CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — (Booth 1049) — At the 13th annual Women in the Channel WiCConnect Networking Event, held April 10 during the Channel Partners Conference & Expo at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the focus was on the renewed importance of creating a culture of equality for women in the tech industry.
In her State of Women in the Channel remarks, WiC President Hilary Gadda, director of the Telepartner program at TPx Communications (formerly TelePacific), drew inspiration from the lessons of International Women’s Day, encouraging attendees at the sold-out event to be “bold for change,” to challenge bias and inequality,” to work for women’s advancement, to “celebrate women’s achievements” and to work for women’s advancement. “”As women, each of us can have a significant positive impact,” she stated, emphasizing that “We need to take action now.”
The centerpiece of the evening was a keynote panel, “The United State of Women,” that examined what is being done now to foster more opportunities for women in the tech industry and what needs to be done in the future. Led by Amy Bailey, WiC board member and vice president of marketing for Telarus, the panel consisted of Lisa Miller, senior vice president of sales channels for Level 3 Communications; Davida Johnson, managing director, practices and community partnerships, Office of Information Technology at UCL; and Dee Dee Lear, a technology industry veteran, channel distribution executive and women’s advocate.
The consensus of the panel members was that in the male-dominated tech industry, women need strength, support and a sense of community. Mentoring is an especially effective way of meeting all these needs. Each woman on the panel related their own experiences with mentoring – both giving and receiving. All agreed that women should seek male sponsors as well as female, to obtain a full spectrum of insights and expertise.
There was also agreement that seeking empowerment for women is a matter of ensuring equal opportunity, not special privilege. A community of peers providing education, support and advocacy can both encourage more women to enter the tech field and help them advance through the ranks.
The not-for-profit WiC currently has more than 350 members in over 185 companies across 23 states, as well as 2,206 LinkedIn members.