This Podcast Gives a Voice to the Empowerment of Women in the Channel

“This was an opportunity for me to show allyship in a very tangible way,” says podcast host Brandon Knight.

Buffy Naylor, Senior Managing Editor

June 6, 2023

5 Min Read
Empowerment of Women

Would you be surprised to learn that the force behind a podcast dedicated to the empowerment of women in the channel is a man? You wouldn’t if you knew Brandon Knight.


Zoom’s Brandon Knight

In addition to being head of global customer experience for Zoom, Knight is a co-founder and board member of Xposure Inclusion & Diversity Council, serves on Channel Futures’ DE&I Advisory Board and was an inaugural member of the Channel Futures DE&I 101. Oh, and along the way he was named a Channel Futures Channel Influencer in 2020 and was inducted into the Channel Futures Circle of Excellence in 2023.

In March, Knight launched “Wednesday’s Winning Woman,” a weekly podcast on YouTube in which he features “iconic women” in the channel. Part of his motivation was to ‘put my money where my mouth is,’” he said. “I always say that if gender equity is only a women’s problem it will not be solved. If racism is only a minority problem it will never be solved etc. So this was an opportunity for me to show allyship in a very tangible way. “

Interviewing Iconic Women

Knight has recruited iconic women to join him on the podcast by way of the channel’s greatest strength: networking. “Originally it started with me identifying the top 20 to 25 women in the channel that I knew from experience were successful icons with a good story to tell,” he said. “But then I opened up to those icons to recommend others they knew. After about four episodes the series gained momentum and people started to reach out to me on LinkedIn with recommendations.”

Since then, Knight has hosted guests ranging from Ooma’s Kathy Mazza to Salesforce’s Priya Bhalla. Each guest provides answers to questions about one accomplishment of which they’re proud, one of their current goals and one piece of advice — personal or business — that they would give their younger self.

Knight’s goal is to provide a 360-degree view of the winning woman. “I was intentional about making the series not just about business, because I wanted viewers to see it is OK to bring your ‘whole’ self to what you do.”

For his first guest, Knight turned to his “closest and most important icon,” his wife Sierra Knight. She’s an accomplished entrepreneur who specializes in coaching and training to elevate contact center customer experiences. And that’s where the other part of his motivation — his daughters — comes in. “They have their mother as an amazing example, but I wanted them to see other examples in various industries and know they can be anything they want to be.”

The Empowerment of Women Will Be Hard-Won

On YouTube, “Wednesday’s Winning Woman” describes itself as being “for the empowerment of women that comes from sharing stories and personas that are easily identifiable and relatable.” And how does Knight define the empowerment of women? “A few things come to mind when I think empowerment for women,” he said. “I think encouragement, platform and acceptance to start.

“So providing encouragement to speak their voice and share their truths. Then in every way possible provide a platform for their voice to be shared and then acceptance of whatever that voice looks or sounds like. Which also means a safe space/environment to do it in. The thing about empowerment is women don’t need to be told what to think or do. They just need a judgment-free, supportive environment to excel.”

Knight admits the empowerment of women in the channel will be hard-won Hosting the podcast has been an eye-opener for him. “Although I’m active in the channel community there are still some things women have to deal with that I was unaware of,” he said. “The passions that drive/motivate several of these women have nothing to do with their ‘paid’ jobs. Several of the obstacles/challenges faced by these women were the same or similar regardless of race, age, position, etc.”

Overcoming Expectations

“I believe the biggest obstacle is still overcoming the expectation of what a woman’s role is or could be that was created when women were first ‘accepted’ into the channel,” Knight said. “In the beginning, the role of women was largely ‘eye candy.’ This industry accepted them as ‘booth babes’ or low-level marketing or lead-gen people designed to get attention but then funnel the actual conversation to a business associate who was usually a man.

“So in a lot of ways we still have an industry that struggles to take women seriously on a large scale. And while we have moved away (thankfully) from the booth babe mentality we still have some ‘acceptable’ women’s roles in the channel, like marketing, event planning, administrative, etc. And by no means do I mean to belittle those roles. I just think it is a concern when those are the ONLY roles afforded women in some organizations. When we completely change the role expectation, we will have more women in the C-Suite, executive and technology leadership and any and everywhere else they want to be.

“We are more than just the sum of our work accomplishments so it was very important for me to show the duality,” Knight concludes. “We still live in a society that, regardless of the parental dynamic, in a lot of ways women are still expected to be the primary caregiver for children. Since it is accepted for a man to tour, travel or otherwise leave daily to provide for his family, the duality is one that women bear alone.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Buffy Naylor or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Buffy Naylor

Senior Managing Editor, Channel Futures

Buffy Naylor is senior managing editor of Channel Futures. Prior to joining Informa (then VIRGO) in 2008, she was an award-winning copywriter and editor, then senior manager of corporate communications for an international leisure travel corporation and, before that, in charge of creative development and copywriting for a boutique marketing and public relations agency.

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