By OSCAR DELEON Contributing Reporter After 17 years, Herlinda Rodriguez, supervisor for the Customer Response Center, still speaks highly about her everyday job. She says Verizon is a workplace that celebrates employee differences. Women may be breaking through that glass ceiling, thanks to companies like Verizon. Women make up more than 40 percent of Verizon’s Valley team and hold 36 percent of the management positions. They’re certainly holding the purse strings. “For example, Verizon’s chief financial officer, the head of internal audit, and treasurer are all women,” said Jon Davies, spokesperson for Verizon. Today, as companies challenge themselves to remain competitive in the industry, one of the major keys to success includes the development of diversity programs, corporate officials believe. “At Verizon, diversity means embracing differences including age, ethnicity, education, sexual orientation, work style, race, gender and more,” said Davies. Davies said that Verizon’s commitment to diversity begins at the top of the company. Verizon measures progress like any other business objective. “Executives are accountable for promoting diversity within their organizations. They are rewarded for successes through a performance incentive linked to their short-term compensation,” he said. According to Davies, today, affirmative action is no longer enough. “No it certainly is not. It’s important to develop and foster a culture of inclusion. Diversity is about everyone, so we’re creating an inclusive environment where the talents of every employee are maximized and everyone feels respected and valued. This will ensure a work force that mirrors our customers, speaks their languages and understands their needs. We’ll attract and retain talented men and women from all backgrounds and of every race, national origin, sexual orientation and generation,” he said. Rodriguez, who is of Mexican descent, started working at Verizon as a 411 operator. She said that diversity in the workplace is very important, because everyone provides a different perspective about ideas, work values, and ethics. “If I look at my office I see every kind. In my group we have Colombians, Cubans, Salvadorians, and Asians. You will see a great mix in every office at Verizon”. “When diversity is a part of a company’s culture, as it is at Verizon, everyone benefits, customers, suppliers and employees, ” said Davies. Rodriguez, who plans to stay at Verizon for at least 12 more years, said she would recommend other people to work at Verizon, because there, she feels valued.