This month’s insights from BAI’s leaders around the world come from Julia Hanft, General Counsel of Transit Wireless, responsible for all regulatory, compliance, external affairs and legal matters. Julia joined Transit Wireless from her own law firm where she was a founding partner. Previously, she served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary for Globecomm Systems Inc., a leading provider of complex communications solutions for commercial and government customers throughout the world.
What’s the most important development happening in our industry and what does that mean for business globally?
I think the most important thing for our industry and others is the shift to a flexible work location. The technology to work from multiple locations has been around for a while, but the global pandemic forced us all to learn how to use it quickly and we now have a global workforce that can work together in very collaborative ways from anywhere. Companies need to continue to expand on the technologies and the change in process to take advantage of this new way of working, which will lead to a more diverse and better-skilled workforce.
What inspires you most in the work that you do?
I’m inspired by the work that we do at Transit Wireless and BAI. Having access to communication is so important, whether it’s to keep you entertained, keep you connected with your loved ones, or keep you feeling safe by knowing that help is just a phone call away. The fact that I can be a small part of ensuring that communication is available in places where it otherwise wouldn’t be, really keeps me motivated.
What is a technique you use to be more effective in your work?
I have a set of 3×5 note cards for the year – one card for each day of the year, with the day and date printed on it. Every morning I put down the 3 most important things I want to accomplish that day, and then I try very hard to make the time to get those 3 things done. Sometimes I just have to write one or two things on the next day’s card, but it’s a good exercise every morning to force myself to consider what are the 3 things that I want to accomplish.
What’s one of the ongoing challenges you face at work and how do you manage it?
The biggest challenge I have is managing my own expectations when the customer doesn’t move as fast as I want to move. It’s easy to get frustrated when things aren’t moving at the speed you think they should or wish they would. I have to remind myself that everyone has a reason for the things they do, and I can be more effective if I try to figure out what the customer’s reasons are, and then try to help them overcome their hurdles.
What is your advice for proactively managing your career?
You have to know where you want to go, figure out what it takes to get there, and then – most importantly – decide if you’re willing to do those steps. Every career path comes with some sacrifice and it’s ok to say one path is more sacrifice than you’re willing to make, so then you pivot to another path. By thinking through ahead of time what those sacrifices are and making a conscious choice to accept them, you will have the determination needed to accomplish your goals.
Who has been the greatest influence on your career and why?
My mother was the greatest influence on my career because she showed me what it means to have a work ethic. My mother worked 28 years for the same bank, working her way up from a teller to an Operations Manager. She went to work every day and put in her best effort, no matter what else was happening. When she was laid off, she didn’t get angry, she just got busy and took training programs to learn new skills and got a new job, starting back at the bottom again. I try every day to be like her and just put in my best, every day, no matter what else is going on.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I love to watch TV singing shows. I never miss an episode of The Voice or American Idol. And I even vote for the singers I want to win!