110% + 110% = Exhausted

For more than five years, Everything Channel and CRN have been publishing a list of influential women serving in channel roles for vendor organizations and distributors and those running or leading VAR organizations. The list is a great touch point for how the channel has evolved and grown.

The channel traditionally has been a male-dominated industry, but women are making their mark. Whether it’s Julie Parrish, who helped build Symantec’s channel and then moved to NetApp; or Luanne Tierney, first at Cisco and now at Juniper; or Cindy Bates of Microsoft, these women -- and hundreds of others -- have put a very different face on today’s channel.

While we appreciate the opportunity we have, there are certainly strings attached. Every choice we make at work has a consequence in all aspects of our lives. Our Women of the Channel talked about the struggle for work/ life balance. Many feel blessed by a supportive husband and/or a network of other family members and friends who help keep it all together. Others on the list said that family activities and exercise were ways to destress and put the demands of work into the proper perspective.

And while the joys of family can help, the honest truth is we’re frazzled. We can try to put 110 percent into everything but quite often feel as though we are one step away from having it all fall apart. I have a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, and I certainly struggle with work demands and being available for my children. There are days when I am super mom and can juggle it all (and I am pretty impressed with myself, I have to admit). Then there are others times I am afraid that I am going to scar my children for life. Sound familiar?

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A field sales channel executive at VMware has tried to tackle this disconnect in a book she is publishing next month called “The Working Woman’s GPS: When the Plan to Have It All Leads You Astray.” JJ DiGeronimo argues that while we believe “having it all” will make us feel happy, instead many women feel disconnected and empty. Instead of gauging success with words such as “balance” and “perfection,” we should focus on richer words and concepts such as “inspiration” and “energy.”

A mother of two, JJ found that writing about these issues was her inspiration. She created a Website (www. purposefulwoman.com) and during the past two years has written this book in the wee hours of the night when her deadlines were met and her children were tucked in bed, arguing that women today need to redefine “the plan to have it all.” I aim to embark on the exercises she details in the book, which you can buy in August on Amazon or via her Web site.

I can’t deny that I am pretty tired most days, but I am also so happy to be part of a generation that can be challenged and fulfilled with work and experience the joys of family. And I am blessed with an incredible husband, amazing parents and circle of wonderful women in my life. I want to live a life of inspiration and fulfillment. It is certainly a journey and not a destination.

As part of that journey, our list’s Dane Moorefield from Siemens summed it up best: “Throw in an amazing posse of BFFs and a little merlot and I can face most any challenge.”

BACKTALK: Kelley Damore is VP, Editorial Director for Everything Channel. You can reach her via e-mail at [email protected].