2019 FierceTelecom Rising Star — CenturyLink’s Shaun Andrews

CenturyLink's Shaun Andrews (CenturyLink)

The FierceTelecom editorial team is proud to announce our Rising Stars series in which we’re profiling up-and-coming executives in the telecom industry. We’ve selected a slate of executives from services providers, public cloud companies and telco vendors whom we think are on the rise in 2019. We’ll be doling out the names of our winners, two per day, so that our readers have the time to enjoy reading their profiles. And next week, we’ll post a Rising Stars poll, giving everyone the opportunity to vote for their favorite top executive to watch in the FierceTelecom ecosystem. We hope you enjoy the series!

Transforming a telco into a technology company is no easy task. But for Shaun Andrews, CenturyLink’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, the key to achieving this is to find the right mix of people who not only understand the telecom business but also can learn to do things differently. “The cultural change we had to make was more difficult than the technology,” he noted.

Andrews is responsible for the company’s marketing strategy, pricing, product management and sales. He admits that he doesn’t have the technical chops that some of his colleagues have, but he doesn’t find that to be a detriment to his career. “Increasingly, I find this business is more about people than technology.”

Andrews has been in the telecom industry for his entire career working in product and sales positions at IntelePeer, WilTel and SBC Communications. He also worked at Level 3 Communications before it was acquired by CenturyLink in 2017.

He attributes his success to having two mentors that were pivotal in his career. Jeff Storey, CEO of CenturyLink, was instrumental in providing guidance to Andrews earlier in his career. He also had another mentor, Brian Stading, who provided management guidance and helped him get into grad school. “He taught me how to have difficult conversations with people,” Andrews said. “I still call him when I need guidance.”

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Andrews said if he were to give any advice to others it would be to surround yourself with people that can provide both negative and positive feedback. “If you can’t fix something at least know where your gaps are so you can build a team to fill those gaps.