March 8, 2023
By Shelly Koglin
The IT channel is consistently evolving, not only through technology but with the talent responsible for building, managing and educating about the benefits it offers businesses and individuals. My female colleagues and I speak regularly about why we got into the technology industry and eventually the channel. Some of us were drawn in by the excitement and innovation. Some sought out smart, savvy people to learn alongside. Others were motivated by the challenge of working with complex tech and making it simple for others to use and understand.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I have been thinking about what it truly means to be a woman in the IT channel, why it is so critical that we foster emerging female talents, and how to foster women’s channel careers. This is how we strengthen the channel for the future
Prioritize Diversity to Inspire Innovation
This goes beyond just women in the workplace. Diversity of any kind is key to bringing in new perspectives and ideas that will lead to progress. Successful companies recognize that diverse ideas bring better solutions.
Based on the experiences and challenges they face, women bring a different perspective to driving solutions and creating better experiences for all. Improving an organization’s culture and inclusiveness begins and continues through constant learning. Since the IT channel is always evolving, integrating new opinions and voices from all employees can help keep organizations on the cutting edge.
Foster Mentorship, Not ‘Results’
It is important to recognize that women need both male and female mentors in the business. While it’s important to see “someone like you” in a role you want to be in, having a male mentor not only provides women with the perspective of their male peers but, more importantly, exposes men to the challenges women face, hopefully encouraging them to be more understanding and empathetic of these challenges moving forward.
And mentorship goes beyond having someone help you achieve specific titles or tasks in a job description. True mentorship will encourage women in all aspects of life. This means listening to an individual’s unique needs and challenges to help them succeed.
Find someone you find inspiring — at work, school, through LinkedIn — and just ask what they do and how they got there. Most women are happy to mentor another woman and help lift them up. The benefits are equally beneficial for the mentor as the mentee.
Respect Individual Identities and Find a Place for Them
Raising up women in the channel goes beyond simply acknowledging them. Channel companies must identify, cultivate, reward and promote female talent to be successful.
I am lucky to work for an organization that prioritizes female leadership. However, I recognize that many of our strong women leaders still had to work harder to get there than their male counterparts. If we all aim at that glass ceiling together and are intentional in our actions, we will see progress.
Match Encouragement and Support with Action
It is not enough to simply say you are developing an inclusive company culture or offer verbal support for those starting out. Words must be met with action. Having an actionable zero-tolerance policy for gender inequality — any inequality — around status and employee treatment is critical.
Successful organizations are prepared to support women through challenges and transitions others may not experience. We must recognize that everyone has different needs for work/life balance. Having multiple, dedicated support programs and actionable solutions will open the door for more diversity and make the channel a more creative and solutions-oriented environment.
Whether it’s a career in the IT channel or something else, females should feel encouraged to follow the path that calls to them without inhibition. Just know you are equally or more capable of succeeding in whatever field you choose and there are plenty of knowledgeable women (and men) who are happy to support your journey.
Shelly Koglin is Ping Identity’s director of channel marketing. In this role, she helps craft the leading identity management provider’s channel-focused marketing initiatives and plays a key role in the identification and recruitment of new partners, optimization of the Ping partner program, and the design of new campaigns to drive demand both through and with partners.
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