Empowering women brings us a brighter future. How do we do it?

Staci Rodriguez, Senior Director of Channel - Americas

March 27, 2024

4 Min Read
Empowering women
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It’s no secret women are underrepresented in the tech space. While we’ve made strides toward widening the gap, it still exists: when it comes to the channel specifically, research shows that only a third of sales reps are women.

The truth is, the channel is stronger with women. Leaving us out of the equation is no longer an option. Now’s the time to lift both young women seeking a future in the channel industry and those of us who are already here.

So how can we all work to strengthen the channel to ensure a bright future? There are plenty of actionable ways to make tech — and the channel — a better place for women.

Give Us a Seat at the Table

I once had an amazing female leader in the channel who hired me to build new routes to market. When we shared updates with the executive team on our channel strategy progress, she’d allow me a few minutes to cover this part of our initiative. The confidence and education I gained from this experience were invaluable.

I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without her giving it to me. Finding those mentors and champions is critical, whether it comes from a male or female colleague. Additionally, sponsoring memberships for professional organizations like the WOTC Leadership Network and Alliance of Channel Women is one way to help connect women to those who may be able to give them their opportunity to shine.

Giving women a chance to speak as often as possible, inside and outside the organization, allows us to showcase our value and earn respect for the work we do. Each of us has the potential to make incredible contributions, but only when we’re afforded the chance.

Understand Differences

By default, women may have different approaches, needs and tendencies than our male counterparts. We all bring different experiences and points of view to what we do, and men must be able to step up and ask the right questions or put themselves in our shoes. This is vital to understanding why we may take a different angle during a project or conversation.

Unique experiences, perspectives, and points of view all foster innovation and are a direct result of diversity. These same factors also mean that the products and solutions we create cater to a wider, more inclusive audience. And working directly with different types of people helps break down stereotypes to build a more equitable society overall. All of this stems from embracing empathy by trying to understand someone else’s viewpoint.

Embrace Change

Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. For meaningful inclusion, companies should continue to review their policies, benefits, hiring, training and more. What’s working? What isn’t? Asking women for our opinions can help lead to new processes that positively impact everyone in the workspace.

Too many organizations stagnate, because they are afraid to try something new. That something new may fail, and that’s okay. Employees appreciate when leaders have positive intent and the strength to recognize where they may be falling short. Owning up to mistakes makes a difference over being too scared to make them in the first place.

Hiring is a great example of where businesses can think outside the box. So many organizations that struggle to obtain or retain female talent stick to the status quo. It’s easy to overlook a candidate who lacks one or two skills, but can be developed. Why not give them the chance? Considering the full picture of their talent and experience can leave you with an incredible opportunity to hire for growth.

Everyone Can Drive Change

It’s not only up to men to create space for women in tech to succeed. We have the power to push ourselves and break the glass ceiling. We just need the bravery to stand up and do it. Challenge yourself to ask for the job, the raise, the seat at the table.

Find mentors and champions who support you, and empower yourself to do the same for the other females around you. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail and don’t think you need to be perfect all the time. It’s okay not to know everything, but still put yourself out there and take the risk to — men do it all the time!

Each of us has a part to play in elevating women in tech and in the channel. As we continue to drive opportunities for women to grow and succeed, we will make progress that leads to real impact. From there, we can only expect to see the industry flourish, transform and innovate beyond the status quo.

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About the Author(s)

Staci Rodriguez

Senior Director of Channel - Americas, Ping Identity

Staci Rodriguez is senior director of channel and alliance sales – Americas for enterprise identity security software firm Ping Identity. In addition, she is global co-chair of Women of Ping. She has more than 16 years of broad experience with direct and channel sales, operations and management.

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