Qwest creates new top job to highlight community efforts

DENVER: Qwest is dedicating itself to community service in an effort to restore the public's trust in the beleaguered firm.

DENVER: Qwest is dedicating itself to community service in an effort to restore the public's trust in the beleaguered firm.

Qwest has selected Joni Baird to fill the new position of VP of corporate responsibility, where she will oversee various community relations efforts, including the rejuvenated Qwest Foundation, its philanthropic organization. Baird was VP of community relations at US Bank in Denver.

"The Qwest Foundation has been in place for quite some time, but funding had not been added since 1999," said Joan Walker, SVP of corporate communications.

"When (CEO) Dick (Notebaert) came on board, we took a hard look at the Foundation. And even though this is not a time when the industry and our company are flush with cash, we've increased funding. It's the right thing to do."

As for skeptics who might interpret this move as nothing more than a way to cover up Qwest's financial and legal problems, Baird responded that the public will judge Qwest by its actions, not its words.

"You will see us out there in the community," said Baird. "We'll be involved with Habitat for Humanity, and other efforts. Hopefully people will recognize that we are being sincere."

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