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WOTC 2022: Here’s How Three Women In IT Invest In Their Tribe

CJ Fairfield

‘There is a deliberateness of finding your tribe and investing in that tribe,’ said Tricia Atchison, vice president of worldwide engagement and experience at Citrix Systems. ‘You don‘t want to be friends with everybody, but there is sometimes just a natural tendency to who you’re drawn to. It goes back to the values and back to things that you align on.’

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Meredith Scheraldi, Tricia Atchison and Jana O’Connor all have a long history together as they once worked for the same company. A relationship that started as colleagues quickly turned into a friendship and lasted years and years, even through career and life changes.

Atchison said before the pandemic they were all in the office, and even traveled, together.

“But we also operated a lot in the same way,” she said. “It was just important to us, the work that we were doing. I feel like having that commonality of how we worked and how we wanted things to be and what we wanted the outcomes to be really created a bond between us.”

And their work life has spilled over into their personal life.

“They’re embedded into my life,” said Scheraldi. When she was the first of the group to leave the organization, she was afraid of how it would impact their friendship. Surprisingly, their bond grew closer.

[Related: WOTC 2022: How To Turn Your Company Into A ‘Talent Magnet’]

“We’re there for each other in different ways as our career has progressed,” she said. “That may not have happened if we’re still working with each other.”

It was because they had shared values, O’Connor said.

The three women sat on a panel, titled “The Power Of Relationships,” held at CRN parent company The Channel Company’s Women of the Channel conference in New York City this week.

The panel, which focused on tapping into your network of people, was moderated by Jacquie Rives, WOTC community leader at The Channel Company. The panelists included: Scheraldi, director of North America marketing for Exclusive Networks; Atchison, vice president of worldwide engagement and experience at Citrix Systems; and O’Connor, vice president of global partners and ecosystems marketing at Palo Alto Networks.

Being in the IT industry, it was easy to understand what the group of friends were going through or how they’re feeling.

“You guys can just have a day, or a moment, and call each other up and you don’t even have to get the backstory leading it all up to it,” Rives said. “You guys are all experiencing this being in the same industry where maybe our friends outside don’t understand.”

And that requires effort, O’Connor said, adding that it’s important to be intentional with the time given to others. Being vulnerable and feeling comfortable asking any question without judgement is also key.

“I think that‘s also how you continue to grow and evolve your friendships and relationships by putting yourself out there,” she said. “You don’t know you need your network until you need your network.”

In return to getting out there, mentorships and menteeships may happen, and they can take off in different forms, said Atchison.

“There is a deliberateness of finding your tribe and investing in that tribe,” she said. “You don‘t want to be friends with everybody, but there is sometimes just a natural tendency to who you’re drawn to. It goes back to the values and back to things that you align on.”

For Scheraldi, she tries to play professional matchmaker with new people in the industry. She makes it a point to introduce someone new in the space to an IT veteran so that they can learn and grow into their role.

“It’s important to me that I had that so I try to give that back,” she said.

Atchison echoed that. Almost every job she has ever gotten was because someone recommended her.

“Never underestimate the power of your network,” she said.

Tammy Healy, head of worldwide business innovation for AWS Marketplace, believes it’s always important to pay it forward.

“I‘ve been in the professional sales channel for a very, very long time, and there’s always these people that really gave you a bit of themselves to help you move forward,” she told CRN. “I feel very strongly that that‘s my job now, to help bring up those who will come after and help with whatever they could possibly need.”

CJ Fairfield

CJ Fairfield is an associate editor at CRN covering solution providers, MSPs and distributors. Prior to joining CRN, she worked at daily newspapers, including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey and The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. She can be reached at cfairfield@thechannelcompany.com.

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