These Channel Women Mean Business

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Profound impact wasn't the intention of the VARBusiness Women of the Channel project. When we launched it last year, we thought about building a community of women who work in the channel and recognizing the achievements of vendor and solution provider leaders who make significant contributions to our industry.

But the project did have a profound impact. The 50 Most Powerful Women of the Channel caught the attention of the Japanese brass at Hitachi Data Systems when Karen Sigman, the vice president of global channels, was among the 20 vendor channel chiefs to make the list. The company used Sigman's recognition to infuse a global development and support program for the women working at Hitachi.

Other women who made the list report similar experiences, to greater and lesser degrees.

IT remains a male-dominated industry. But times are changing; women are holding higher-level positions and leading the charge in channel field operations, product development and channel program management. Numerous women are either at the top of or have strategic positions in high-performing solution provider organizations.

Last year we recognized the contributions of 50 women: 25 solution providers, 20 vendor channel chiefs and five distribution executives. Among those inducted into the freshmen class were Michele Clery, president of ProSys Information Systems; Anna McDermott, president and CEO of Access Distribution; Laurie Benson, CEO of Inacom Information Systems; Janet Wood, senior vice president of global partnerships at Business Objects; and Allison Watson, corporate vice president of worldwide partner group at Microsoft.

VARBusiness remains committed to recognizing and elevating the contributions of women to the IT channel. For our sophomore effort, we've revamped the process for selection by creating a nomination process. We want you to nominate the women you work with -- vendors, solution providers, distributors -- for inclusion on the prestigious list. Who better knows the contributions and impact women have than you?

VARBusiness will publish the top women online and in our print issue on Aug. 20. We'll also recognize three outstanding women at XChange '07 in Orlando, Fla., with our new Woman Channel Executive of the Year, Woman Solution Provider of the Year and the VARBusiness Women of the Channel Rising Star awards.

Glass ceilings and gender bias still exist. The women of the channel work tirelessly every day to not only break those barriers, but to make them irrelevant and help the whole industry focus on what's important: delivering high-quality IT goods and services. Nominate a deserving woman of the channel today.

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