Women in the IT channel: Corinne Sharp

There are few areas in business that Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) technology doesn’t touch. Couple that with the fact that Microsoft Canada’s only go-to-market route is through thousands of channel partners and you can see why Corinne Sharp has possibly the most challenging position in the high tech industry.

Click here to view Part One of our Women in the IT Channel slideshow.

Click here to view Part Two of our Women in the IT Channel slideshow.

It’s Sharp’s job to help thousands of solution providers and ISVs solve business problems with Microsoft software. Not an easy task, but Sharp has the background necessary to achieve success in this role. She got her start where many other Canadian IT leaders have: at Hamilton Computer Sales and Rental. Sharp got a job at the Calgary office as a sales rep and was the only female in the department. She said the only reason she got the job in the first place was that the hiring manager wanted a female on the team. “My first question to that was ‘why?’”High tech was something that Sharp was keen to do from an early age. Her father was the GM of Moore Business Forms and she has two older brothers in high tech as well. Sharp never looked at high tech as a male-dominated industry because she grew up in a male-dominated family.

“They would put me in goal with nothing more than oven mitts and fire pucks at me,” she said.

Working at Microsoft Canada is a great experience because it’s not about being male or female. “It is all about diversity in all areas. The focus is about having a group of people that can foster innovative thinking and greater collaboration. When you bring people in from different backgrounds you’ll get that,” she said.

At Microsoft, Sharp has been able to further diversity efforts such as Women in Leadership, Women in IT and Digigirls. “I want to encourage girls to think of high tech as an alternative career option because today all they see is a male dominated industry and they don’t have strong mentors the way I did with Pat Nielsen and Wendy Lucas. I was inspired by them,” she said.

Sharp has an interesting perspective of the next-generation of IT worker.

“The next-generation is far more tech savvy than many of us. They’ll go in and look at what they run and make decisions on technology easier.”

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN.

Follow me on Twitter: @PaoloCDN

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