International Women’s Day in the Channel

I have had the privilege of working with many exceptional people over the course of my career. For International Women’s Day this year, I wanted to feature some of the dedicated and talented women I have the opportunity to work with in the Channel. The following individuals have great advice and stories that we all can learn from.


Deb Gannaway
Principal, DG Technology Consulting

What made you get into the technology industry?

During my first job out of college our company started to leverage technology to change the way we interacted with our clients and to improve our company’s perception in the industry. I was asked at that time by our executive team to take on this new project. I don’t think anyone else wanted it because it seemed too different from the current approach and change is hard. However, after a few months working with the IT consulting firm assigned to our company and some of our test clients, it became crystal clear that I was one of the most fortunate employees because the project took off opening many doors.   I was at the right place as they say!

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?

The best way to mentor and help women and men grow is to lead by example.  Mentoring a high school young woman or a woman at work involves listening as well as teaching.  I encourage students and working adults to try new things, attend seminars, read books, take classes, set meetings with people you admire to learn from them and ask questions. All of these activities help an individual see possibilities and focus on their strengths personally and professionally.  I suggest making annual goals and review them quarterly. There are times those goals are met, exceeded or even changed. Last year we started an intern program to teach college students how to conduct meetings, communicate with partners and clients and work as a team.  I tell them how and why I started my business and let them know they can do if that is a dream.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • Stay current, go to seminars, create personal and business community
  • The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – I take this book with me and have been reading and rereading it for years. It keeps me grounded and focused.
  • First Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham – I like this for book for managers because it tells you what is obvious and keeps it simple. I think it is good for experienced managers and new managers.

 

Linda Ford
VP Marketing, DynTek Services, Inc.

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?

I’m passionate about recruiting young women to join the technology industry. This topic is near and dear to my heart and something I champion as an IAMCP WIT Chicago board member, Oak Grove School Education Foundation board member and woman of the channel.  Whenever I talk to young women about their career aspirations, I stress that a career in technology spans beyond just programming or engineering.  Tech careers are inclusive of sales, operations, marketing, human resources and much more.  You can pursue a broad range of interests in the tech field.  I also think young women, and men, today have an intrinsic understanding of technology as digital natives.  It is such an exciting time to be in technology because the work we do is so generally accessible to the public as a whole – there is a much greater understanding of how technology applies to our daily lives.

As a successful professional, what are two-to-three tips to maintaining a good work-life balance?

Check guilt at the door!  As a working mother, I feel like I am modeling a passion for work for my kids.  If we view our careers and life choices as assets to our character, whether it is working outside the home or in it, I believe that sends a positive message to our kids.  Also, work/life balance is never a 50/50 proposition.  It will constantly be shifting in one direction or the other.  I try to be ‘present’ for the task at hand.  If that is watching a soccer game, then it is time to put the cell phone away.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • Grit, by Angela Duckworth – I just read this with my 5th grader for a project.  It was a great reminder that hard work and passion are key.
  • I am a big believer in volunteering and networking with your communities – women in technology, local organizations and other passion projects.
  • Learn from the many women in the channel who work to create and promote the channel ecosystem with fierce intelligence, competitiveness and grace, while keeping family a key priority. Ask this network of women for advice, brainstorming, challenges and the like.  Having our mentors within arm’s reach is deeply fulfilling.

 

Susan O’Sullivan
VP Sales, US, Ingram Micro

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?

Mentoring is a gift that keeps on giving to everyone involved. I mentor many women at Ingram Micro and have been mentored by both men and women at Ingram Micro. We have such amazing people in and around our company, and I am always watching for up and coming individuals to engage with and learn from as well. Ingram Micro has made diversity a priority and to fuel the success of this ongoing initiative, we have our own Women’s Forum, which is part of our North American campuses.  Throughout the year, we bring in guest speakers and each female executive involved has her own small women’s group that meets monthly on campus and, or remotely.

As a successful professional, what are two-to-three tips to maintaining a good work-life balance?

Over the years, I’ve found it’s not so much how to balance, but how to be present when you’re in the moment so you can be the best at what you’re doing. When I am at work, I am at work. When I am home or back in the day when I was at a school or watching a sporting event, I was present.  Yes, at times, one crosses over into the next, but making it a priority to be present and not distracted by my device has made a positive difference at home and at work. If you hire smart, encourage teamwork and lead by example, finding a healthy balance and a clear headspace to enjoy the moments we have is priceless, and not as hard as it may seem.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • Built to Last by James Collins and Jerry Porras
  • The First 90 days by Michael D. Watkins
  • 7 Habits by Stephen Covey
  • Watch TED talks in the morning or before I go to bed on leadership, motivation, sales, team building; they can be so inspiring.
  • Take advantage of podcasts. You can listen to them on the go, in the air – they are a great on-demand learning tool.

 

Wendy Hoey
Senior Director of Global Sourcing, Optiv

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?

I have been very fortunate to work with a lot of up and coming young women and pride myself as being someone that they can always come to for direction and advice.

