Third Act with Liz Tinkham

The Outsider with Judy Spitz

In the sixth episode of Third Act, we talk with Judy Spitz, the outsider. Judy started her career as an academic, but quickly leveraged her speech technology knowledge as the academic outsider at Verizon, where she rose to become the CIO.


Liz Tinkham

Liz Tinkham is a dynamic leader and respected advisor to C-level executives on issues of technology, digital transformation, and leadership. Most recently, Liz served as Senior Managing Director at Accenture and a member of the firm’s Global Leadership Council (the top 0.02% of leaders). Today, she serves on the Board of Directors of, and Athena Alliance, Inc. The Third Act is Liz’s first podcast where she examines how both women and men have discovered passion and new meaning in the “Third Act” of their lives, after their big career has come to a close.

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The Outsider with Judy Spitz

Third Act with Liz Tinkham

Judy Spitz: The Outsider

Today’s episode of The Third Act podcast features Judy Spitz, the Outsider. During her tenure as the CIO at Verizon, Judy realized that the problem of lack of women in technology was not fixing itself, so she took it on herself.

Judy founded a program called Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is a unique collaboration among corporations, Cornell Tech, and The City University of New York City. The program works with women students to prepare and enable them to pursue tech careers in New York City. Its success is greatly acknowledged, most recently through a grant from Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures. Judy has taken the program national and is now the executive director of Break Through Tech.

As Judy says, “them is us,” putting the onus on the executives and leaders of today to solve the world’s problems themselves, not waiting for others to initiate change. Learn how Judy uses this mentality to guide her work in the latest podcast of The Third Act.

(01:51) Act 1: Speech and hearing foundations
(03:15) The power of a genuine comment revealed a mathematician at heart
(05:29) Working at the PC department before it was mainstream
(07:19) Act 2: Advanced applied research in telecommunications for Verizon
(08:27) Pivoting comes from knowing your strengths; Judy’s were storytelling and getting things done
(11:40) The workhorse at home and on the job
(12:45) The need to overcome the Cinderella Syndrome
(15:43) The “aha” moment as CIO of Verizon
(17:59) Them is us: evaluating ourselves as leaders
(18:34) Today’s basic literacy is understanding software
(23:26) Act 3: The Idea
(25:30) Pivotal Ventures supports the pivot to WITNY
(28:42) Conquering the fear of an idea failing
(32:32) Leveling the playing field with the win-ternship by exposing the unexposed
(37:07) Serendipity alone does not solve the problem, but it helps capitalize on opportunities
(39:02) The vantage point of an academic and experienced corporate executive

Contact Judy by email at [email protected], or on Twitter account @drjspitz. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn. Learn more about Breakthrough Tech on their website:

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