WOTC: Execs Share Pearls Of Wisdom On Self-Promotion, Leadership And Brand Building

CJ Fairfield, Gina Narcisi

‘Leadership is so much more than the traditional corporate hierarchy,’ says Alexandra Matthiesen, chief marketing officer for Pillr. ‘I believe leadership is a mindset. It’s how we show up for others and it’s something that’s truly accessible to everyone no matter your person, personality or role.’

(From L-R) The Channel Company’s Jacquie Rives, Pillr’s Alexandra Matthiesen, Eaton’s Stephanie Durden and CSG’s Elizabeth MacEwan

With leadership comes responsibility. And while there are many ways to lead, it’s always important to take care of yourself and others around you.

Leadership, creating the right mindset and a healthy environment for a team were common themes at CRN parent company The Channel Company’s Women of the Channel Summit West in Palm Springs, Calif. this week.

The conference, which was attended by more than 500 women, focused on a host of soft skills, and some technical skills, for women to harness and bring back to their teams to promote and continue healthy work environments for all.

“It’s all about growth and development,” said Stephanie Durden, partner community marketing manager for power management firm Eaton. “Not just for your career, but also for your personal life to improving your communication skills to learning more about profit and loss to learning more about health and wellness. There’s just so much information, so many resources…just a huge toolbox that we as women can really, really benefit from.

“Potential and support… we need it,” she added. “If we’re in a position as a leader or just as a teammate, let’s make sure we do that for others around us.”

Being a leader means being your best self, which means taking care of personal, mental, emotional and professional well-being.

Executives from a host of IT companies, including BMC, Eaton, Amazon Web Services and PartnerTap, took to the stage at the event to share their stories and advice to inspire others.

From seeing potential in others to psychological safety to self-promotion, here are some pearls of wisdom from women in the channel to put your best self forward to benefit you and others around you.

Pam Johansen, AVP of Solution Sales Group and Ecosystem Operations, BMC Software, on self-promotion

It’s tricky for women to talk about their abilities for many different reasons. In a workplace, we tend to be judged more harshly than men. Sadly, the research suggests that, in fact, it’s the women that are actually the ones that are deeming women, the ones that actually self-promote, as unlikable. Combine this with the good girl conditioning that we have in the country, it tells us that anytime that you try to self-promote, you are full of yourself. And then a lot of women out there like myself, that when we talk about our accomplishments, it might come off as bragging or arrogance. Before you can self-promote, you have to take care of yourself and understand yourself first before you can self-promote.

Melissa Majors, speaker, coach, and CEO of Melissa Majors Consulting, on labeling emotions

I’m preparing [because] I’m going to be on one of the biggest stages I’ve ever been on in my life I feel feeling and sensation in my belly. My heart rate is higher. And my blood pressure is up a little bit. Here’s the cool thing: the physiological reaction to anxiety is exactly the same in excitement in our bodies. Using [your] mind, you can label what [you’re] feeling. Label the emotion. If I choose to label it anxiety, in my preparation days leading up to this event are going to be negative. I’ll avoid it, I’ll procrastinate, I don’t want to be around or even think about it, as it is a negative feeling. Whereas if I label it excitement, I’m going to lean into it. I’m going prepare and spend more time on how to perform better. The beauty is, we get to label our emotions, and it’s such an important concept.

Jasmina Muller, chief ecosystem officer of PartnerTap, on building your brand 

Brand awareness is out there with any company. As you’re at the company that you’re with you’re like, ‘OK, now we’ve got to change with this. We’ve got to have a brand around it.’ Well guess what? You’re also a brand you’ve got to change alongside with what’s going on out there. And I thought to myself, ‘How the heck am I going to do this? What do I do? What’s my brand?’ I started learning more about partner ecosystems. I’ve learned more and more around how they work with all the different companies. I thought, ‘How am I going to do the same?’ You’re literally going out there and every time you’re going to a different company, you’re going to the next step. I’m always looking for the new technology, that differentiator that’s going to make my career move. That’s your brand. I went from telco to UCaaS to critical event management and then just most recently to AIOps. Then I thought about it, it was always the same. It was with my partners. I built that brand. They followed me, and they kept coming. This is exactly where we as women in the channel have to differentiate ourselves. We have to take a look at how the technology out there is changing and what are we going to do to be a part of that change, but one step ahead, not following but being the leaders that we are.

Alexandra Matthiesen, chief marketing officer for Pillr, on leadership as a mindset

Leadership is so much more than the traditional corporate hierarchy. I believe leadership is a mindset. It’s how we show up for others and it’s something that’s truly accessible to everyone no matter your person, personality or role. I need to be willing to go first. I want to create environments where people feel that they can show up day over day as their authentic person where they can deliver on behalf of the organization as their authentic person. And when they start and close each day, knowing that they will be cared for and respected and valued as that authentic person, for me that is leadership.

Stephanie Durden, partner community marketing manager for Eaton, on seeing potential in others

It’s about recognizing that everyone has a greater potential. Where we are today is not where we can be tomorrow or next year. As a leader, we need to help the people on our team to be the best that they can be. We need to make sure that we see the potential and help pull out those qualities. Potential and support… we need it. If we’re in a position as a leader or just as a teammate, let’s make sure we do that for others around us.


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