Friday, March 22, 2013

SMB150 + Women in Technology = Bright Future

I am honored and privileged to have been nominated and awarded a second year in a row for the SMB150! Over the past several months, hundreds of IT professionals from around the world have been engaged in the SMB 150 Channel Influencers contest. The SMB 150, which is a collaboration between SMB Nation and SMB Technology Network, declaring the third annual SMB technology channel's list of its 150 most influential members.  

"I encourage everyone in the SMB channel community to join with me in recognizing and celebrating the winners of this year’s SMB 150," said Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation. "Each individual whose name appears on this esteemed list has strived to ensure that our SMB community is one that will continue to thrive and succeed. I am beyond excited to toast them at the awards dinner on May 4 in Redmond."

The following is the list of esteemed winners: 
Aaron Booker
Abhijit Chatterjee
Akash Saraf
Alan Helbush
Alan Schrater
Alan Weinberger
Alex Rogers
Ali Din
Allen Miller
Amy Babinchak
Amy Luby

Andy Goodman
Andy Harper
Anurag Agrawal
Arlin Sorensen
Arnie Bellini
Ashutosh Tiwary
Austin McChord
Barbara Dove 
Bill Hole
Bob Godgart
Bob Nitrio
Bob Vogel
Brett Jaffe
Brian Burch
Brian Laufer
Brian Sherman
Carl Mazzanti
Carlos Fernando Paleo da Rocha
Carlson Colomb
Cecilia Galvin
Charles Weaver
Chris Amori
Chris Bangs
Chris Chase
Chris Sterbenc
Christy Sacco 
Cindy Bates 
Cliff Galiher
Corey Simpson
Curtis Hicks
Dan Tervo
Dana M. Epp
Dave Sobel
David Bellini
David Johnson
David Spire
Debi Bush
Dina Moskowitz 

Dona Keating 
Ebrahim Keshavarz
Ed Correia
Elvis Guštin
Eric Ligman
Eric Townsend
Frank Ernesto
Frank Gurnee
Gary Pica
Greg Starks
Herman Pool
Hilton Travis
Howard Cunningham
Ian Moyse
Jacob Braun
James Foxall
James Kernan
Jamison West
Jan Spring
Jane Cage 
Jason Coffer
Jay Epton
Jay Ferron
Jay McBain
Jeannine Edwards
Jeff Middleton    
Jeff Ragusa
Jeremiah Ilges
Jerry Koutavas
Jessica Devita 
Jim Sterling
Jim Turner
Joe Hillis
Joe Panettieri
John Krikke
Josh Freifield
Justin Crotty
Karen Guarino
Kate Hunt 
Keith Nelson
Ken Edwards
Kenneth May
Kevin Royalty
Larry Doyle
Larry Schulze
Larry Walsh
Lawrence Hsu
Len DiCostanzo
Leonard Dimiceli
Linda Brotherton
Mark Crall
Mark Hicks
Matt Makowicz
Michael Jenkin
Michael O'Connell
Michael Reuben
Michael Siggins
Michelle Ragusa 
Mitch Garvis
MJ Shoer
Nancy Hammervik 
Nancy Williams 
Paul Dippell
Peter Sandiford
Philip Elder
Praerit Garg
Ramon L. Garcia
Ramon Ray
Rayanne Buchianico
Richard Kenyon
Richard Tubb
Rick Bahl
Rob T Rae
Robb Patterson
Robert Cohen
Robert Crane
Robin Robins
Robyn Davis 

Scott Barlow
Scott Scrogin
Scott Wharton
Shari Godgart
Steve Harper
Steve Noel
Steven Banks
Steven Cullen
Steven Teiger
Stuart Crawford
Stuart Selbst
Suresh Ramani
Susan Bradley 
Ted Hulsy
Ted Roller
Thomas Fox
Tim Barrett
Todd Thibodeaux
Travis Austin
Vince Tinnirello
Vlad Mazek
Wayne Small
Zak Karsan

Twitter, Facebook,Google+, LinkedIn and Blogs have been a buzz with the excitement and congratulations of joining this esteemed list.   As Jay McBain, co-founder of ChannelEyes (and my fiance) stated  in his most recent  blog"We are thrilled to be in the company of such well-respected professionals".  As am I, but there is a certain group who really make me proud to be in their company.  As you might have noted, I have highlighted (proudly in pink) 23 extraordinary names which stood out to me.  As I sit on the Executive Council of CompTIA's Advancing Women in IT, it is always a privilege and an honor to see those hardworking women in our community represented for their excellence.

In my blog last year,  Chic and Geek,  I took a look at the amount of women represented in this and various other awards and lists, as nominees and winners.   Statistically, women make up approximately 10 % of the IT Industry.  Although I know we (as women) represent a minority in the IT community, I was surprised to see how few women make up the percentage of leaders and influencers in the IT industry. 

Awards Gala recognizing the SMB150 2012 Winners 

On a high note we can see the since it's inception in the 2011 SMB Awards we have seen a rise, and diverse amount of women represented in nomination and recognition over the past three years.   In 2011, 13 women won the SMB150 award (8.6%), 20 won in 2012 (13.5%) , and 22 as of 2013 (15%) ; thus female representation in only a few years has almost doubled!  Now that is a powerful and wonderful step in the right direction. 

