team brings. 
A woman that inspires me
Marie Curie. She was a brilliant scientist. She received two Nobel prizes and represents for me a model of female will and determination in scientific world dominated by men.


Name: Carla Taborda 
Job Title: Head of LATAM Market Technical Solutions
First Job in Telecoms: I started off my career as an intern at Siemens in 1993 working in the engineering department, first with fixed phone networks and later with mobile phones. I have been with RFS for four years, moving from Nokia. I started here as Product Manager for BSA and now lead for all pre-sales activities across Latin America.
How the industry has changed
The industry has changed a lot. When I started, we had no internet, no emails, no PCs, no laptops in the office. We used fixed phones, fax and big mainframes. The world was “slower” and that has definitely changed. For the majority of my career, I haven’t worked with many women. Working in product and pre-sales related functions I was often the only woman in the team. This needs to change and it starts with education; encouraging more women to choose telecom/electrical engineering degrees. There is still a need make sure young women are made aware of and encouraged to study more technical courses. 
A woman that inspires me:
My mother is certainly the woman who inspired me, coming from a very poor family and without resources, she always struggled a lot for me to be able to study.

Name: Shirley Zhao
Job Title: APAC sales operations and supply chain manager
First Job in Telecoms: RFS was the first role I took in the telecoms industry. Before this, I worked in a wide variety of areas including textiles, construction and product labeling but it is how quickly telecoms has developed over the past 20 years to make our lives easier that made me want to join the industry and RFS. 
How the industry has changed
When I joined RFS the industry was starting to move from 4G to focus on 5G and we are seeing everything become faster and more interconnected. It was an incredibly interesting point to not only join RFS but also enter telecoms as it goes through a major evolution. RFS is also the first company I’ve worked for to have a female CEO, which I view as a hugely positive thing. My experience is that I find women can often have more delicate observational abilities, be more relatable and be able to find more opportunities in small changes which benefits both a company and its employees. 
A woman that inspires me
Lang Ping, head coach of China Women’s Volleyball Team and president of China Volleyball Academy. Lang Ping is one of the top outstanding coaches in World Women’s Volleyball. She uses the most advanced coaching philosophy, the most scientific training methods and the most intelligent selection standards, winning championships and making her a fantastic role model for women.