Channel programs News

The Channel Company Launches Women Of The Channel Europe Event

Gina Narcisi

The Channel Company, CRN's parent company, is bringing its popular Women of the Channel Leadership Summit overseas.

The first-ever Women of the Channel Europe event, being held in Barcelona, Spain, from Nov. 9-10, will unite women executives from IT vendors, distributors and solution provider organizations across Europe for a day and a half of learning, inspiration and networking.

The mission of the Women of the Channel Summit Series is to provide a platform for women in the IT industry, particularly those involved in indirect sales, to confront the myriad challenges they experience. The Women of the Channel Europe event is open to women across all career levels and job roles within European IT organizations and is being held at the Melia Barcelona Sarria Hotel in Bacelona's city center. Attendees will find a mix of motivational speakers, interactive workshops, peer-led panels and sessions, as well as ample time to build relationships with one another.

Women are still under-represented in leadership roles within the IT industry and in the channel, today holding only 9 percent of management positions in IT organizations, according to the Center for American Progress. This number leaves plenty of room for change and highlights the need for more empowerment and support for women, said Lisa MacKenzie, The Channel Company's senior vice president and partner.

"There is an underserved need for women leaders in Europe to connect in a forum like this," MacKenzie said. "This event is about leadership, connections, professional skill development and personal growth, and is geared toward women across Europe who are looking to have meaningful conversations with peers."

Diversity in the workplace is a global issue, said WOTC Leadership Summit Advisory Board Member Janet Schijns, vice president of global channels for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

"Women in Europe and around the world need a place where we can build and nurture relationships in a way that feels comfortable. We need venues where we make the rules, and space that empowers us. Events like WOTC do just this -- provide a forum to drive innovation and a sense of community that produces better results," Schijns said.

Women of the Channel Europe will include content that addresses hot-button issues facing Europe today, such as the difficulties in doing business across multiple countries and having a staff that is spread across several countries, MacKenzie said. The content will focus on being an effective leader while navigating through issues that are unique to Europe right now, she added.

The European market is much more geographically fragmented with disparate employment and business laws, which make doing business in Europe more complex, according to Schijns.

"I expect the attendees will be very interested in how to manage diverse cultures and leadership skills," she said.

The Women of the Channel Europe event will kick off Nov. 9 with a cocktail and networking party, followed by a day of keynotes by bestselling authors, noted motivational speakers, channel partner panels, and various skill development breakout sessions on Nov. 10.

Speakers will include Rita Clifton, author, branding expert, and former chairman of Interbrand, and Helen Rutherford, founder of Lead A Market, a well-known channel marketer and consultant who works closely with solution providers and channel-focused vendors.

Also keynoting at the show will be bestselling author and entrepreneur Sahar Hashemi, who co-founded the popular U.K.-based coffee bar chain Coffee Republic.

"Women working in the channel create a powerful community that can drive the industry and our respective businesses forward," Verizon's Schijns said. "I'd like to see women use this time to build personal career plans, develop their network of women in channel, and learn skills to help them continue to advance their career."

In addition to its latest WOTC event launch in Europe, The Channel Company went live with its Women Of The Channel Online site geared toward supporting women in the IT industry in August,

On the horizon is the Women of The Channel Leadership Summit 2016, which is being held from Nov. 30-Dec.1 in New York City.

Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at

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