The Alliance of Channel Women Shift, Disrupt and Impact

ACW's Advocacy Initiative was also reinvigorated at the event.

Lynn Haber

April 10, 2019

5 Min Read
ACW panel photo

(Pictured above, left to right: Ingram Micro’s Holly Hartman Niedzielski, CenturyLink’s Lisa Miller and JS Group’s Janet Schijns participate in a panel discussion moderated by Channel Partners’ Maggie Miller.)

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — There was plenty of vibrant discussion about how to shift your thinking, disrupt your routine and impact your life, the lives of others and your career at this year’s Alliance of Channel Women (ACW) ConnectLive! at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, which kicked off on Tuesday

About 200 attendees heard more than half-dozen leading channel professionals talk about shifting your thinking about what’s possible for your life and career and identifying what keeps you from moving forward.

Maggie Miller, content marketing director for Channel Partners, moderated an interactive panel that included Holly Hartman Niedzielski, director, event marketing and partner communities with Ingram MicroLisa Miller, president, wholesale, indirect and alliances at CenturyLink; and, Janet Schijns, CEO of JS Group. This power panel shared personal and professional experiences that shaped their learning experiences and helped empower them on their path to success.

For Hartman, one defining moment in her career that shaped her professionally came as the result of a promotion. “I would go to meetings with my peers who had a lot of experience in their roles and I saw myself as the junior senator — not because they made me feel that way, but because in my mind I was that way,” she said. It took a while, but Hartman soon realized. “I deserved that seat at the table and it changed my thinking in how I presented myself.”

CenturyLink’s Miller responded to a question about a time in her career when she experienced fear and how she overcame it. Miller first dispelled the myth that people in leadership positions have their acts together. “Fear is natural; it’s what you do with fear that matters,” she said. Not one to pass up significant job promotions that made her scared and uncomfortable, Miller embraced the fear. “It makes me sharper, it makes me better, it makes me hypersensitive and hyperaware of what’s going on with the job and what’s going on in the industry.” Her recommendation: Embrace fear, it will make you better. “Fear is your friend,” said Miller.

Schijns dove headfirst into the question of how to know when it’s time to make a job change.

“For me it started with the numbers. I decided I want to make a lot of money. I don’t know why women won’t talk about money,” she said. Men talk about money and it was a conversation she was able to have with her very supportive Dutch husband, who comes from a country where there’s a requirement that 50 percent of a company’s board must be women. “He also challenges me,” she said, relating a conversation where he matter-of-factly told her that he was surprised she wasn’t…

…doing better than she had done.

“He went through all of the reasons why I should get to the next level, and he was right,” Schijns said. “So, I went in [to work] and told them that if I didn’t get to the next level, I wasn’t staying. I got to the next level.”


Broadvoice’s Rebecca Rosen

Rebecca Rosen, vice president of marketing at Broadvoice gave a powerful keynote about being that person who acts to make change to leave the next generation an environment better than that of previous generations.

“I stand before you and I want to create an environment where there is equality. I stand before you as a person who hopes for equality. Yet, I know that hoping doesn’t change anything,” she said. “I can’t wait for other people to take action because I hope that things will get better. I stand before you as somebody who is choosing to help create change.”

Rosen talked about the landscape for women in the workplace, where women represent only 22 percent of leadership, where one-third of women say they’ve been sexually harassed at some point in their career and where women, on average, make 78 cents on the dollar compared to what a man earns. Within those issues are other issues, such as gender bias –— think about being told to smile more, to take notes because you’re the only woman in the room or to be more approachable.

“While these issues, while seemingly and intentionally independent, are complex and intertwined,” said Rosen.

Her presentation focused on three complex challenges: gender disparity, sexual harassment and equal pay.

Rosen, an ACW board member revisited the organization’s 2018 rebranded mission for advocacy and announced that a recent survey of members voted for the priorities it would like to focus on. The top two are equal pay and access to opportunities. And, she announced that for the first time in ACW’s history, it is asking men to join the organization in its advocacy initiatives.

“Let’s face it. These aren’t women’s issues, these are family issues. These are not just women’s rights but human rights,” she said. Rosen also stressed that it’s not okay to normalize bias. “When you learn that most people are biased, it doesn’t feel like bias is prejudice, it just feels normal,” she said. This is unacceptable, it is not okay to normalize bias.


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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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