While most new jobs can feel like a proverbial baptism by fire, Rose Marcello’s first foray into the channel was a baptism by binder.
“There are many, many acronyms in IT, so thank God I was given a binder that I studied day and night with all the acronyms. And I had some amazing, amazing people mentor me there,” Marcello told CDN in an interview from Vaughan, Ont.
‘There’ was Ingram Micro, where Marcello got her very first job in the channel. That was back in 1999 when she joined the company as vendor marketing manager. Today, she’s the senior partner marketing manager at VMware.
On Tuesday, Marcello was inducted into CDN’s Women in the IT Channel (WITC) Hall of Fame along with Nancy Kierstead of Bulletproof, Noémi Labelle of ITI and Joanne C. Wilson of The Trainer’s Advisory Network.
At the same virtual event, Wilson was named Mentor of the Year and Pallavi Ramdanchani of Cognizant Microsoft Business Group was named Rising Star of the Year.
Although Marcello’s route to the hall of fame featured detours into other industries, she’s now firmly established in the channel community and already nurturing the next generation of young women in IT.
Marcello never envisioned herself working in technology.
“I was curious about technology but always felt I wasn’t ‘techie’ enough,” she recalled.
After graduating from Humber College with a degree in event management, she worked in sales and marketing at Rogers Communications before getting that first aforementioned channel job at Ingram Micro. She spent eight years there before becoming channel marketing manager at Samsung Electronics.
That was followed by roles at Air Canada Vacations, a marketing agency and a construction design firm. In 2014, Marcello made her way back to the IT channel by taking a position at her current employer, VMware.
Changing the channel
Looking back on the 22 years since she entered the channel, Marcello said attitudes toward diversity and inclusion have changed in the sector since she started her career.
“Many, many years ago it used to be a checkbox for HR. It was on a website for the (corporate) values. Where the change has come is that leadership has taken a more accountable role,” she said.
Marcello cites a recent virtual meeting with VMware colleagues as an example of how that leadership begins at the top.
“We had our CEO put up a slide and he was congratulating some of our engineers. While he congratulated them, he (said) one thing that stands out for him is that there are no women on the slide, and he said ‘That’s going to change’.”
As proof of VMware’s commitment to change, Marcello pointed to the company’s establishment of employee group pods for women, people of colour, workers with disabilities and LGBTQ staff. For this year’s Pride Month, VMware’s CIO hosted a virtual chat with Dan Levy, the star and creator of Schitt’s Creek who has become a Canadian icon of the global LGBTQ community.
“Dan Levy came on and spoke about that and had discussions about the challenges of his journey. But there was also levity, right? Because sometimes that helps, that brings a lens to things. Employees want to know that management has truly bought in and that it’s authentic because it’s transparent,” Marcello said.
Marcello’s proudest career moment? She said it’s actually made up of several moments involving careers that aren’t even her own.
“I do have young people and others that are turning to me as an advisor or as a mentor. That means I’ve done something, I’ve made some impact somewhere,” she said.
Marcello didn’t say if her mentoring efforts involve handing young channel newbies a binder full of tech acronyms. But she believes the channel has a bright future ahead, as IT plays a critical role in keeping the world connected and productive both during and after the pandemic.
“So many organizations are changing the way they work. People want to work from home. They’re being productive at home. So how can we enable that for our customers and for their employees and do that seamlessly? So I’m excited for what’s to come and looking forward to working with our partners and our other vendors as we drive business forward.”