Written By: Taylor Simmons
Photographed By: Michael Wesley
Name: Hasty Honarkar
Credentials: Director of Marketing and Digital Media at 4G Wireless
Mission: “Not to sell, but to provide customers a custom solution to their needs in a non-pressure environment.”
4G Wireless is a common term in today’s world. It is something that younger generations take for granted and older generations are encouraged to learn about — so they don’t get left behind. It has created a world that is vastly smaller as well as a communication system that allows us to stay connected no matter where we find ourselves. While face-to-face communication will always be the most rewarding, 4G Wireless has created a nation where entrepreneurship and adventure are encouraged, allowing people to feel confident that they can be connected with their loved ones no matter what. This luxury is what fuels today’s change.
As I sat down with Hasty Honarkar in Newport Beach, her sweet smile and confidence created a woman who was fun to talk to. She is educated and passionate about what she does. As she described the company her father started after moving to the United States at the age of 20, I could sense her love for her family, as well as her work. She describes a company that centers around the customer experience. It is a company that truly cares for their clientele and supports them in their advancement into the modern world. As the interview moved forward, I could not help but feel inspired by this pleasant woman, her big dreams and accomplishments.
Q: What is your role in the company?
Hasty Honarkar: I was about 10 years old when my dad entered the wireless industry in 1998. It was then that I started shadowing him to learn everything I could learn when it came to business and entrepreneurship. As I got older, I left the comforts of our corporate office to work in the 4G stores to get more hands-on training with sales and operations. After a few years, I realized that I was very passionate about the marketing and creative aspect of the business. In addition, I was also gratified by the feeling that we provide to our satisfied customers, which led me to focus on the overall customer experience within our retail locations. Utilizing my many years of experience and dedication, I grew into my role as the director of marketing and decided to take on the challenge of merchandising as well. I strive to creatively update the aesthetics of our brand while shifting the perception of our company goals. Our mission is not to sell, but to provide customers a custom solution to their needs in a non-pressure environment.
Q: What is the story behind the name “4G Wireless”?
HH: Years before 4G or even 3G networks were released by carriers, my dad was constantly attending different conferences and shows. He started hearing about the direction that the wireless industry was taking. The fact that everything would change due to this upcoming 4G technology fascinated him. We wanted to create our name and build our identity before that change happened. Once it was launched, and all the carriers offered that 4G signal, we had identified ourselves as the name that so many people hear around the world today. We were lucky enough to be the forerunner as far as that goes.
Q: What motivates the success of the company?
HH: Our success is motivated by really seeing how we help both our customers and employees live better and stay more connected. We have almost 1, 200 employees. We love giving them new opportunities, training them, and having the ability to see them take a new direction in life. Watching them grow into their roles as well as strive to become even better is what motivates us the most. Also seeing customers repeatedly come back and refer friends and family because they feel like they are being serviced the right way pushes us to lead the way in the industry. A strong customer experience makes our will to grow that much stronger.
Q: How do you keep up with technological advancements?
HH: We are constantly researching new products and attending summits as well as tech conferences to see the latest advancements in the industry. We also keep a strong level of communication with manufacturers, such as Samsung, Apple, Motorola, and LG, to learn more about their pipeline. Once we get that information, we pass on the knowledge to our employees by updating them through intensive hands-on training. We stay connected with the latest advancements to provide our customers with the specifics that will benefit them the most in the long run. Working closely with our Verizon family has allowed us to stay as up to date as possible in regards to the latest offers and promotions that we can extend to our 4G family.
Q: What makes you different from other brands?
HH: How we prioritize our customers separates us from other brands. Not only do we inform customers about the features and benefits of the devices, but we also make the effort to identify the customer’s wants and needs. Any other company can try to sell you on a product or service, but only a few truly consider your lifestyle to qualify the sale appropriately. Our goal is to deliver the dependable service that Verizon provides in a comfortable environment that genuinely focuses on the customers’ experience. An example of this change is shown through our store remodels. Since we have noticed that there have been more parents that come into our stores with their kids, we started adding a kid’s section so parents can focus on making the right purchase. We have also added more seating so customers will be more comfortable while discussing their phones or waiting. It is truly about listening and adapting to the changes that would most benefit our customers.
Q: Where do you see 4G Wireless going in the future?
HH: I see us not only growing across the nation, but also setting an example for the entire industry. That is what we have been doing, and that is what we will continue to do.
Q: Can you give me a hint as to what is to come?
HH: Eventually our locations will be what everyone is now calling “smart stores.” They will exhibit technological advances as well as leave a feeling of wonder that is unexpected of a “typical cell phone store.” Being customer-centric will remain to be our main focus as well as finding new innovative ways to make the customer experience that much more enjoyable. We have recently been dabbling with the idea of catering to the various demographics, and we will continue to move in this direction. We currently have locations that cater to both the Latino and Chinese markets. Our plan is to ensure many of our stores connect to various groups of people, so our customers feel at home in their local 4G store. We want all of our stores to be at the heart of the communities, and we strive to have our employees connect with the people.
Q: How did you get to where you are today?
