April 13, 2022
Pictured above, left to right: Lenovo’s Cassie Jepson, Comcast Business’ Vivian Chavez, Informa Tech’s Kelly Danziger, Avaya’s Theresa Garner and Zoom’s Alicia Steward.
CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO, LAS VEGAS – A panel composed of the four 2021 Alliance of Channel Women (ACW) LEAD Award winners shared their thoughts on empowering the next generation of women leaders. The panel discussion took place at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas.
ACW’s LEAD Award is presented annually to exceptional female leaders in the technology channel. It celebrates women who are courageous, creative, collaborative, connected and confident in advancing channel careers. It also seeks to inspire other channel women to follow their lead.
Cassie Jepson, director of North America channel programs for Lenovo and the president of ACW, moderated the panel. The Lead Award winners were Vivian Chavez, senior director of strategic channel programs for Comcast Business; Kelly Danziger, general manager and vice president of channel for Informa Tech; Theresa Garner, director of partner development for Avaya; and Alicia Stewart, national alliance manager for Zoom.
Women comprise nearly half of the workforce. But that percentage is nowhere reflected in the composition of senior management. As Chavez observed, “There aren’t enough women at the table.”
That’s partly due to women grappling with the work/life balance. Family demands and responsibilities land on women more often than men. During the pandemic, three million women left the work force. Only two million returned.
Another reason is the impostor syndrome. Women too often doubt their own abilities and hesitate to speak up for themselves.
Being Female in a Male-Dominated Industry
During their discussion, the panel members reflected on their own experiences as women in a male-dominated industry. Specifically, they addressed the issues of building confidence and resiliency, how to navigate power structures, how to remain mindful of who’s at the table and who’s missing and the importance of having a mentor.
Although the group came from different backgrounds and traveled distinctly different paths to achieve their success, they agreed on a number of issues. Primary among those was the need for women to speak up for themselves and others. And that includes making sure that proper credit is given for a job well done.
The session concluded with each panel member answering the question, “What’s the number one thing we can all do to empower other women?”
“Give them opportunities,” said Comcast Business’ Chavez.
“Always remember why you are where you are,” said Informa Tech’s Danziger.
“Be authentic,” said Avaya’s Garner.
“When you’re in a meeting with other women, make sure that you let all the women speak,” said Zoom’s Steward. “Don’t speak over them, listen to what they have to say. And give them credit for what they have to say.”
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