Empowering Women In The Channel

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The theme at this year’s first annualWomen of the Channel West conferencewas ’Dream Big,’ a concept Avnet Vice President Cheryl Neal full embraces.

Neal is an IT veteran, having spent more than 20 years in technology, with 15 years in distribution. At Avnet, she currently works in networking and security product supplying, where her focus is on enabling the channel.

’The suppliers have phenomenal technology that they can take out and really solve business problems, but then to help make that consumable for our VAR partners -- at Avnet, we’re really looking to how to marry those two up,’ Neal said.

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She attributes her success at Avnet to mentoring programs, both formal and informal. Neal admitted she has not always been the courageous business leader she is today.

’Some of the challenges that I’ve faced are my own challenges, of holding myself back,’ Neal said.

Neal said the key in empowering women is in mentoring relationships.

’Not only am I mentored by some great leaders -- male and female -- I also mentor many women,’ Neal said. ’It think it’s about lessons learned, so that way they can take leaps and bounds ahead of where I’ve taken my role, and not letting them make some of the same mistakes and giving them the opportunity to shine.’