Women Of The Channel: She's My Role Model

It All Starts With Mom

"Thanks, Mom."

That was, without question, the most common sentiment among all the Women Of The Channel applications when asked to name their female role model. Many women cited Mom's dedication to her family, as well as her efforts outside the home, as the main reasons they look up to her.

Other female role models that our top Women Of The Channel look up to are impressive as well; Mom is in good company. In fact, we start off with a queen.

Elizabeth Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I, 1533-1603

"Queen Elizabeth is my single most powerful female role model. I’ve read many books about her life, in all its phases, from Henry’s young daughter, 'Bess,' to the powerful and cunning monarch. How interesting it would it be to have her as a mandatory study for all women.

If I could have a private audience with anyone in all of history, I would pick her."

-- Valerie Belli, VP, Canon Business Solutions

Gail Evans, Former CNN Executive VP

"In addition to writing, She Wins, You Win: The Most Important Rule Every Businesswoman Needs to Know, Evans is also a columnist, writing articles on women in the workplace. I heard Gail speak at a Cisco Women’s Forum, and I gleaned so much from her talk, as well as her book. She asserts that you have to create your own rules to win in the game of business, because the rules of business were made by 'the boys.'"

-- Mary Campbell, VP of marketing, D&H Distributing

Madeleine Albright

"Politics aside, Madeleine Albright made a name for herself for always speaking her mind and her tough negotiation skills. Her strong convictions served her well with her male counterparts across various cultures. I respect that she was able to use humor, through broaches and pendants that communicated to her colleagues where she stood on issues. She was a strong stateswoman and is an educator with a strong purpose."

-- Mary Catherine Wilson, Sr. Manager Channel Marketing, Dell

Admiral Elizabeth Hight, Vice Director Of The Defense Information Systems Agency

"Hight graduated Magna Cum Laude from Huntingdon College in 1974 and joined the Navy in March 1977. She is a proponent of professional development, personal development and life balance. She is known as one of the best leaders in the federal high tech marketplace -- and happens to also be my aunt."

-- Theresa Marie Caragoi, VP Global Alliances & Partners, Ciena Corp.

Kristin Van Ogtrop, author and editor of Real Simple Magazine

"Van Ogtrop's book, Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms For The Half-Insane Working Mom, offers a great reminder you can have the best of both worlds -- work and family…but don’t take yourself too seriously."

-- Lori Commessor, Head of Worldwide Service Provider Channel & Managed Services, Juniper Networks

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, Astronaut

"Mae C. Jemison was the first African-American woman in space (September 1992). Something Jemison said has inspired me: 'I had to learn very early not to limit myself due to others’ limited imaginations. I have learned these days never to limit anyone else due to my limited imagination.'"

-- Dawn Duross, director, Public Sector and Technology Solutions Partner Organization

Michelle Obama, First Lady

"She is professionally accomplished in her own right and as First Lady shows incredible poise in every situation and under any circumstance. She is a great role model for all women, from professionals to stay-at-home moms."

-- Karen C. Falcone, VP Global Channel Development, SunGard Availability Services

Dara Torres, Olympic Medalist

"Dara Torres has been a role model for me even before I entered in to high school. As a competitive swimmer myself, Dara impressed me both in and out of the pool. Her work ethic and ’superwoman’ swimming talent always brought gold medals, even at age 17, when she won her first. Since her first gold medal in 1984 she has accumulated nine Olympic medals with her last being at the age of 41 in Beijing. Dara is the first American to compete in five Olympic Games and the oldest to qualify for the games at age 41.

The amazing part about Dara’s story is that she was not only able to focus on her swimming career, but she also succeeded in a professional career as well as being a mother. She was able to juggle her vigorous swimming and professional schedule while raising her daughter.

As I follow Dara Torres’ life, it continues to provide me with inspiration to follow my dreams and overcome any obstacles that may be in front of me."

-- Ashley Graham Flaska, VP marketing, NEC Display Solutions

Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister

"She really paved the way for the many important women we now have playing key roles in government and business today."

-- Julie Cullivan, SVP, Worldwide Field Operations, McAfee

Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, Humanitarian

"There is one woman whom I do quote frequently, Eleanor Roosevelt. Her lifetime body of work and accomplishments are still impressive today, even though during her era women were not positioned as equals. Her words, 'It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness,' always reminds me that one person can make a difference."

