Re-Imagining Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

COVID-19 has presented significant obstacles for many aspects of life, and for young people it has also created a lot of uncertainty when it comes to employment options and opportunities.  For this reason, the SubOptic Association is working hard to establish a pipeline to reinvigorate the subsea/telecom industry and enable strategic internship and mentorship programs allowing for the new wave of leaders pushing the industry forward. NJFX applauds this group and its efforts to strengthen the industry as a whole.

As part of that focus, NJFX General Manager, Felix Seda and Business Development Manager, Sarah Kurtz – both millennials – are assisting in SubOptic’s efforts to encourage young talent to join the telecommunications workforce, specifically in the subsea space. After spearheading the Millennials in Telecom reception at PTC 2020, Seda sought to expand the initiative and focus it on the subsea space, leading him to work on initiatives within the Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging (“DIB”) working group of the SubOptic Association. As a part of the DIB Working group, Mr. Seda and Ms. Kurtz are working alongside the rest of the members to create opportunities for the younger generation to explore the various avenues afforded within the industry.

“We are working with the many talented people in the SubOptic Association to rebuild these programs in a way that will help broaden our outreach and expand the pool of young leaders exploring our rewarding and unique industry,” says Seda. “Internships are a great way for people still in college to find their career path post-grad, and we do not want the state of the world to get in the way of that.” The SubOptic Association is also working on building and launching their mentorship program, which connects young professionals with more experienced mentors to guide them in the beginning stages of their careers.

“We value the work being done by the entire SubOptic membership and working groups to raise awareness on the importance of bringing more people to the industry and attracting new organizations,” commented Erick Contag, Executive Chairman of GlobeNet and President of the Executive Committee of SubOptic.  “We are fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated team of people working on these important and worthy initiatives.”

“Felix and Sarah are very dedicated to this cause and their insights have been extremely valuable to not only NJFX’s success, but in guiding millennials to the industry,” commented Gil Santaliz, CEO of NJFX. “They are clearly dedicated to building out the subsea workforce, and we look forward to their efforts, along with others in the industry to garner even more participation and success going forward.”

Seda has also been working with SubOptic’s DIB working group to expand its network of partner companies for the internship and mentorship programs. The DIB team recently held a well-attended session at the Subsea World online conference to encourage more companies to get involved. “When I was in college, I was a part of the Posse Foundation program, which is a well-known organization in the education landscape. They have a large network of “Posse Partners”,  companies who encourage their employees to volunteer to mentor students and provide internship opportunities to the Posse scholars. My goal is to create an extensive network like that for SubOptic, and maybe even blend these initiatives in the future,” Seda remarks.

This is not the only time Seda and Kurtz have shown their dedication to bringing young talent to the industry. They both worked closely with PTC earlier this year to organize a reception aimed at bringing millennials together to network with each other and with established industry veterans. The dynamic twosome also conducted a virtual career presentation at Matawan Regional High School in New Jersey to inform college-bound students about the opportunities in telecom infrastructure. Their work with SubOptic is the next step in collective efforts to revitalize the industry with fresh perspectives, from the Digital Native generation.

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