Each of the women on this list is powerful in her own right, but many of these women recognize that an even greater strength lies in the power of numbers.
Take Inacom CEO Laurie Benson, who has set it motion a major nationwide initiative to expand the Make Mine a Million $ Business Program. The program, launched in 2006 by the non-profit Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence group, provides financing, mentoring, marketing, technology and other resources to women entrepreneurs. The group's goal: to help one million women entrepreneurs reach annual revenues of one million by 2010.
Benson learned about the program through Cisco, a sponsor for the group, which had asked her to host a panel it was sponsoring for women business owners. In true entrepreneurial fashion, Benson recognized that the program, which is currently run at the national level, could also be expanded on a state-by-state basis and she approached the head of the organization with her idea.
"I was so impressed with what they were doing and I thought what would happen if this took place on a state-by-state level and instead of being a one-time event, it became an ongoing sustainable effort, where we link all of the resources available in the state to this program, " Benson says.
Benson now sits on the group's board and this spring ran a pilot version of the program in Wisconsin, which was so successful that the group has decided to expand at the state level.
Benson is the first to tell you she is not alone in her efforts to unite women; in fact, there is a groundswell of women's programs forming throughout the channel.
Cisco's Luanne Tierney, senior director of North American channel marketing, for example, has formed an initiative to unite women throughout the company's channel business. As part of the initiative, Tierney hosts an annual event that draws women from all ranks within Cisco's channel group to network, form mentoring relationships and learn from experts in communications and branding.
While vendors are formalizing such groups inside companies, other grassroots efforts are springing up among women across the I.T. industry.
Angela Trillhaase, with Meridian Group, for example, is heading up one such group. The group's mission: to champion the advancement of women in the technology channel of distribution through education, networking, recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving IT channels arena.
Now, that's a mission the entire channel should embrace.