Liquid Web’s Head of Strategic Initiatives on being present at the start of brand new technology, her father’s lasting influence on her career, and the value of Servant Leadership.
Rhonda Capone knows a thing or two about stepping out of her comfort zone and trying new things. Her journey in tech began in the early 1990s working for the Cellular Telephone Industry Association as a member of the Fraud and Roaming department. This was brand new technology and therefore brand new territory, and Rhonda Capone embraced the unknown, joining CTIA less than a decade after the first truly mobile telephone was launched.
Staffed by industry pioneers, the association worked with cellular manufacturers and license providers to build out coverage coast to coast in the United States. CTIA also worked alongside various regulatory agencies to determine how spectrum would be allocated and sold. They worked to determine how policies for different cellular companies would work together to provide a brand new service to consumers. Rhonda Capone is a reminder that the technology and services we now take for granted were built by individuals who believed in a vision, rolled up their sleeves, and got to work.
“It was such an exciting time. I was a part of an emerging market and had the opportunity to work with technical and business leaders. I was so green and eager to learn something new,” she says. “I will always be grateful to the early leaders of CTIA for giving me the opportunity to learn, grow, and set my path on this technology journey.” The lessons she learned early in her career have been essential to her success. “Being a leader doesn’t mean you have all the answers. A good leader knows when to ask for advice and help from their peers, within their team, and their management structure.”
Twenty-five years after helping to shepherd brand new technology to the American public, Rhonda Capone is putting to use her ability to collaborate and communicate, and her willingness to dive in and try new things as Liquid Web’s Head of Strategic Initiatives, leading the execution of the company’s key projects and programs. From the beginning of her career to her current role at Liquid Web, she has always looked for the ways in which she can contribute best to each team and each role.
The unique opportunity to work on an array of exciting projects through her career is not lost on her. She has played a role in the creation of standards that helped shape the early days of the cellular industry, training and education for industry personnel, infrastructure deployments, software development, and large platform conversions. “Looking back, what I am most proud of is my ability to find the best way to contribute with each and every role,” she says.
She credits her father with planting the early seeds of career success. “He taught me so much about the value of a strong work ethic. I learned from him to always approach a new situation with an open mind and to treat others with kindness and empathy. He also taught me that the best relationships are built on mutual trust— trust is earned, not just given and never bought. And he taught me to trust your gut and find humor in every day!”
Fellow women in technology have also played an important role in her career. “A common thread in my career is I have been in the company of strong women throughout,” she says. “Each of them, in various roles, has shaped me as a leader.”
She has also been shaped by the concept of Servant Leadership. “This idea helped me to hone my skills and weave them into the way I build my teams and organizational functions. I’ve learned that the desire to serve others and a positive attitude can take you a long way.” As she takes on leadership roles in technology, she strives to look for ways to make a positive impact both within her team and within the company. To do this, she continues to leave her comfort zone and discover new ways to make a positive impact.
In a shining case of leading by example, her advice to women just starting out in technology is a few simple concepts that she has built her career around. Don’t be afraid. Raise your hand. Step into something new.