The broadcast-news business in four states helped Angela Geryak Wiczek earn her chops in communications before it lost her in 1999 to the staff of GTECH Corp. She worked as a television reporter, anchor and producer in Kentucky, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania.
But then she joined GTECH to help it communicate effectively both in-house and externally. Four promotions later, she is now senior director of corporate communications for the global gaming giant (the Rome-based parent is renaming itself GTECH SpA from Lottomatica SpA).
But her media work is not why Wiczek has been named a Woman To Watch in the creative services field for the 2013 Business Women Awards program of Providence Business News.
At GTECH, “Angela is seen as the go-to person for all things communication,” says LGC&D Marketing Manager Tracy Tavares, who nominated her for the award.
Wiczek’s nominator said, “Angela has managed to negotiate the turbulent water of change and prove to senior management that … communications are critically important to a company’s brand reputation and bottom line.”
To speak with Wiczek off the cuff, however, is to hear the observations of a woman with journalism in her DNA. She is fond of constructive debate with her colleagues and is quick to point out the gender inequities in America.
“We have a serious problem in America when the gender wage gap actually widened last year, according the U.S. Labor Department,” she said. “Women made only 82 percent as much as men workers in 2011, and the gender pay gap now has returned to 2005 levels. Women in Rhode Island now earn slightly more than men did in 2002.”
Back in 1999, GTECH saw a woman who can engage topics – positive or negative – with accuracy and perspective. It is a unique skill seen in only the best communicators. A basic premise of the work is to stay on message. Wiczek’s approach isn’t that simple. She’ll stay on the message, but she won’t convey it with a wink and a few buzzwords. She talks straight and her aim is true, even when it comes to the same corporate America that employs her.
“I have an amazing group of women that I work with – at GTECH and in the community – and we’ve formed our own … circle to support and bolster one another. I couldn’t survive without these special women in my life. But we cannot ignore or minimize the barriers that hold back women and we cannot let corporate America off the hook so easily.”
Nor does she let American women in business off the hook. Among the advice she has for young women coming up in the business world is to be humble and listen carefully, but not at the expense of what they deserve.
“I just finished reading Daniel Pink’s book “To Sell is Human,” Wiczek said. “We should all think of ourselves as a salesperson – we’re always trying to sell something, whether it’s a business plan or a reason why we should be promoted. The point is [to] know what you want and to not be afraid to ask for it.” •