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The NEDAS Live! Podcast, featuring Ilissa Miller, President of NEDAS, CEO of iMiller Public Relations and co-founder of the IND-DCA; and Steve Yapsuga, Co-Chair of the NEDAS Advisory Council and North American Director of Sales for Comba Telecom, recently released its eighth episode. This episode welcomed Leticia Latino-vanSplunteren, CEO of Neptuno USA and member of both the Wireless Infrastructure Association and the Smart Cities Council Policy Task Force.

Leticia joined the program to discuss the evolution of the smart city movement, share the unique history of Neptuno USA and reveal the infrastructure investments that will be critical for making smart cities a reality. She also shared her thoughts about gender equality in the industry and discussed some of the people that she looks to as mentors.

The conversation began with Leticia noting that cities and businesses certainly are working toward smart initiatives. However, she asserts that the main challenge is a disconnect between the crucial efforts that are already in place. Leticia recalls that during her initial involvement and interest in smart cities, she would attend events and notice a lack of infrastructure vendors present. The industry tends to focus on what she calls the ‘sexy aspect’ or the sizzle of the idea of a smart future — the connected cars, insightful measurements, powerful apps and beyond. However, the piece that is missing is the infrastructure that could really make these smart city capabilities a reality and deliver on those promises. 

So, as an individual approaching this challenge from the infrastructure side (Leticia has worked for one of the world’s leading telecom infrastructure vendors, Nortel), she made a commitment to helping those conversations happen and facilitating the connecting of the dots. 

In addition to catalyzing the smart city revolution, this episode touched on the catalysts that are helping the U.S. become more aware of and more successful with gender equality. This issue is particularly prevalent in areas like telecommunications, so Leticia offers an inside look at that industry challenge. She notes that great programs and certification opportunities have been created — not only to help women gain better recognition within their business spheres, but to help women inspire other women as well. 

Part of the battle is spreading awareness about opportunities that can propel gender equality and diversity throughout industries like telecom. So, the more women take part and the more businesses promote and discuss these opportunities, the closer everyone gets to a level playing field.  

This theme of facilitating conversation and bringing together the necessary industry ecosystems aligns exactly with the mission of NEDAS. NEDAS is an association located at the intersection of wireline and wireless with the goal of promoting education and collaboration through programs, webinars and regional conferences in key areas such as Washington D.C., Boston and New York City. The association is dedicated to tapping into eminent markets and empowering decision makers to engage in vital discussion and problem solving to create a connected, smart future. Even now (and especially now), it’s clear that delivering opportunities for face-to-face connection, idea-sharing and networking is absolutely necessary, and Leticia’s experience serves as a distinct reminder of that. 

To read the previous blog about NEDAS Live! Episode nine, please click here

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