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The channel is about the promotion and distribution of technical solutions, but for Vicki Thomson, the most vital part of the channel is people.
And as the chief people officer at New Signature Canada since 2015, people has been a large part of what she does on a daily basis. Helping people grow in the industry has been her greatest accomplishment in the channel, she told CDN.
“There are so many different types of roles that we all play in the channel, but I think that, through my career, I’ve grown to the point where I think my greatest contribution is the people that I’ve helped develop to be successful in their own careers,” said Thomson in an interview. “I am motivated by people. I’ve worked in the technology industry for a very long time, and my career has always ended up focusing on helping others be successful and to find opportunities with other channel partners, really developing relationships and seeing success for individuals.”
As someone with a long and successful career in IT, which includes six years at Microsoft Canada, Thomson said she knows how daunting it can be for women to break into that industry. One must be fearless, she indicated.
“I think a lot of us, particularly women in technology, need to be thinking about being fearless. For me, being fearless is really about being open to opportunities, listening and understanding and then trying to apply that to what you’re trying to accomplish for yourself, for your team, for your customers, and for your other business partners,” explained Thomson. “It’s not about being afraid and thinking of fear as an opposite of being confident. It’s just about being open to change and open to ideas and really growing together.”
Victoria Kay, who has worked alongside Thomson since she began at New Signature, said she sees Thomson as someone who exemplifies that fearlessness, noting it’s all about being your most honest and authentic self, and standing up for others in their times of need.
“Vicki is such an authentic person. She has a unique ability to give her true opinion, but be very kind about it,” said Kay in an interview. “She’s also a great defender of people’s differences. She does that for everyone. She has the ability to see into a person’s core and really understand where they’re coming from, pull out their real messages, and help them work together.”
While Thomson said she has seen great progress in the gender issues in the IT industry, she does see a long way still to go.
“From a gender perspective, I still think we have some work to do. It was rare when I started to be a woman in technology,” said Thomson. “It’s not as rare now, but I think that’s something that we in the channel should be doing and challenging ourselves a little bit more in terms of embracing women and the power of women in technology to do great things.”
In an industry that was not always so open to women working within it, Kay says Thomson was key to helping her ease back into the workplace after her maternity leave, something that their company did not have a policy for before then.
“When I came back from having my children, I didn’t want to come back full time. And that was new in our company,” said Kay. “And Vicki was absolutely supportive. She helped me bring that in and kind of start that policy. I think without that I probably wouldn’t have come back.”
Thomson says she hopes her induction into the Hall of Fame can help inspire other women to do great things in the channel.
“Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is overwhelming. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to actually be representative of a whole group of women that do amazing things in the channel every day.”