Overcoming Adversity

Photo courtesy of shu.edu

It can be hard for a woman to do well in a field like telecommunications, which is dominated by men. It can be even harder if that woman is Latina. But with courage, determination and a sense of how to forge alliances, those obstacles can be overcome.

“You have to find that common ground, what’s important and hone in on that,” said Beatriz Manetta, founder and president of Argent Associates, one of the largest technology companies in New Jersey, managing over $1.2 billion in assets, and one of the fastest growing women led companies in the country.

Manetta, who was born in Argentina and raised in Elizabeth, N.J. received a master’s degree in International Studies from Seton Hall in 1998, and will be on campus next week to deliver an address on entrepreneurship, the importance of a good education and the rising role of Latinos in business. Manetta is the keynote speaker for the Stillman School of Business’ Fall Integrity and Professionalism Convocation. The event is set for Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. in Jubilee Hall and is sponsored by the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute and the Stillman School of Business.

“Betty Manetta is driven, dynamic, hard-working, an extremely successful career woman at the top of her game,” Denisse Oller, Executive Director of the Latino Institute, said via email. “She is also close to her family and workers, always involved in her community, and generous in sharing her life lessons with the student body at Seton Hall. Ms. Manetta's life and career should serve as inspiration to us all.”

Before starting her company in 1998, Manetta spent 20 years in the telecommunications field, working for such tech giants as AT&T and Lucent. According to her company’s website, Argent Associates is a supply chain and information technology service provider that is focused on government, enterprise and telecommunications markets. The parent company now has three divisions: Argent Logistics, which focuses on supporting the retail, consumables, government and communications industries; ProArgent which provides engineering and installation for wireless customers; and G-Argent, which provides green technology and services like refurbishing, repairing, refreshing and reselling of secondary market products.

Argent’s diversified portfolio has been a hallmark of its success. Manetta said that when the recession hit in 2008, Argent lost some revenue, but managed to survive because of two of their divisions. G-Argent and the professional services side picked up the slack.

“We weathered through the storm,” Manetta said. “Certainly revenues weren’t as high as they were in past years, but I think everybody was kind of in the same boat. I think what helped us was the diversification of our customer base.”

As telecommunications continues to evolve, so do telecom companies. Bill Donadio, vice president of Supply Chain at Argent Associates, and Manetta’s brother, said there seems to be no limits to telecommunications. Over the past 30 years, mobile phones transformed from just voice to multiple options on the same device, Donadio said in a phone interview.

Part of Argent’s success comes from the company’s ability to anticipate the next step in telecommunications. When the company was founded, the vision was limited because the founders saw themselves as resellers of technology, according to Manetta. Technology and customers evolve and

it becomes important to know where a company is headed.

Addressing the anticipated changes led to the creation of the separate divisions at Argent Associates. Manetta said it was important to evolve, so she divided the company into what she called areas of competency. This was an effort to accommodate the differences in workers based on their strengths such as engineering, information technology, business management and centers of excellence.

As a graduate of Seton Hall, Manetta recommends that future graduates “create a vision, build a team, execute and be able to pivot and change with the environment as their industry demands or requires.”

Miguel Diaz can be reached at miguel.diaz@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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