HH: Endless determination, motivation and sleepless nights. Given this was the industry that I grew up in and that my dad worked hard for, I am very driven and strived for the best. I have gone to every training and conference imaginable and studied every one of our departments to understand the necessary touch points needed for the company’s overall sustainability and growth. Everything and everyone is connected, and a critical part of the larger picture. I have studied the “formula” on how to understand and connect with the customer and transferred that to how our employees bridge the gap to create long lasting relationships. I would not be here today without my dad as my inspiration. He worked multiple jobs to provide for our family when I was a child, and he never gave up on his vision of success. Having witnessed that makes me feel very lucky and blessed. It also makes me strive to work hard to reach my highest potential like my dad. I was also surrounded by strong women like my mother and grandmothers. They taught me that a woman can accomplish anything a man can and that I should never give up on my dreams.
Q: How has the company as a whole gotten to where it is today?
HH: My dad had many experiences in the industry and learned to handle any obstacle that came his way. He came to this country alone when he was only 20, and worked multiple jobs while in school to support his family. He was very resourceful in the sense that he communicated with successful people to learn what it takes to be successful. When he got in the industry in the late ’90s, he saw the potential. With our family’s moral support and backing, he continued to strive to achieve his dreams within the industry. Despite all the success, he is not afraid to say, “Hey I want to learn a little bit more about that to make a better decision.” He was never afraid of asking questions if necessary. Also, our company doesn’t differentiate between the executives in our corporate offices and the people on the floor. Everyone plays a critical role in the overall growth of 4G Wireless, and we never stop showing them our continuous appreciation.
Q: Who inspires you personally?
HH: A lot of people. Other than my father and mother, strong, innovative individuals, such as Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, who aren’t afraid to veer out of the norm and look at the endless possibilities of our future. Everything starts out as an idea. It only becomes a reality when someone doesn’t give up and keeps on trying until the result is what they imagined.
Q: What other brands inspire this one?
HH: Apple. I think they have made a major impact on almost every industry as well as our society. One day we hope to be a brand and company that others look to for inspiration. We try to motivate others by giving back to the communities that we call home.
Q: How do you give back to local communities?
HH: As I have said before, we love being involved with the communities. We show a lot of support to local schools by sponsoring school organizations, sports teams and clubs. For events, we invite local youth organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Club, to be present and donate a portion of our sales to benefit the respective organization.
Q: How is it working in Orange County?
HH: It’s good. Orange County is a different market than everywhere else. People here feel a lot more comfortable investing in the wireless ecosystem as a whole. In many other communities, we have to convince them how valuable these wireless devices are in helping them stay connected. The Orange County market already understands its value. We started here. Our first store was in Laguna Beach. I was born and raised in Orange County. My family began its roots in Orange County. It’s the place that started it all, and is the county that supported our growth the most.
Q: How has wireless changed the world?
HH: It has brought us together. No matter where you are, day or night, you can reach out to connect with a loved one. Now people are using their phones to find a life partner. You can use your phone to adopt a new family pet or even purchase your next car. You can locate the nearest hospital in case of an emergency. Turn on your thermostat at the house while you are at the office or even lock your front door. Track your child or elderly parent. It is a convenience thing. You hold the world in your hand.
Q: How has it affected education?
HH: Unfortunately, now everybody has started Googling everything, so maybe our spelling and grammar skills have gotten worse. In the end, we have all the information we need in the palm of our hand. Schools now have e-books and online classes; you can now access whole course loads within seconds.
Q: Is working in a male dominated industry tough?
HH: I am the first female marketing director in our company. A lot of things have changed over the last couple of years, but it is never easy. At first, trying to get the men in the industry to understand me and my vision was quite difficult. They seem to make the assumption that I run on emotions. However, I think that these same emotions have helped me read in between the lines and focus more on the details as well as what the customers want. Being a woman in this industry, as well as any worldwide, is about proving there isn’t a difference between men and women in regards to their abilities and knowledge. Women really do have a lot to say in the world of business.
Q: If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?
HH: I would have learned to balance my life a little bit better. I am very devoted to my job. Sometimes it is difficult for others to understand that dedication. Throughout my teenage and young adult years, my career was my priority.
Q: What would you say your personal strengths are?
HH: Persistence, adaptability and my attention to detail. I am determined to push through all that is necessary, and I will not take no for an answer. I don’t stop until I get what I want if I truly believe it is the only way to succeed and move forward. However, I am flexible enough to grow from criticism and adjust to changes.
Q: What are the strengths of the company?
HH: We can adapt rather quickly to changes within the industry while still catering to our customers’ needs. We have also gotten so good at expansion that it is quite impressive. Our team was able to acquire 25 stores in four states from another agent literally overnight. We had our best staff train and welcome the new team to our 4G family, all while making sure the new locations reflected our identity standards and goals. There is nothing our team cannot accomplish.
Q: How has 4G Wireless changed communication?
HH: It has changed a lot. I can’t imagine a world without cellphones. I look at my cousins’ children, and how they will be so intelligent because they will grow up with access to so much information. Sometimes it makes people not talk, and that can be a negative thing. I think it’s important to use our phones when we need them, but it is also important to put them down for face-to-face conversations.
Q: Is there a way that you promote this kind of face-to-face communication?
HH: We promote this idea of face-to-face communications every day. When we have our staff meetings, we put our cell phones down and just talk. As convenient as texting is, we continue to have conference calls and webinars. We walk over to each other’s offices and sit down with one another. At the end of the day, the goal is to feel connected to people. Cell phones and wireless technology help people stay connected when they are apart and distracted with everyday life, but it is important to take that extra personal step when you can to make that real life connection.
Native Knowledge: 4G Wireless likes connecting with communities and they enjoy working to benefit local youth clubs and charities.
Verizon 4G Wireless Laguna Beach
495 Broadway St
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
949.464.9944 | www.4gwireless.com