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Women in the channel: The Human Network Effect

Cisco Canada's Trina Alexson and Rebecca Leach at the 2014 CDN Women of the IT Channel show

Toronto – Cisco Systems Canada executive leaders Rebecca Leach and Trina Alexson delivered a highly effective and impactful workshop at the CDN Women of the IT Channel Recognition luncheon.

The two executives called the workshop Women in the Channel: The Human Network Effect and it was developed to be fun, interactive and to bring about new ideas through storytelling and laughter.

There were many themes introduced by Alexson, the vice president of service delivery for Cisco Canada, such as uncivil work environments, sponsors, mentorship, connectors, personal branding and creating your own fan base.

Suzanne MacDonald, the director of National Accounts for Mississauga, Ont.-based Ingram Micro Canada, said that she sponsors a woman worker at the distributor.  She believes that sponsorship of a co-worker is integral to the success of the company.

“Someone in the company has eyes on me and is seeking me out. I sponsor a lady in the organization and I see her with customers, in the boardroom, and with employees. I speak to her about these things all the time. A lot of that is about what she brings to the table. I also say here are the next two things to do. I give her constructive critical feedback because I have invested in her,” she said.

MacDonald added that sponsors give visibility to that person and put the executive’s reputation on the line with the company saying that “I have invested in this person.”

Andrina Rose, the marketing and sales manager at Insite Computer Group, addressed the personal branding case study. Rose said that personal brands create a positive reputation at a young age because with social media now it travels with you.

“We as women are “we” people to friends, co-workers, and the team. We need to develop a “me” plan. What do I do for me? Focus on you and it may help you with your own personal brand,” she said.

Rose suggested that a personal brand should encompass these three elements:

  1. What are the words to describe a personal brand?
  2. What would others describe a personal brand?
  3. What are these words and what should they be?

Attendees agreed that one example of women with a personal brand is reality TV star Kim Kardashian.

In terms of being connectors, Leach, the director of mid-market programs and national direct integrator partners at Cisco Canada, told workshop attendees that a strategy she uses is to make sure her team has a mentor(s) at the company.

“Connect with someone. If you don’t want to make that cold call find someone who has that can help you,” Leach said.