Yolanda Hardin '69
1997 Award of Honor
Have you seen television commercials advertising innovative and advanced technology by Lucent Technologies, and wondered where the company originated? It is a result of AT&T's decision to split into three separate companies in October 1996. How did AT&T begin? It was due to a divesture of the Bell System through which Western Electric became AT&T in January 1984 -- quite an evolution of companies. What does this have to do with Yolanda Hardin, and what do these companies share in common with her besides being successful . . . distinguished . . . exemplary in pursuing and attaining excellence in their fields? Yolanda Hardin has been employed by each of the three companies as the progression has occurred.
Her first job was as a software developer at Western Electric after graduating from ETSU in 1969 with a bachelor of science in mathematics. Yolanda worked to develop software in support of the world's first computerized publishing system for three years before becoming a first line supervisor in more than one division. First, Hardin managed the results for government systems projects by supervising a group responsible for reporting financial results for the Western Electric's Safeguard Project. Then from 1973 until 1976, she was the Human Resources supervisor in support of a manufacturing location of 5,000 employees. Yolanda also served as the first line supervisor of manufacturing, telecommunications products, where she supervised a group of 35 employees who were responsible for the manufacture of transmission bays which are an integral part of telephone company infrastructure.
In 1977 after eight years of service, Yolanda became the department head of information development, software products, until 1980. There she managed a department of 25 employees who developed the technical documentation which enabled customers to make the most effective use of their Western Electric telecommunications products. Then, for six months, she participated in a full-time Management Training Program located in Princeton, N. J., which is the corporate equivalent to an M.B.A. Finishing in June of 1980, she became the manager of manufacturing of telecommunications components at Western Electric. Before she completed her tenure in this position, where she managed several departments responsible for manufacturing electronic components, Western Electric became AT&T. Not only did Mrs. Hardin witness a company achieve great success but she, herself, reached another milestone in life. She earned her master of science in industrial engineering in 1981 from Purdue University.
Mrs. Hardin was serving in yet another leadership position at AT&T as manager of information development for quality and support systems when, in October of 1996, AT&T split into three companies: AT&T Communications, NCR, and Lucent Technologies for whom she currently works. Presently, Yolanda is the director of ILT -- internationalization, localization and translations. This division of Lucent Technologies is responsible for making Lucent's products ready for sale outside the United States by translating supporting documentation and training to the languages of the target markets outside the U.S. Internationalization and localization functions are associated with modifying and translating software products so that the user friendly interfaces will work in the target market languages. About one half of the business of ILT Solutions is in providing these services to the commercial market (companies other than Lucent Technologies).
Besides her involvement in seemingly every aspect of management for either Lucent, AT&T, or Western Electric, Mrs. Hardin has also been involved in her community and has been an active alumna at ETSU. She has served in a leadership role for several years in the United Way Campaign for Forsyth County, N.C., and has been a former member of the board of directors for the Girl Scouts. She is also a member of Leadership Winston-Salem which includes a diverse group of people who are business and community leaders.
Yolanda has served on the ETSU Alumni Association board of directors. She was secretary of the Board during 1995-96 and is currently a member of the ETSU Foundation. Her husband, Bob, is a 1968 ETSU graduate, and has also served on the Alumni Association board of directors. The Hardins are members of the Distinguished President's Trust and are primary benefactors of the Robert Hardin Scholarship. Yolanda and Bob currently reside in Elizabethton, Tenn.