-- Sonia St. Charles, CEO, Davenport Group

Meg Whitman, eBay Founder, Republican Candidate For California Governor

"I think it is amazing to see how she is transitioning her leadership experiences as CEO and technology innovator into a political career."

-- Colleen Courtney Kapsse, Sr. Director, Global Partner Strategy and Solutions, VMware

Anne Mulcahy, Former Chairman And CEO, Xerox

"Anne came into Xerox and boldly made changes, taking a business that was suffering and making it new again. Her ability to see inefficiency and remedy it is incredible, and has done remarkable things for her business."

-- Laura Kelleher, Director, Americas Channel Marketing, Honeywell

Susan Nokes, Former Chief Customer And Operations Officer, Of T-mobile, Now At Asurion

"Nokes grew her career from the ground up -- from a customer service rep to her rise to COO of a telecommunications giant. As a woman in technology, I greatly value and admire her ability to continue to be personable and not abandon her caring, feminine side in order to be successful. Throughout her career, Nokes has taken time to truly know the people who work for her. As a result, she has developed great loyalty among them, including my husband, who has worked for her for many years. Nokes has [frequently] been on Fortune’s ’Most Powerful Women in Business," yet she still makes time to stay involved in outreach programs for underprivileged families and youth. I have tremendous respect for her combination of professional drive and generosity of spirit.

-- Kendra Krause, VP Channel Sales, Fortinet

Christiane Amanpour, TV News Reporter

"She’s smart and knows how to get things done and manage stress. She can still make it happen even when the bombs are falling around her (literally and figuratively)."

-- Susan Reynolds, Director, Marketing Programs, Americas Imaging and Printing, HP

Deborah Goslin, Former SVP Of Business Development At Platinum Technology

"About 10 years ago, I worked at Platinum Technology (top 10 ISV) which was acquired by CA in 1999. I worked for Deborah Goslin, SVP of Business Development and she was the queen of Partnering. She was a total driver, fantastic communicator and a pro on negotiations. She set high standards for me and I learned a great deal from her."

--- May Mitchell, VP, Partner Marketing, IronKey

Maya Angelou, American Writer And Poet

"She is a role model to me for the inspiration she gives to women of all ages. She didn’t let being a single mom stop her from pursing her passion and her life is proof that anyone can do it all. Maya Angelou unselfishly shares what she has learned with women around the world by giving women more self-confidence and a can-do attitude."

-- Cheryl Day Neal, Director, Marketing, Technology Infrastructure Solutions, Avnet

Sonora Dodd, Founder Of Father's Day

"My great grandmother is Sonora Dodd. She was an artist and free-thinker at a time when women ’just didn’t do that." She was raised by her father and decided that fathers needed a day honoring them just as mothers did. She worked tirelessly to push the holiday forward despite initial lack of acceptance and even ridicule. She believed in her ideas and never wavered from them."

-- Betsy Roddy, Director of Field Marketing, D-Link

Barbara Walters, First Woman Co-Anchor Of A Network Evening News Program

"She's a role model as it relates to her relentless drive for success, her communication abilities and what she had to overcome to 'make it,' in addition to her longevity in a tough field."

-- Brenda Stallings, CEO, Matrix Integration

Diane Greene, VMware Co-Founder

"I admire Diane Greene, who co-founded VMware. She’s a smart woman, who developed industry-changing technology, took it to market and started a small empire. She rode the wave for a very long time."

-- Nathalie Marie-Claire Turner, Director of Marketing & Vendor Relations, Wayside Technology

Vicki Escarra, CEO Of Feeding America

"Escarra started as a Flight Attendant at Delta Air Lines and worked her way up to be CMO. I reported to her while I was Managing Director for Delta Air Lines. She is gifted in so many ways. Most notable to me was her ability to read a room and guide them toward her thinking and her ability to inspire large groups of people toward an end. She was a senior female leader in a male-dominated industry. She handled it with toughness, yet grace. She retired from Delta and went on to make a HUGE impact on this world with Feeding America. I can only dream that my local non-profit, Open Hand, can have such an impact some day."

-- Jacqueline Yeaney, PGi, Chief Marketing Officer

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