20/20 Vision for a Successful 2020

Warm greetings for a very happy new year!

By Samantha Schartman-Cycyk

I am Samantha Schartman and I am thrilled to introduce myself as the Marconi Society’s new Executive Director. I cannot think of a better time to lead the Marconi Society as we start a new year, a new decade and a new mission.

The Marconi Society enters the year with a vision to realize a world in which everyone can create opportunity through the benefits of connectivity. Our mission is to celebrate, inspire, and connect individuals building tomorrow’s technologies in service of a digitally inclusive world. Our board and key stakeholders spent much of last year creating this new mission and vision with extensive input from our community and I applaud their insight.

The Marconi Society’s mission of digital inclusion is one that I have dedicated my whole career to by pursuing a world in which all people have the access, skills, and support they need to participate in and derive value from network-connected communication technologies. As a leader on one of the largest digital inclusion programs in the country, I had a front row seat to the transformational change that comes from connecting tens of thousands of unconnected people. This experience and many others that I have had on the ground in communities throughout the country have led me to understand how truly imperative it is to realize our mission and vision.

For this reason, I believe that we come into 2020 with 20/20 vision, meaning that we see with clarity and sharpness at 20 feet what should “normally” be seen at 20 feet. This does not necessarily mean we have all the answers – we will certainly gather new insights along the way as we bring our new strategy to life in an environment of ever-changing technology and infrastructure landscapes.

Digital inclusion is not “one size fits all” and does not mean the same thing to everyone. Digital landscapes vary from city to city and country to county. Devices may have different capabilities and networks might be more or far less available, open, or reliable. Moving the needle on digital inclusion globally will take more than technological innovation – it will require superlative sensitivity, outreach and insight to understand the unique needs and opportunities presented by each scenario. After all, digital Inclusion, in the end, is a local issue and must be dealt with accordingly.

Fortunately, the passion around digital inclusion that I have seen, and helped to build, is mighty. Funding is beginning to come. The Marconi Society’s ability to mobilize a network of trailblazers and partners towards this goal promises to be exceptional.

I am honored and proud to help lead us to success in our vision of a truly connected world.