Skip to main content

Heather Burnett Gold

VP, External Affairs - Mears Broadband



Nominee Questionnaire

Please provide a short bio for voters to get to know you. Heather Burnett Gold is the Vice President, External Affairs for the Mears Broadband, a fiber construction contractor. In this role I am responsible for raising the visibility of Mears Broadband throughout the industry including to key public stakeholders.

I have been passionate about enabling fiber deployment to un/underserved entities for over twenty years. I first advocated policies to bring higher bandwidth accessibility to small and medium businesses and then transitioned to fiber to the home when I became CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association in 2011. I believe strongly that an individual’s zip code should not determine his/her access to advanced healthcare, education or the global economy.

Prior to joining the Mears Broadband, I served as the CEO of HBG Strategies, a consultancy engaged in fiber broadband education and marketing targeted to enable fiber deployment among underserved communities.

A thirty-year plus industry veteran, I served as the President/CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association from 2011 – 2018, where I led its public policy efforts and the rebranding of the Association. Prior to that I was the SVP of External Affairs and Access Management for XO Communications.

I hold BA (magna cum laude) and MA degrees in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Washington University in St. Louis. I also completed the General Management Program of the Harvard Business School. I was honored by the Washington Business Journal as one of its 2010 Women Who Mean Business and was recognized by Fierce Telecom as one of its Women in Wireline for 2013.

Please explain why you consider yourself an excellent candidate for the Board of Directors of the Fiber Broadband Association. As a former CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association, I am intimately familiar with what makes a good and effective Board. The primary role of the Board is to set the strategic direction for the Association and then support the staff as they operationalize that vision. I have also served in numerous organizations as a senior executive, so I am familiar with how an effective staff operates and their support requirements.
How many years has your company been a Fiber Broadband Association Member? Two years
How many years have you participated in Fiber Broadband Association activities? Ten years
Please indicate any Fiber Broadband Association Committees or working groups you have participated on including position and years served. Public Policy – 2 years plus 8 years as CEO – member
Conference Committee 2 years plus 8 years as CEO – Assist with program development and managing the flow at regional events.
Please list any Fiber Broadband Association Contributions (activities supported, assets developed, documents drafted, webinars presented, etc.) 1. Developed and implemented the Fiber Broadband Community Toolkit – now known as Fiber Broadband Toolkit
2. Led the major rebranding of the Association from the FTTH Council North America to the Fiber Broadband Association
3. Developed and implemented an annual Strategic Planning process for the Board of Directors.
How many years have you been in your current position? 18 months
Describe your current job and functional responsibilities. I am responsible for marketing, public relations and for interpreting the business opportunities resulting from regulatory and policy changes.
What was your previous position? CEO, HBG Strategies
How many years did you hold your previous position for? 4 years
Do you have experience as a member of a Board of Directors? Yes
If you answered yes, please provide the entity, the number of years served, and the officer position held. Aeroprobe – Board of Directors 2010 to 2013 (member, small woman owned high tech firm)

Commonwealth of Virginia Broadband Advisory Committee 2007-2008. Subcommittee co-chair, Community Outreach
Developed an online toolkit, known as “Fiber in a Box”

Lead Virginia – Civic organization engaged in developing social capital across the Commonwealth of Virginia — 2007-2018
2007-2012, Chair of Scholarship Committee and member – Compensation Committee
2013-2015, Executive Committee, Secretary
2016-2018, Chair of Alumni Engagement and Executive Committee

The bylaws prohibit convicted felons from serving on the board. Is there any legal impediment that would prevent you from serving on the Board? No
Is there any legal issue personally of which the Association should be aware? No
Being a Fiber Broadband Association Board Member requires a considerable time commitment. Please confirm that you have the support of your company if you are elected. Yes
Please provide a short overview of your experience with telecommunications, fiber optics, and FTTH technologies. I have been in telecommunications since 1994. My first jobs were in the nascent competitive long-distance industry, working in the areas of finance and public policy. During that period, I represented the first nationwide fiber long distance company, SPRINT. I worked for companies and then ran the trade association that represented CLECs (competitive local exchange carriers) as they both opened the local market to competition and heavily deployed fiber optics across the country. I then spent 8 years with the Fiber Broadband Association, advocating for measures that would make it easier to build and operate fiber to the home networks. I continued this effort during Covid and the realization of most of the country that fiber to the home is now an essential utility. In my current job, I have come to understand what it actually takes to get fiber out to communities in terms of building the physical infrastructure.
Please describe the goals you would like to accomplish during your term as Fiber Broadband Association Board Member. I have seen the tremendous leadership role that Fiber Broadband has assumed over the last four years and the fabulous growth that resulted from that leadership. I would like to be able to support this effort because I believe that FBA is the best situated organization to ensure that the promises of the massive amounts of federal funding being allocated to FTTH are deployed in the most beneficial manner to the communities that need these resources most. I would like the Association to continue to be perceived in this leading role and build further on its successes. Further, I think my experience as the former CEO permits me to understand how to best serve as an effective and supportive Board member.
Have you reviewed the Board of Directors’ Responsibilities document, and do you understand what is required? Yes
Please describe the level of commitment (in terms of time and effort) that you intend to make to the Association during the three-year term. I expect to be available for any and all Board meetings (in person and virtually) and to serve as a Board liaison to an FBA Committee (participating in the committee meetings and supporting them as needed). I also expect to participate in regular phone calls as required for Board actions. I would expect to be present at all Association regional events as well as the Fiber Connect and assist as needed either as a moderator, a speaker or a “traffic cop”. My vision is to enable the Association to again double in the next 3 years.
Please inform us of any other information, issue, or concern of which the Association should be aware. none