Women in the IT channel: Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy

In a way, Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, the vice-president of Westcon Canada, a subsidiary of multinational value-added distributor, Westcon Group Inc., has her dad to thank for her getting work in the IT industry.

“I was a Bell brat,” Smurthwaite-Murphy said. “My father worked at Bell and during the summers, I’d get a job there. I was working in the coin operating department where I’d gather coins in the telephones.”Soon after, Smurthwaite-Murphy said she landed a permanent job in sales at Bell and from there, held a number of different positions within the organization, including management and working with local area networks and cabling.

Through the years, Smurthwaite-Murphy said there have been “a lot of people” that influenced her career; however, she said she’s responded the best to the ones who are “open to listening to other opinions, other than just their own.”After spending 11 years with Bell, Smurthwaite-Murphy moved to Westcon, where she was hired on as a business development manager. In this role, she said she was in charge of developing new business and building accounts with Westcon. After about three months on the job, she said she was asked to take over the Toronto branch of Westcon because of her previous management experience.

“I held that role for two years and was then asked to take the whole country as the general manager,” she explained. “I did this for about five years and then was asked if I’d take on a North American role.

Recently though, we went back to regions and because the Canadian business was such a huge growth area for us, now I just focus on Canada.”Smurthwaite-Murphy says at Westcon, the company has a method of identifying those employees who display the greatest growth potential.

“Each business unit identifies the individuals that display the greatest potential and we give them opportunities and expose them to different parts of the business,” she said.

It’s also important to realize that besides skills-set and potential, Smurthwaite-Murphy says success is earned.

“Success is earned regardless of your gender,” she said. “For me, it’s a lot about respect and working hard. Sometimes being a leader is a lonely job and you have to be comfortable and confidant in the decisions you make. But above all, don’t take yourself too seriously and remember to have fun at work. You spend a lot of time at work and you need to be able to enjoy it while you’re there.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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