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Women in the Channel: Creating a Voice and Place for Female Tech Leaders

March 13, 2015

The tech industry is an important one today – maybe more so than in the past – because technology has evolved to become a part of everyone’s daily lives. From the devices we use to communicate, consume media, and even to help us to stay healthy. As this market grows exponentially, the excitement in the space also increases. One thing that’s important to note about this market is that it’s traditionally a male dominated industry. I say traditionally because today there are many women in leadership roles and running successful businesses in the tech space. But there is still a long way to go to have equality in these positions.

Nancy Ridge

Fresh off the heels of Woman's Day 2015, I caught up with Nancy Ridge, Vice President of Telecom Brokers and President & Co-Founder of Women in the Channel, a not for profit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of female channel leaders, to talk about what the organization has been working on, the significance of their upcoming events and what’s in store for the future.

As a woman in the tech space myself, I enjoy my chats with any of the women in the organization and I always walk away from the conversation feeling empowered and understood.

This meeting was no different. I chatted with Nancy about the 9th Women in the Channel Networking and Enrichment Event that’s happening as a kickoff to the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas and why it’s such an important event and a strategic way to bring women who are revenue generators in the tech space together.

The women in attendance are responsible for bringing revenue and generating market growth to companies and most have full schedules at the show. By meeting the night before, it offers a chance for all of the ladies at the show to meet each other and talk before the actual conference begins so that they already know each other and can even schedule a business meeting at the show.

“The fact that women will go out of their way to get there early encourages us that they truly get something out of each event. It’s amazing to think we have already done 9 of these. We’re very excited about this particular event as we continue to attract new women. We are experiencing the highest pre-registration numbers so far and I believe it is due to the excellent programming and speakers like Dina Moskowitz.” Nancy said.

Also of importance is the fact that this year, Women in the Channel will have a presence on the show floor at the Conference.

“Our presence on the show floor really represents the growth and influence of the group in the industry. We’re more than just a cocktail hour, we are key players focused on creating impact in our industry and our presence on the show floor is an example of that.”

For this particular show, Nancy explained they will be highlighting the collaboration between different channels that represent telecom and IT.

“We believe that the clouds importance is bringing these two channels together and it’s really moving fast so we need to get serious about how we’re going to connect with the IT channel and how they can connect with us on the telecom side. So we asked a female leader in the IT side to be our special speaker at the event.”

SaaSMAX CEO Dina Moskowitz will deliver a keynote at the event which takes place Sun., March 15 from 5 to 8 p.m., to help prepare attendees in uncovering new business and career opportunities while successfully leading teams, customers and the channel through the cloud-based revolution.

Also at the event, Nancy noted they will unveil a new Angel Advisory program designed to help women get connected in the group quickly and for the first time introduce new board members.

“We have crossed the threshold and can now rotate our leadership. We believe that if this group is going to grow stronger, we have to be fresh and continually give other women an opportunity to be leaders.”

In the upcoming months, Nancy noted that Women in the Channel will continue to focus on expanding their outreach and will be working to connect with other women’s groups – so there will be more activity from a crossover perspective. Also the organization continues to see support from different organizations including GENBAND, Telarus, Microcorp and others, offering tracks at their partner events to support Women in the Channel. All these events encourage female leaders to get involved.

For women in the tech space especially, enrichment events like this are helping to accelerate the growth of female leaders.

“When you scratch the surface,” Nancy noted, “what we find isn’t pretty and our group is helping to accelerate the growth of females leaders …it comes down to helping, enabling each other.”

“In Women in the Channel we support each other as women. We create a safe place to talk about experiences within our organizations and how to properly deal with the inequalities still faced by women in the industry while keeping business in focus, and not making it a gender conversation.”

Just last week, on Women’s Day 2015, there was lots of buzz in the media and via social outlets about recognition for women. We’re also seeing lots of celebrities speaking out about equality for women.

“I love the fact that we’re seeing all of this, it really creates the conversation.” But Nancy cautioned it doesn’t create the change. That still has to happen in the individual women themselves.

“We all have to make a choice and commitment about who we will be in our daily lives and our workplaces. Not just as leaders in business but also as mothers, sisters and aunts. For those of us raising sons we can be responsible to show them how they can do it differently than the past; talking to them about women’s issues. We can also encourage our girls to pursue what they want, to ask for help when they need it and to believe that they are just as worthy.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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