“Always surround yourself with people who are smarter than you… If you know your strengths, and your weaknesses, you need to be confident enough to let other people shine.”
That’s the best career advice Roberta “Robi” Kozinski ever received. During our interview, the importance of this advice — being confident enough to really learn — in a career as winding and ultimately successful as hers became apparent.
Now Senior Manager of Brand Identity & Reputation at Frontier Communications, Robi started her career in IT, Care, Billing and Sales operations in a variety of capacities.
During downsizing early in the 2000s, she lost her job. And instead of losing faith, she took a chance and turned to independent consulting. She says it was her proudest career move and it led to a massive opportunity. She began contracting with Verizon in 2003 and ultimately, in a leap of faith, joined their marketing department — a field of work she’d never been in before.
It was her knowledge and confidence that allowed her to do so without missing a beat.
“I got into marketing in a very strange way… My background in operations and organization dynamics proved to be very useful in the transition and have been invaluable in my career in marketing from the start.”
When Kozinski’s part of the Verizon business was acquired by Frontier Communications in 2016, she didn’t have a say in joining the company. However, she says she’s chosen to stay every day since. There are plenty of reasons why — including, again, how important she considers being surrounded by the best and brightest in an environment where learning is encouraged.
“[At Frontier,] I feel like — and am treated like — I am a key contributor to the work of the overall organization... This is going to sound trite but it’s so very true: This role allows me to work with some of the most brilliant people in the business that come from a vast array of backgrounds... The respect I have for these people is unending.”
While learning from the best is important, Kozinski says when it comes to career development, sharing your knowledge and building a reputation for it is equally important. After all, mentorship is an important part of any growth equation.
“Never give up on building a solid reputation for knowing your stuff and knowing your people. Whatever you do, whatever your area of interest, find ways to learn, to partner and to grow constantly. Even if that means taking criticism that you’d rather ignore, dissecting it and taking from it the truly good and meaningful lessons you need.”
Projecting a strong reputation is also an important part of the job search, according to Kozinski. When asked what advice she had for people applying to Frontier, she reinforced the importance of knowing and communicating your unique value.
“Know how you can help and be able to articulate this clearly... Be open about your strengths.”
So, what is Kozinski’s greatest strength? It won’t be too surprising that it's her ability to bring people together and help them learn from each other.
“Mentoring and team building: Bringing the right people together to achieve an objective,” she said. “Being able to see the bigger picture and helping people come together to resolve gaps.”
Thankfully, her role at Frontier is the perfect place for that.
“My role in branding was my ‘dream’ job… The challenges of being part of bringing these organizations together and moving them forward? Big bonus. And the people? MAJOR bonus.”
When asked what she wants to do in the future, Kozinski has an answer both for Frontier and beyond.
“In the near-term, I see my role at Frontier solidifying as a change leader… It is here where I can best contribute and find fulfillment in my work,” she shared. “Longer-term, I’d like to be semi-retired, in a leadership role at a non-for-profit and spending the rest of my time enjoying family. That said, ‘what’s next’ is always exciting and rarely expected. To that end, I’ll remain flexible and open to challenges and opportunities.”
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