An exciting wild ride and rewarding career

I recently celebrated 40 years at Telstra, and as I reflect on a fulfilling career – one that I hope has many more exciting twists and turns to come. I thought I’d share some of my best experiences from my time here, and a few words of advice.
Mike Wood · 10 November 2023 · 4 minute read

Mike representing Australia in Geneva at the IEC and UN Agencies

Following my passions

I began my career with the Department of Defence, focusing on microwave communications and radar. As a young experimenter, I landed the job after building a base station out on my parents’ property.

After some time there, I became aware of an opportunity with Telstra Research Laboratories, in my hometown, to conduct in-depth research. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity, but not many people can say that something managed to capture their hearts for the next 40 years!

Since my early days at Telstra, I have been involved in mobile network deployments from 1G to 5G, safety and training programs for national and international agencies, the development of new global RF safety standards and so much more.

My career and roles with Telstra have spanned the entire technical spectrum, and in the early 2000’s, Telstra offered me an opportunity to go to Harvard University – my passion for international work was born!

In 2015, I was faced with a choice when my director at the time said, “Well, you're ready for a director's role now. You are handling so many things on the global stage.”

After some lengthy consideration, I realised that I could add more value by being a technical specialist – leading on the global stage, assisting numerous groups and contributing to Telstra’s future strategy. With that in mind, my current title is Distinguished Professional. In my heart, I am a keen experimenter and a committed collaborator.

These days, I spend a lot of time mentoring graduates and young professionals. I believe I learn as much from them as they learn from me. They are inspiring and always pursuing novel ideas – they truly represent the future.

I’ve also been actively engaged in international standards work, serving as the Chair of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) committee based in Geneva which sets the global testing standards for wireless devices and networks. More recently, I am very honoured to have been appointed Chair of the GSMA (GSM Association) global EMF Safety Group, as well as leading Australian industry groups.

In addition, I have had the privilege of hosting several workshops across the globe, contributing to the development of UN apps, launching Telstra products in London, and organising International Young Professionals workshops in San Francisco. The travel bug has bitten me!

Finding your niche

I believe that seizing opportunities in your career is incredibly important.

When it’s time to shape your own career path, think about YOU. What's your brand? What do you like doing? Where do you want to channel your energy? Your passion should guide you.

For me, it’s about being a researcher, a global thought leader and collaborating with diverse individuals. And it's not solely about me – it's about the team. It's about what we can accomplish together and how we can enable and empower others.

Keep in mind, it’s perfectly acceptable to be a technical leader rather than a program coordinator. If delving deep into your expertise resonates with you, then embrace it. It’s an approach that’s supported me to emerge as a global leader in telecommunications and 5G.


On 40 years at Telstra

People have often asked me, “Why haven't you moved jobs?”

The short answer is that I have changed roles within my own company. I have also found excitement in everything that I do. Telstra is committed to growing and changing to adapt to new customer needs and new technologies. That means there’s always room for you to try something new and to challenge yourself if you’re ready.

We’re also right at the forefront of innovation and leadership in Australia. For me, that means access to a range of amazing opportunities on both a national and international scale. It’s a no-brainer to continue to explore, evolve, lead and learn with the best of the best.

With Telstra, the opportunities are endless. I am living proof that you can expand your career as extensively and diversely as you desire, right here. You’ll never run out of avenues to pursue at Telstra if you choose this journey. Take a look at our careers page and make that leap today.

By Mike Wood

Principal, EME Strategy, Governance and Risk Management

Mike Wood is a Distinguished Professional with Telstra and the Principal for Telstra’s Electromagnetic Energy (EME) Strategy, Governance and Risk Management program. Mike has 30 years’ experience in the strategy and management of mobile network deployment, EME and community consultation for the wireless industry. Mike trained with the Australian Defence Department in radio & microwave communications prior to graduating from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Mike has worked in standards development for over 25 years and is currently Chairman of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) TC106 which has global responsibility for EME testing standards for mobile phones, devices, wireless networks and radio communication systems. The current focus for the IEC and Mikes international team is development of standards for the assessment of the new 5G mobile technologies. Mike is also active in the ITU standards and in Australia chairs the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association RF Safety Program.

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