CompTIA Honors the IT Channel’s Future

They’re young, talented and driven. And they’re the future of the IT channel.

Samantha CiacciaCompTIA has honored three millennials as the recipients of its 2015 ChannelChangers award, recognizing entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators who are under 30 and ready to make their mark on the IT industry.

This year’s ChannelChangers are:

  • Samantha Ciaccia, 25, channel engagement manager for Datto Inc. in Norwalk, Connecticut
  • Chance Hoover, 27, channel marketing manager for Intel Security in Plano, Texas
  • Samantha Klein, 29, marketing manager for IBM in Manhattan

“The impressive accomplishments and contributions of these three individuals are inspiring and demonstrate the rewarding opportunities young adults have when pursuing a career in IT,” said Kelly Ricker, CompTIA’s senior vice president of events and education.

Chance HooverCiaccia has earned numerous industry accolades, and is an executive champion and founding member of the CompTIA Future Leaders Community. She has been recognized alongside Datto at many events for her channel advocacy and business excellence.

For more than four years, Hoover has served as the project manager for several high-profile Intel Security events, including the annual Technical Forum. He also is the team leader for Intel Security’s Online Safety for Kids Program.

Samantha KleinKlein is credited with founding and co-leading IBM’s first and only online millennial community, IBM Millennial Corps. The virtual community now represents more than 3,000 millennials across 42 countries working within IBM.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, the three ChannelChangers shared their thoughts on winning the award, their career challenges and goals for the future.

Channel Partners: What does being named a ChannelChanger mean to you?

Ciaccia: Being recognized as a ChannelChanger is a huge honor. For me, it means motivation. Motivation to work harder, take more risks, and continue to learn and grow every opportunity I get.

Hoover: It is an incredible honor and extremely humbling. To be recognized by co-workers is good enough, but when CompTIA and industry professionals select you out of many deserving individuals, it resonates. I am excited to represent my generation within the IT space, and hopefully use this opportunity to …

… encourage others to get serious about their careers, their potential, and involved with channel.

Klein: During my 18-month tenure at IBM, I helped develop IBM’s Emerging Leaders Program, comprised of young professionals at IBM and Business Partner firms who have a history of high performance, and demonstrate the capability and eagerness to take on increased leadership responsibilities. Being named a ChannelChanger is a formal validation for me of this work and I am excited by this accolade.

CP: What do you find most challenging about your career in the channel?

Ciaccia: The most challenging thing about my career in the channel is that it’s constantly changing. I don’t have a technical background, so it takes time for me to learn about a new product or new technology, and feel confident speaking about it. It always seems that right when I think I have something down, there [are] 100 more new concepts. It’s hard to keep up!

Hoover: Differentiation is a highly complex challenge. Within the channel, resellers and customers have an immense and ever growing number of vendors to do business with, and with every business decision we make, the likelihood of them choosing Intel Security is affected. Positively differentiating Intel Security in a sea of existing and new vendors is a constant consideration, yet highly rewarding when successful.

Klein: What I find most challenging is the quick and constant pace of change in the channel, particularly within IBM’s Global Business Partner organization, which is helping our Business Partners transform to higher value solutions and enabling partners to develop new solutions based on cloud, analytics, mobile, social business and security. I believe it is millennials like me who are driving much of this change. While this rate of change creates challenges, it’s also exciting.

CP: What advice would you give those interested in pursuing a career in IT/the channel?

Ciaccia: My advice is to never compare yourself to others. Everyone in the IT industry is so diverse in their skill sets, it’s easy to get caught up on what you don’t know. Whether you’re a network engineer, marketing guru, or finance administrator, focus on your core strengths, be amazing at it and learn from others rather than match them.

Hoover: Make it happen! Working in the channel is challenging but rewarding. The channel community is a tight knit group where it seems everyone knows everyone. This translates to if you do a great job, you get remembered. I have had the opportunity to visit …

… many places and had great experiences as a result of my work with the channel, which in the end, makes all of the hard work more than worth it.

Klein: There is a wide opportunity for many careers in technology that range from marketing and communications, all the way to engineering and the development of new products. I’m looking forward to a long career in technology and am excited to be working at IBM.

Channel Partners: What are your goals both in your career and life?

Ciaccia: My goal personally and professionally is to make my parents proud. They have done and sacrificed so much for me and it’s my goal to show them it was worth it.

Hoover: My goals in career and life are fairly similar. I always want to be getting better – whether it is better at work, hobbies, or with my family, I have a desire to be the best I can be. This comes from continual learning, constant improvement, helping others, living in the moment and a multitude of other small things that have a large impact when paired together.

Klein: My career goals are to continue to step further outside of my comfort zone. I also want to support and mentor other young women who are interested in technology careers. Additionally, I look forward to becoming a leading executive in this field, at some point in my career. However, right now, I hope to inspire young women to help them realize that pursuing a technology career is a realistic goal. In life, I never want to stop continuing to learn. There are always new skills and techniques to develop.

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