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Angie Klein may not have studied a technical discipline, but after twenty years in telecommunications, she knows her fair share about the industry. Her marketing expertise and experience across numerous business units at telecom company Verizon made her an ideal fit to lead the company’s digital wireless brand, Visible, which she has led as CEO May 2021.
“My marketing background has allowed me to look at the telecom world through a different lens than some of my engineering or tech peers might. I’m trying to boil it down and tell a story that matters to the average person,” Klein says. “To me, Visible is as much a marketing brand as a tech brand.”
That perspective informs Klein’s approach to her new role as president and CEO. She seeks to bring her trademark attention to the customer experience to Visible and its members, digital natives looking to save money on their wireless plan without sacrificing network quality. The story at Visible is one of simplicity, but that’s exactly what makes the brand so disruptive. Considering her own penchant for disruption during her time at the larger Verizon, Klein is perfectly poised to take Visible to the next level.
Early on in her Verizon career, Klein had a chance to join the Fios team in the fiber-optic network’s start-up phase. During that time, she recognized her passion for challenging the industry status quo and her belief in centering customers in any business model. She went on to introduce disruptive ideas across her other roles at Verizon, through which she also gained broad exposure to the company.
“I’ve managed and left my mark on a lot of different parts of the business at all different life stages, from start-up to harvest to growth to renewal, with a focus on growth, scale, and disruption,” she says.
Most recently, Klein headed Verizon’s consumer segment marketing organization, where she developed and implemented the customer-inspired “Verizon Up” loyalty program and “Mix and Match” portfolio. “I had accountability for all of our value prop strategies across postpaid and prepaid as well as our home business, including Fios and fixed wireless,” she notes. “I’m extremely proud of that work, which is driving a lot of our revenue growth on the Verizon side now.”
Since moving over to the Visible side, Klein has focused on getting to know the brand, its team, and its members. Based on dozens of conversations with employees and members alike, she began to make changes like restructuring the organization to accommodate future growth, reframing workplace culture to emphasize the member and employee experience, and sharpening the brand mission.
“We are here to reimagine what wireless should be: radically simple, fundamentally accessible, and audaciously inclusive,” she explains. “We’re not trying to be all things to all people. We really want to focus on providing a simple digital experience and being the best at it.”
For Klein, being the best means responding to the wants and needs of Visible’s digital-native consumer base through offerings like “Party Pay,” a pricing structure with the benefits of a traditional wireless family plan but where members select their own groups. “Visible is really rendering the old ‘family plan’ obsolete,” Klein says. “Because we’re digital only, we can pass those savings on to our members, but we’re leveraging the ability of this beautiful network that Verizon has built. It’s a premium experience at a much lower rate.”
Visible’s mission aligns well with Klein’s nontechnical background, not to mention her prior experience leading in a disruptive environment. “A strength of mine has always been leaning into change and getting comfortable with adversity, but still understanding the financial implications of the decisions that we make,” she says. She credits her flexibility and openness to taking on new challenges as major contributors to her success.
Still, Klein remembers the people who helped her along the way. “I’ve had people recognize potential in me that I didn’t see in myself,” she admits. “I sometimes think about how different my life would have been without those doors that someone else opened for me because they saw that potential.”
Such reflection pushes Klein to lift up others, whether at the office or in her community. She has served on the board of the Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York for the last nine years to ensure that girls and young women are aware of the paths available to them, and she forges lasting connections with junior colleague mentees. She uses her personal knowledge of mentees’ strengths to advise them, whether in the moment or years down the line––much as she herself continues to turn to her former bosses as sounding boards.
Klein feels particularly strongly about paving the way for her fellow women. “I’m acutely aware that there are not as many female CEOs in telecom as there should be,” she says. Even with Verizon’s wide-ranging support of women in the industry, she does her part by looking out for the women she personally leads. “My voice has never been quiet,” she says. “And I recognize when other voices, especially female voices, aren’t being heard. I am not afraid to call things out, so I try to amplify those voices.”
Just as it makes her a powerful advocate, Klein’s bold voice suits her status as an industry disruptor. It’s a part that she was born to play—and, in Visible, she may have found her greatest stage yet.
Thoughts from Guest Editor Christine Vanderpool
“Angie Klein is proof that being comfortable with the hard challenges and being able to face adversity straight on is a recipe for success. Even with her success, she takes time reflect on those who saw her potential and gave her opportunities.”