You need lots of framework, purpose-built tools, and have to focus on retention," said one panelist about hiring practices.

Moshe Beauford, Contributing Editor

October 30, 2023

3 Min Read
Women's panel at Channel Futures Leadership Summit

CHANNEL FUTURES LEADERSHIP SUMMIT — Women and the unique business issues they face ruled the day at the Women's Leadership Summit, kicking off this year's Channel Futures Leadership Summit in Miami Beach.

Entrepreneur Gilli Aliotti headed up a panel discussion about achieving excellence in the channel from the viewpoint of four successful female leaders who work in various roles within the channel. One of those leaders is Amber Bardon, CEO of Parasol Alliance, who said that it comes down to balance when looking to create a culture of excellence.

And it seems that translated to her own business, as it extends unlimited time off and is 100% work-from-home, with Bardon noting the firm leverages various tools to pull off the feat, but it is possible.

"You have to be very intentional about things and you can’t just say we offer work-from-home. You need lots of framework, lots of purpose-built tools, and have to focus on retention," Bardon said to the channel audience.

In the long run, she claims, excellence comes down to accountability and fostering a culture of openness and honest feedback. Bardon says that follow-through and follow-up are cardinal factors when considering success,

Further, on the topic of excellence, first-generation college graduate and CEO/president at Entara, Pamela Diaz, said that one golden nugget she wishes she had early on is knowing when to speak up for herself.

"Believe in yourself as much as you believe in someone else and own your truth, and if you fail, own that as well," Diaz said.

Pamela Miranda, CEO and president of Trilella, and Esther Deutsch, operations manager at RCS Professional Services, also took part in the forum.

Women's Leadership Summit: Building an Agency from Scratch

Some might have you believe that building an agency from scratch is cumbersome work, says Zina L. Hassel, CEO of ZLH Enterprises, who has founded and sold at least one successful consultancy, launching her present-day firm in her New York City basement. Fifteen years later, Hassel still retains her first hire, and her daughter plans to take over the firm one day.

All this, she noted at Leadership Summit, would not be possible without a vast amount of business savvy, noting you will need cash flow to make sure you stay afloat because obtaining commission checks can prove vexing. Even some of the largest brands find it difficult to hand out commission checks, she notes, "I have experience with legal issues, finance, and contracts, which helps, but you can’t enforce anything."

Trish Van de Bovenkamp, partner and managing director of Upstack, founded her agency just after 9/11 and recently sold it to Upstack. She says taking risks is why she is successful today and that nothing surprises her anymore.

The surprises come in the subsequent years, she told event goers.

"It's odd; you get into a relationship with a supplier/vendor who courted you, and three years into it, they forget who you are, and your income source gets threatened by the one who wooed you,” Van de Bovenkamp shared.

For this reason, she told Channel Futures Leadership Summit attendees that diversification is vital: "Never put all your eggs in one basket, and no more than 10% of your revenue should reside with one vendor, customer or product."

Van de Bovenkamp said she wishes she had someone to encourage her to take risks earlier on, "and I wish I had a better understanding of the financial/tax aspect of the business."

She asserts that this would have set her up to be in a better position to succeed in a primarily male-dominated industry "because there's nothing better than signing your checks." For her, the most significant driver is freedom as she accepts that it is more substantial than any other concern.

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About the Author(s)

Moshe Beauford

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.

As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.

Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.

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