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August 5, 2021
Former Microsoft channel chief Gavriella Schuster has set her planned departure date for the end of this month. Schuster, who has spent 26 years at Microsoft, had signaled to partners that she would be leaving the company.
Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster
After stepping down as channel chief after five years in April, Schuster said she would remain during the transition period. Schuster’s successor, Rodney Clark, has more than four months under his belt, and Microsoft’s Inspire partner conference is over.
A Microsoft spokesperson on Thursday acknowledged Schuster’s plans to leave the company: “We are grateful for the contributions Gavriella Schuster has made to Microsoft and our ecosystem of partners throughout her 26 years with us. She has made a long-lasting impact and we wish her the best on her next role.”
It remains unclear where Schuster is headed. But speaking during a planned International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP) event in May, Schuster said she’s not disappearing. While she wasn’t specific, she said that her next role will keep her close to the Microsoft ecosystem. Schuster also intends to focus on helping achieve gender and racial equality in management.
“I will continue to be engaged with the IAMCP, with the Women in Cloud and with the Women in Technology network,” she said at the time. “That’s the best part of the job that I have today and will be the best part of the job that I will have in the future. So stay tuned.”
Schuster still hasn’t announced her plans.
JS Group’s Janet Schijns
“My gut tells me either she takes time off or she consults, but time will tell,” said JS Group CEO Janet Schijns.
Forrester’s Jay McBain
“She is being very tight-lipped but has dropped several hints about advancing women in IT, diversity and inclusion,” said Jay McBain, principal analyst for channels, partnerships and ecosystems at Forrester Research. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a spot where she could exercise her influence.”
Joseph Landes, chief revenue officer at Nerdio agreed.
“She is very committed to working on issues relating to gender equality in the tech field,” Landes said. It would not surprise me if she continues to make a huge impact in that area.”
Nerdio’s Joseph Landes
Schuster indicated as much when she announced her plans to step down as Microsoft’s channel chief in late March. In her now well-known TEDx talk last year, Schuster revealed her own experiences regarding the lack of gender equality.
In that speech, she recalled an incident not that long ago. During a meeting with a room full of male executives, Schuster said she made a point several times but was ignored. After finally raising her voice, lowering the pitch and speaking slowly, they heard her idea.
“The fact that I’m a senior executive, I still have to prove my credibility on a topic, before I can be heard,” she said in that November 2020 TEDx talk.
Schuster added that it wasn’t an isolated incident, and it had happened earlier last year before the pandemic struck.
“And it’s why I’m here today,” she continued. “I am tired of being the only woman in the room with no allies; I am here to enlist every single one of you to take a pledge to drive for gender equity.”
Earlier this year on the Channel Futures podcast, Coffee with Craig and James, she spoke of similar experiences.
Now, it appears she intends to fulfill her own pledge. In her March announcement, she said: “I want to spend more time working on these priorities.”
Read more about:MSPs
Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.
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