A huge kudos to the  community vote, and esteemed panel of industry experts consisting of Harry Brelsford, (SMB Nation); Karl Palachuk, (Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc.); Josh Peterson, (MSP Score); Dave Seibert, (IT Innovators); and Dan Wensley, (Level Platforms), evaluated each nominee based on a pre-established criteria, on the recognition of such wonderful and diverse list of men and women on this years award recipients. 

These days the media is on fire with commotion of and by women.  Marissa Mayer's calling home (or firing) her remote work force - my two cents were written in my blog, Why Cisco got it right, and Yahoo got it Wrong! .  Next came Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, author of the newly published book "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead", which caused a lot of controversy, and praise.  Supporter or not, one can celebrate that it once again opened the conversation of Women in IT and their advancement.

Recently after reading Sheryl Sandberg's book and speaking to her, our Cisco CEO John Chambers had some revelations.   John Chambers always felt that he and his executives were doing a good job creating a positive working environment for women.  Now, Chambers said, he realizes there's more work to be done at Cisco, and for our more than 70,000 employees worldwide.

"While I have always considered myself sensitive to and effective on gender issues in the workplace, my eyes were opened in new ways and I feel a renewed sense of urgency to make the progress we haven't made in the last decade," Chambers wrote in an internal email after sitting down with Sandberg. "Without realizing it, we operate every day with gender stereotypes and biases, many of which we do not realize. After reading 'Lean In' and listening to Sheryl, I realize that, while I believe I am relatively enlightened, I have not consistently walked the talk." Jeffrey Burt of eweek reported to the outside world.

Padmasree Warrior- Cisco 
Although I have always been proud to work for Cisco, and especially John Chambers- there is a certain level of pride I felt by his recognition and announcement... and now, more than ever, I can say I am honored to be a part of this company and his vision.   Cisco's Chambers said in his email—obtained by the newsite AllThingsD—(I of course received my copy internally ;)) that his company needs to do a better job creating a working environment where women can flourish and rise up the ladder. Cisco has several top-level female executives—Padmasree Warrior, the company's CTO and chief strategy officer, for example (who I highlighted her inspirational panel discussion in my blog Happy International Women's Day!), and Rebecca Jacoby, CIO and senior vice president of the IT and Cloud and Systems Management Technology Group—but it can do better, he said.

Chambers noted that less than 25 percent of Cisco employees are women, and 20 percent of the 1 million students at the company's networking academy are women.  Yet he recognizes this and seeks to create more opportunities for women within Cisco.  "I believe we—together—need to drive a fundamental culture change and it is up to us as leaders to make this change happen," Chambers wrote. "What we have been doing hasn't worked, and it is time to adjust."  

Technology is the very essence of growing and adapting to change.  Seeing esteemed leaders such as John Chambers, my personal Cisco inspiration in my career, and esteemed organizations such as SMB150 rise up to meet the changing times makes me proud to be a part of this technology industry.  Working on the Executive Council of CompTia's Advancing Women in IT has been a privilege and an honor.

Last week at CompTIA's Annual Member Meeting we had the opportunity to have 7 young ladies from the Chicago Tech Institute (all young high school girls dressed in their adorable uniforms, bright eyed and bushy tailed for our 7 am breakfast meeting).  They were engaged, open, and listening deeply to the round table discussions and inspiring and gripping panel Cisco's Michelle Chiantera, Senior Director of America's Partner Marketing, and Betty Grogan- AVP, North American Channel Engagement at Ergotron.  At one point one of the young ladies had to ask, "I am sure everyone already knows, but what IS a glass ceiling?"  Well my dear, I hope you never have to learn except in definition.  I hope the leaders of today continue to fortify the paths which have been blazed for me, and we will continue to clear those trails for you.

At the end of the discussion, their Executive Director Matt Hancock (who happened to be a man) said, "I know this is for the Advancement of Women, but I have learned so much from today about how to improve myself, I certainly will have to  attend next year.  Matt explained the goal of their HS is to close the gender gap in technology.  He had been working with some of the girls for three years, who reluctantly thought a career in technology was "too hard and not for them"...  Until a few hours with us.  With pride one of the girls said, "I was wrong, I think there are a lot more opportunities in tech then I realized, and you can still be cool and in technology".  Well kudos to us on that cool vote, and even more so that we helped showcase how wonderful a career in technology truly is- for men and women alike!

If we helped make a difference in the course of one, or maybe even all seven young girls lives, we are on the right track.  It starts with one, "The confidence and optimism that you’ll hear in our young girls’ voices is the confidence and optimism that you’ve helped instil" stated Matt Cook.  Thank you to SMB150, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Cisco's John Chambers, CompTIA's AWIT, and all of the organizations who work to educate, and inspire the youth of America, and the world.   Thanks also to the men and women in a position of leadership who have not forgetten where they came from, and take the time to "reach down and lift someone else up" stated eloquently from Blair Christie, Cisco's SVP,CMO WW Government Affairs on International Women's Day.  It is through ongoing open dialogue  mentorship, recognition and support, we can change lives, we can change the future. 

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