Channel Partners Stands with BLM: Introducing the Allyship Program

In March 2020, following the death of George Floyd, the country erupted in a firestorm as people of color and their allies took to the streets and social media to protest the killing and brutalization of people of color by law enforcement. Here at Channel Partners, we gathered to discuss what we as industry leaders should do with our influence. The discussion was short and to the point: We had a responsibility to come out in support of Black Lives Matter, human rights and the critical nature of diversity and inclusion in the channel.

But a support statement wasn’t enough. It was just the beginning. Over the next couple of weeks, our team met with a wide array of channel leaders to create a plan of action that would help effect systemic change in this industry we all love so deeply.

We started by creating a broad coalition of vendors, distributors, analysts, consultants and partners to help guide us in creating and deploying a consistent message and programs that would educate the channel on the issues surrounding diversity. The Allies of the Channel Council is made up of channel professionals of a range of colors and ethnicities to give us a diverse set of voices to help inform our efforts.

Allies of the Channel Council logoWe realized early on that the best way we could use the Channel Partners and Channel Futures platform, mission and communities to effect systemic change was to make sure that people of color are reflected in our event and editorial content. We made a commitment that 30% of speakers on our event stages moving forward would be professionals of color. Moreover, we created separate Diversity and Inclusion sections on our sites as a home for dedicated coverage of the issue, and we tasked our editors to cultivate relationships with people of color as sources, subject matter experts and professionals to whom we regularly turn for insights and to be featured in Channel Partners and Channel Futures.

But we couldn’t stop there. In conjunction with the Xposure Diversity and Inclusion Council, Channel Partners has launched a brand-new, proprietary research project into the systemic reasons that keep minorities from entering the indirect technology sales channel. Work on this project is just underway, and you can expect to see the findings from the initiative later this year.

Xposure, Channel Partners and the ACC have also created diversity and inclusion Workshop Series to help foster understanding, mutual empathy and productive conversation.

Finally, we’ve committed to creating a special digital issue dedicated to our diversity and inclusion coverage and to give a platform for people of color to share their stories and have their voices heard. We’ll release this at the end of the year.

The ACC is hard at work creating partnerships with other likeminded organizations that want to advance diversity in our space. Starting next year, we’ll expand the mission of the Allyship Program to encompass gender diversity, address the lack of professionals from the LGBTQ+ community and shed more light on the individual struggles of veterans, religious minorities and people with disabilities.

Of all of the programs, initiatives and projects that Channel Partners and Channel Futures have rolled out over the last several years, our team is undeniably proudest of the Allyship Program and the ACC. If you want to be involved and help us work for systemic change in the channel, email ACC chair Kris Blackmon at [email protected]. Together, we can work for the greater good of the industry.