Venessa Harrison, a 33-year veteran of AT&T (NYSE: T) and its predecessor companies who began her career as an operator, is the new president of AT&T North Carolina.

Harrison, 56, succeeds Cynthia Marshall, who recently was promoted to a position at AT&T’s national headquarters. Harrison worked as part of Marshall’s management team and is a friend of Marshall, who now works in Dallas.

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Harrison, who will be based in Raleigh and maintain an office in Charlotte, is the second consecutive black female to hold the No. 1 position in the North Carolina operation.

She also brings direct knowledge of AT&T new technology development to the position.

“Venessa was one of the leaders of the team that deployed our U-verse video service in North Carolina and has worked closely with the wireless team for a number of years as we expand and enhance our wireless services throughout the state,” an AT&T spokesperson tells WRAL Tech Wire.

Harrison’s previous role was regional vice president of External Affairs of AT&T North Carolina. In her new role, Harrison will lead efforts on behalf of the telecommunications and related technologies firm with business leaders and government officials.

“We know that Venessa will do a great job in her new position,” said Gregg Morton, president of AT&T’s Southeast Region. “Her community involvement as well as her role in bringing innovative new technology to our customers will be an asset as we move ahead in North Carolina.”

In 1979, Harrison joined Southern Bell in Raleigh as an operator.

“I am honored and grateful for this opportunity,” Harrison said in a statement. “And I deeply believe in the TEAM concept that Together Everyone Achieves More. I look forward to working with all our stakeholders to help AT&T continue to make a difference in communities and in individuals’ lives across the state.”

Harrison is a native of North Carolina. She began her career in the operator services organization.

Harrison earned a degree in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. She is married and has two children.

Active in community affairs, Harrison serves on the Boards of North Carolina Future for Kids, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, and the Charlotte Regional Visitors Association Board. She also has served on the Education and Workforce Development Committee of the NC Chamber.

Marshall was named to her new job in December.