I set up short monthly meetings/calls with my female colleagues to run through what they have been doing, any issues or challenges that they have been encountering and just chat through and help with some advice and direction. With us all working remote we can get too bogged down day to day – so make some time to review how things are going with your other female colleagues, listen and learn from other experiences.

As a successful professional, what are two-to-three tips to maintaining a good work-life balance?

When you are on vacation – actually be on vacation, don’t check emails, they will be there when you get back! Too many of my American colleagues don’t ‘switch’ off and you need to have a break or what is the point of working so hard.

Block off some time every day in your calendar for ‘prep’ time. With so many people working remote – conference calls and meetings have taken over our day to day lives – so make sure you have a break by blocking some time in your day to day so that you have some time allotted for reviewing what you are doing that day, or even grabbing something to eat or to run the odd errand.

I also have some exercise bands in my home office – so when I am on a long call I can just do some simple exercises to keep my body moving as some days I can be stuck on calls for most of the day. I hate the days when my fit bit is telling me that I’ve only moved 1000 steps! Invest in a good blue tooth headset so you can move around while on calls – keep active!

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • Set aside 2 hours a week for self-improvement. Pick some key topics within your industry and turn off your email, and your phone – block out in your diary, and review some subject matter from your industry.
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney – Chris recently spoke at our SKO, and the principles within his book outline how to manage your tasks/objectives to ensure that you achieve the important ones and don’t get bogged down in the day to day whirlwind. I have started to use this method with my team and it’s already helped us achieve some goals that had been outstanding due to having too many projects at one time and not knowing where to start.

 

Jacquie Goldstein
Director, Software Partners, SHI

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?

My leadership tends to be more by example than anything coordinated. I have an open-door policy for all of my employees, and am always there to listen. I like to get to know all of my employees as well as they will let me get to know them. For me, it starts with showing woman in our industry that there are opportunities for them, and mentoring them on the importance of putting themselves out there for new opportunities, even if they don’t think they are 100% ready or fully qualified.  Most studies show that women tend to hold themselves back on growth opportunities until they feel they are totally prepared and/or ready, which could lead them to missing out on a realistic career –changing opportunity. I also stress the importance of confidence, especially within the technology industry – while though the numbers are increasing, it is still very male-centric industry. There are still many a conference I attend where I am one of the only women, and it is crucial for us to value our own worth, and insist that others do so as well. I also relay to young women, that it is so important to just be themselves and remember that they are only human, particularly when they are in a leadership role. You need to be your authentic you, or else you will not be true to yourself or ultimately in the job you are doing.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • Emergenetics Training at work was a truly amazing experience. It taught me a ton about myself that I was not previously in tune with, and made me understand the type of leader I am, and how I best process and learn new things. It also made me understand others which is worth its weight in gold. Moreover, any training on emotional intelligence/IQ is imperative to anyone in a leadership position.
  • Reread Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess – I’m a huge proponent of going back to the basics. Sometimes, that which is the most simple, is the most profound.
  • There are tons of leadership books and training out there. Don’t be afraid to try different things, particularly those that may push you out of your comfort zone. The truth is, you never stop learning no matter what line of work you may be in, and the more open you are to different experiences, different techniques, and different points of view, the better off you are.

 

Shelly Bodine
Chief of Staff, SoftwareOne

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?

Currently I am working with a team of women within my organization who just launched our first “Women in Technology” forum in 2017.  It has been rewarding to see the amount of enthusiasm we have received as a group about the work we have done.  I have also served as a mentor for a number of women and men throughout my career, as it is a passion of mine to see people grow in their career.

As a successful professional, what are two-to-three tips to maintaining a good work-life balance?

Learn to set priorities in both areas of your life – and say no to things that don’t align. Your Family and Health should always be a priority.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • The Patrick Lencioni series of books – you can always relate to one of the “characters”
  • Networking – both formally at events, as well as informally by keeping in contact with those in your industry.

 

Tracy Holtz
Director, Security and Information Management, Tech Data

What made you get into the technology industry? 

Prior to joining Tech Data, I worked for a small components distributor which allowed me the opportunity to gain new skills and exposure to the industry which peaked my interest.  I quickly became fascinated with Security market and threat landscape therefore spent more time investing time to further enhance my knowledge and skills.
What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?  

I encourage my team to get engaged in user groups, volunteer opportunities, and company projects which provide an opportunity to expand their knowledge base, provide exposure to senior leaders, and give back to the community.  In addition, offering regular mentoring sessions directly with employees to specifically dive deeper into personal opportunities.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

Find Your Why by Simon Sinek – I had previously read Sinek’s “Start with Why” earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed the book reflecting on purpose or beliefs that inspire you to apply with others. “Find Your Why” allows you an opportunity to leverage the knowledge gained in “Start with Why” but also find ways to inspire yourself at work, leading you to inspire others around you.

 

Chari Kelsey
Director, Channel Operations and Distribution – Americas, McAfee

What made you get into the technology industry?

I was and am still passionate about being on the good side of the fight. Knowing that the solutions we provide to our customers helps protect them keeps me inspired and engaged in this industry.

