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Women of Tech 2015: Jeanie York

It’s one thing (and a big thing, to be sure) to oversee network operations — on a national scale — for voice, video and data, and all constituent data centers and IT accoutrement. It’s quite another to do that for a company operating nationally in 12 European countries with multiple languages, vastly diverse cultures and an acquisition-accelerated patchwork of technological capabilities. That’s the work of Jeanie York, vice president of network operations for Liberty Global, and our 2015 honoree in the operator/international category. Because York’s charge is all of that — plus transforming how the company measures, and thus improves, every interaction with its customers. That’s a lotta lotta.

MCN: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Jeanie York: A doctor. A good, old-fashioned doctor, who comes to your house and takes care of you when you’re sick. I worked in a hospital and in health care before I came to telecom. Too much blood and guts!

MCN: First job in tech?

JY: I started out in construction at Qwest, in Denver. We were building out our fiber-optic backbone. I was in quality control — I traveled all over the U.S., inspecting fiber-optic installations.

MCN: What’s the big thing in tech for your organization in 2016?

JY: Cracking the nut on service monitoring and being able to truly see the customer experience.

MCN: Where and when are you happiest?

JY: On a beach or under the water, diving.

MCN. What tech term drives you batty?

JY: I have two of them: “Cloud” and “big data.” What-ever!

MCN: What’s the most important quality for women of tech to have?

JY: Having strength and conviction in who you are, and the value you bring to both the team, and the company you work for.

MCN: Favorite book of all time?

JY: I can tell you the book I read most recently — the Steve Jobs book. He was the right blend of perfectionism and innovation and I’m not sure we’ll see something of his kind again for a while.

MCN: Best advice you ever received?

JY: Don’t define who you are by your job. Define who you are with your character. We have a tendency to make extreme personal sacrifices for our careers. If you’re not careful, you lose the balance and become a “workaholic.” Your job is one part of your character. Don’t make it the only part.

MCN: If you could change one thing about the multichannel video industry, what would it be?

JY: Simplify! Simplify the architecture. Our industry is extremely complex — especially video. If I could change one thing, I’d find the people who can find the way to simplify — our designs, and how we deliver technology to consumers. That’s what I’d change.

MCN: Favorite gadget or app?

JY: I have two favorite apps: WhatsApp, and CityMapper. CityMapper — it’s an awesome tool if you travel a lot.