Leadership has grown to become a very dynamic term in the business world. A leader has to wear multiple hats in order to keep the organization running efficiently. And to attain that, he/she must imbibe various sets of skills. One of those skill sets includes knowledge. Knowledge is what differentiates a leader from the rest and helps him/her to grow in the career and Stephanie Atkinson is a perfect example of the same.

Stephanie is the Founder and CEO of Compass Intelligence, where she leads the organizational direction of the company. The foundation of her company lies in her vision, which was to start her own market research and advisory firm after she started working for the 3rd company in her career. In order to do so, it took her years of strategizing, planning, and dreaming. She wanted the company to offer specialized B2B and custom services, and to develop long-term relationships through personalized and flexible services, as the market research industry at that time was very impersonal and not very flexible at all.

Stephanie’s graduation was focused on supply chain management, logistics, industrial distribution, business management, materials processing, and engineering technology. For Masters she chose a traditional MBA educational curriculum with a focus on Management of Technology. She pursued her MBA while she was working and went to night school, as she knew that having the next or advanced degree was very well-received in the market research industry from a pay grade and overall validation perspective.

Her educational background and affiliation with Texas A&M University got her an opportunity at Alcatel USA (now Nokia), which was a telecom manufacturer and she worked in the R&D division. This was a great start to her career as she worked with every level of engineer including mechanical engineers to ASIC design engineers to electronics engineers, but at the same time was able to be on the factory floor and work with purchasing and parts ordering for planning purposes.

This vast interface allowed her to see many of the working parts of a manufacturing facility. Being in the telecom industry led her to her next career move to work for a competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), and there she jumped right into the IT department helping with information systems design, planning, and even helping with a brand new billing system. This telecom or carrier background allowed her to become a telecom analyst working in San Antonio.
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