As a successful professional, what are your tips to maintaining a good work-life balance?

My calendar is everything to me. I make sure I am scheduling time for things that matter to me (time with my family and friends, working out, hobbies, etc.). I find that this approach ensures I prioritize how I use the time I have available.

Meditation has become a daily habit even if it is just for 10 min. It helps keep me focused.

Sometimes when things are crazy busy, I have to just mentally remind myself that I am doing my best. Some days one part of my life will take more from me than other parts. When I can just embrace the imbalance, I don’t get as thrown off by it and know that it will even out.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman – This was a recommendation from the last Women in Channel event I attended.
  • Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin- This is by far the best book I’ve read this year. It has great relatable and practical guidance for establishing habits around what you value.

 

Gabriela Ferado
Manager, Channel Sales, McAfee

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?
I am always available for a chat, and if people are willing to listen, always happy to give advice. For my team, my ultimate goal is always growth, so we should have a plan to achieve that in one way or another, as long as the individual is willing to do it.

As a successful professional, what are two-to-three tips to maintaining a good work-life balance?

First of all, accept that perfect balance is probably not achievable. Set boundaries and respect them as much as possible. There will be times when work needs more of you and times when life needs more of you. Just be okay with your decisions on how you spend your time and energy. We have to be well in all aspects of our lives in order to perform at our highest, so I do try to make sure I have a little bit of everything – work/fun/family/exercise, etc.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein – It’s the story of a family as told by the family dog – who happens to love car racing and makes analogies between racing and life. Enzo the dog gives some good advice like “the car goes where the eyes go” – as in keep your eyes on the goal and do the right thing to get there.
  • Any book or training that makes you a better person

 

Kristin Carnes
Director, Worldwide Channel Sales, Cloud Business Unit, McAfee

 As a successful professional, what are two-to-three tips to maintaining a good work-life balance?
I’ve had a career all my life.  Like many women I went to work, got married, had kids and kept on working.  My job may not define me but it is a large part of who I am.  Raising two boys and having a husband who taught and coached for 17 years requires planning and the ability to deal with spontaneous situations.  Consciously schedule time for your personal life and set the example of “turning off” with the people you love, they will follow suit.  Expect there will be surprises and disruptions both from work and your personal life and choose wisely when and how you react.   Find a passion that has nothing to do with work and requires your complete concentration in order to master it successfully.

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Being married to an English Teacher is what exposed me to this book.  While it can be dark and harrowing, I have found that reading it again throughout my life my lens changes depending on where I am in my own personal journey. As we mature and grow, so does our perspective.  I read The Bell Jar at least once every three years and while the story is the same, I find that the parts of the story that affect me change.

 

Megan Miles Gee

Partner Manager, Cloud Business Unit, McAfee

What made you get into the technology industry?

I’ve actually never known anything else, literally. You see, my father was in the industry so I was always surrounded by it.  I was fascinated by the work he and his company did and was always asking questions but never imagined myself following in his footsteps.  My degree is actually in English and Political Communication- I wanted to be the next Peggy Noonan, a political speech writer.  Fast forward, a couple of years out of college and a divorce later, and I was looking to begin my career.  I found an entry-level outside sales position for a telecommunications provider.  The ‘.com’ bubble had recently burst and the industry was rapidly changing.  My father had always been supportive of me and my sister and anything that we wanted to do but for the first time ever had some concerns.  He was concerned given the state of the industry but even more so because “his little girl” was entering “a man’s world.”  He had always been more progressive- he actually hired the first female director in the company to his staff. He shared with me the concerns other leadership had since she was female, (mind you, this was the south…in the ‘70’s) and he didn’t want that for me- he knew that I would have to work extra hard to prove myself, much like she did.  I appreciated his concerns and wasn’t worried because “it was just a sales job to get some experience under my belt and at least it was something that I was somewhat familiar with.”  That was14-years ago and I haven’t looked back.  He’s been 100% supportive of me and has been an amazing mentor.  My career in technology has ranged from sales, operations, consulting, and sales engineering.  Who knew that some of those silly questions like, “Dad, what makes a phone ring?” would bring me to where I am today!

Suggested Reading and Tips for Growth:

  • The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington
  • White Papers and McAfee briefs – Joining the McAfee team through acquisition of Skyhigh, there has been a lot to get up to date on here!

 

Natalie Tomlin
Channel Sales Director, Alternate Routes to Market, McAfee

What are some things you do to help mentor and grow women within your organization?

I am a strong proponent of encouraging women to speak up, talk, and be heard. I also advise people to talk to multiple women across the company to get a wide range of differing perspectives. It is my hope that these discussions will allow them to develop their own perspectives. Finally, I make sure that my team does an exercise where they write down their core values. If you have your values written down, it allows you to stay true to them.

What books and/or training do you suggest, and why?

  • From Good to Great by James Collins is my easily my number one pick.
  • Who Moved my Cheese by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson is a good read, highlighting the fact that the only constant is change, so you always have to keep learning and adapting.
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor is another one of the best books I’ve read recently, as it shows happiness fuels success rather than vice versa.

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