CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — Women have had quite a year. They’ve been rising up, speaking out and demanding change, and that is not something that’s escaped The Alliance of Channel Women (ACW) (booth #3091 and an association sponsor).
ACW, formerly known as Women in the Channel (WIC), is an organization that’s been advocating for women in technology since 2010. So, to celebrate women’s voices at this year’s ACW Networking Mixer, collocated at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, ACW’s theme was “Stand Up. Be Bold. Take Action.”
A couple of hundred women, representing telecom and the IT channel, gathered Tuesday night to learn how to take action and work to advance career and leadership opportunities for women in the channel.
Kicking off the presentations was our own Lorna Garey, editor in chief, Channel Partners and Channel Futures. Garey updated the crowd on the success of this year’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo that boasts 6,000 attendees and 3,700 partners, represented by agents, MSPs, VARs, SIs and consultants.
“If you have something that you want to say about the channel, we’re starting a Channel 101 video project to help out new channel entrants,” Garey said, as she thanked ACW for their seven-year partnership at Channel Partners.
She also talked about the Train Our Troops veterans organization that Channel Partners and Channel Futures work with to create employment opportunities for veterans. This year’s veteran effort is sponsored by MetTel.
A panel of diamond sponsors, including Jive, MicroCorp and MetTel, shared why their companies join AWC and why they sponsor the not-for-profit organization of women in the indirect sales channel.
“We need to be able to develop communities like this one to help women not only stay in the industry, but to thrive in it,” said Karen Field, CEO and COO of MicroCorp.
Each panelist had a story about being the only woman in a room full of men at points throughout their careers. In fact, 48 percent of women in STEM, leave their jobs because of a lack of mentors and coaching — an all too real career barrier.
It was encouraging when Lisa DelReal, area vice president, channel programs and operations at RingCentral, talked about company goals and how its taking action. One 2017 goal was to increase worker diversity.
“Our goal was to increase the number of women in the channel,” she said. “In one year, we increased that number from six to 17.”
The company also continued its sponsorship of ACW and paid for the ACW membership for the new 17 female hires.
Then, Stacy Conrad, vice president, channel sales, at Fusion, the new ACW president, shared what’s new for channel partners at ACW.
The rebranding of the organization topped the list. The driver for the name change is to better reflect the organization’s members and mission — which also got an update.
The ACW mission is to advance careers and leadership roles for women at the highest levels in the technology channel by providing education, community, advocacy and opportunities for personal growth.