I was recently fortunate enough to spend two days at the Women of the Channel event hosted by The Channel Company. I thank The Channel Company for experimenting with new markets and expanding the Women of the Channel event footprint. It’s encouraging to see the growing Channel community in the Denver area, meet many women who are influencing technology vendors and start-ups and to build connections that help to drive inclusion, diversity, and success.
As I reflect over the event some highlights and topics I find myself pondering about include…
During a session with Keynote speaker JJ DiGeronimo, author of “Accelerate Your Impact” and a VMware alumna, we were encouraged to seek out and ask for mentorship. Personally, I see mentorship as one of the most critical components for success, and to be differentiated from sponsorship, which is likely to come from someone higher up in your own company chain of command versus mentorship, which can be reached for in a wider environment.
Whether seeking a mentor or a sponsor, the event session encouraged us to get creative with our approaches and seek leaders from outside our immediate spheres of influence for greater perspective. It explored establishing boundaries while highlighting our individual contributions to get positively noticed. Consequently, I have walked away from this session with a new perspective on what type of mentor I should look for and indeed could be to other women in the channel for best success and growth.
Another intriguing topic was ‘The Boys’ Club’! A breakout that looked at the idea of overcoming this long-standing club. I attended this session because I wondered if this was still an issue woman face - and in the channel space? Alas, many of the young women in the breakout had stories indicating that the ‘Boys’ Club’ is still alive and well!
However, as women in this world, we can support each other in moving on and—going back to the mentorship topic—being creative with this outreach to help combat! As much as I experienced the ‘Boys’ Club’ at stages in my career, I also had mentorship from many managers—some even belonging to that ‘Boys’ Club’—proving that fostering can indeed be found across spheres and perspectives. You just need to look further or differently at things.
And this leads me nicely onto my last reflective topic from this well attended 100 + Women of the Channel event: the idea of supporting one another (men, women, partners, colleagues, you name it) and finding a community that can support you, is critical to your success and growth. We spoke at length about tactics for encouraging women’s participation and underwriting ideas presented by female colleagues, especially if they are being overlooked or brushed off. Find a teammate and make a pact to champion one another at work and beyond!
Women from across the IT channel—no matter what stage of our career—we must lead to our fullest potential whether as individual contributors or managers of diverse teams. Everyone has a voice to be heard.
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