Executive Committee

John Staggs


Jay Foster

 Vice Chair

Jay is an Area Manager in Network Operations in Knoxville, TN.  He joined Pioneering early in his career supporting various Council and Chapter roles for Tennessee and Morris F Tyler (CT), later joining the national Pioneering team serving as the Awards lead among other Communications and Secretary roles. Jay enjoys working a variety of projects, in particular those that involve construction.

Rita Coen


Rita started working at Southwestern Bell in 1980 in Wichita, Ks, initially as a Clerk and currently is a Communications Technician.  In 1995, she joined the Pioneers and has served in many roles including Council and Chapter President, Treasurer,  and Vice President.  She volunteers because she wants to make a difference.

Christy Mayfield


Christy started with BellSouth in 1999 and joined the Pioneers a couple of years later. She has supported the Pioneers as a Council President, Chapter Treasurer, Awards Committee Chairperson, Telecom Pioneer Board Member and Executive Board Secretary. For over 20 years, she has chaired the annual Angel Tree project for the Greater Nashville Council. This is her favorite volunteer project. She currently works in HR and lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area.

Shirley Sanz

AT&T Community Engagement Liaison

As a Senior Project Manager in Volunteerism, Shirley’s primary responsibility is serving as the AT&T Pioneers National Coordinator and Employee Resource Group (ERG) liaison for the Community Engagement organization.  Shirley has been actively involved in Pioneers and ERGs for over twenty years which complements her current position with the Community Engagement organization.  Shirley has held various Board positions in the Pioneer leadership and currently serves on the TelecomPioneers Board of Directors and chairs the Operations Committee.  She resides in beautiful San Diego, California.

John Merlino

Past Chair

John Merlino is Regional Director for AT&T in Florida. He began his career with Southern Bell in 1988. His current responsibilities include working with community organizations throughout the state, administering corporate contribution budgets and working with the AT&T Foundation. He has been extensively involved with the AT&T Pioneers for more than 25 years. He also serves on the board of the Florida Education Foundation.


Athena Hernandez

Ray DuBuque

Cornell Smith

Sandra Franklin


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