Women Of The Channel: My Female Role Model

Who Is Your Female Role Model?

CRN's Women of the Channel have proven themselves exceptional during the past year. But even exceptional people still have role models. These 20 women reveal their female role models and the impact they've made on their lives.

Andrea Thomas, Director, Channel Development, Adtran

My grandmother emigrated from France after WWI with my grandfather, and together they established a highly successful French restaurant located in Cambridge, Mass. She made many sacrifices for her family during the post-war years, and continued to run a highly successful operation after my grandfather's death. She was indeed a woman before her time, and was my first view of a woman in business that was able to balance her life during challenging times through hard work and dedication.

Audrey Baker, Vice President, Global Channel Strategy, CA Technologies

Susan Schramm because of her ability to lead a team to drive amazing results, deliver heavy content in a fun and very effective way, her ability to communicate with everyone at every level and her professionalism.

Michelle Chiantera, Senior Director, Americas Partner Marketing, Cisco

The speech Queen Elizabeth gave to her troops to defend their country from the Spanish invaders is extremely powerful. Her approach is the definition of leadership from my perspective. Her choice of words to demonstrate she is with the troops, not the distant Queen. Her body language, especially when she comes down from a platform and walks among the troop brings credibility and sincerity to her words. She bleeds passion for her country and for the people. We can all take a page from Queen Elizabeth's book.

Heather Wilcox, Channel Marketing Director, Rugged Mobility, Dell

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. In addition to being an advocate for civil rights, she coined my favorite saying: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." A family member gave me a plaque with that saying on it when she graduated from college and it remains on my desk today. This saying is true in all facets of one’s life, not just business. If you can dream it, you can accomplish it. I tell my children that every night when I kiss them goodnight.

Frances Harrington, Manager, IT Eastern Channel Sales, Eaton

My mother is still my role model. She went back to college later in life and earned a PhD while raising six children. No one I have ever met quite matches my mother’s unique blend of intelligence, devotion to family and community, and perceptive guidance. Amazingly successful and yet supremely grounded and compassionate, my two daughters also truly represent the level to which hard-working, bright women can achieve. Kate is in medical school at Yale University and has authored ground-breaking research that benefits women dealing with drug addiction and poverty. Julie thrives as an international financial analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Cindy Tregoning, Senior WW Channel Programs Manager, F5 Networks

My current female role model is Marissa Mayer. To be president and CEO of a Fortune 500 company at such a young age is an inspiration. She worked her way up through various roles to become an executive at Google before being appointed CEO of Yahoo. Marissa shows that women can balance their personal lives with high-demanding jobs successfully.

Gail Wilson, President, GWA Business Solutions Canada

Katherine Hepburn when I was young. She is so strong and definitely did things in her day that were completely unheard of to women. My mother. She was a homemaker but taught me to be strong, don't take no for an answer, and most importantly to be caring. It is okay for women to be all these things. She recently passed away, and it is amazing when someone is no longer there how much you realize that they did for you. She was very organized, strong and respectful. These are three traits you need to be successful.

Amber Theeuwen, Marketing Manager, Americas, Hardware.com

Betty White. I know this sounds crazy that I am only 27 looking up to a 90-year-old role model. What I love about Betty White is that she clearly loves what she does for a living. She lives to work—not the other way around. If I could love what I do as much as she does at her age, then I would consider my career a success.

Glynis Bryan, CFO, Insight

My mother -- I am who I am because of her. I grew up in Jamaica, where they had very different roles for young men and women. My mother was also a finance professional. She taught by example -- problem solving, values and ethics. A few of her principles: you can accomplish anything with hard work and determination; treat everyone as you’d like to be treated; pride goeth before a fall. I didn’t fully appreciate her influence until I went off to university and discovered I had a core value system -- which is still the core of who I am today.

Sharon Alt, Director, North American Channels, Distribution, Intel Americas, Intel

Meg Whitman. She talks about motivating partners to innovate, invest and create new solutions and markets that ultimately benefit all players. At Intel we have similar motivation and focus for developing new markets. It is very important for channel leaders to adapt and shape changing environments, create new opportunities and solutions as well as form new relationships with customers and partners.

Jennifer Viens, Director, Alliances, Microsoft

Hillary Clinton. I believe Hillary has shown so many aspects of the endurance it takes to drive success across of multitude of roles. As a wife, mother, businesswoman and politician, Hillary has accomplished the ultimate goal of raising a family and maintaining a highly successful career and public profile. I know she is regularly critiqued; however, her success and continued drive to push forward an agenda of greater good outshines discourse opinions.

Jessica Baker, Global Director, Partner Program, Progress Software

At the risk of repeating myself, Sheryl Sandberg is my current role model. I'm sure I'm not alone. If you consider yourself a powerful woman of the channel, then Sheryl's book seems to be requisite reading these days. She is someone I can look up to and model my trajectory after. If you haven't read her book, go find it now!

Lydia Smyers, Group Vice President, Worldwide A&C, Communications, Oracle

There are many females in my life that have contributed to my professional and personal development. As a working professional, my mother demonstrated how I could successfully balance career and family. My sister-in-law Karen Smyers, professional triathlete, cancer survivor, motivational speaker and super mom, has also been an outstanding role model.

Victoria Zona, Channel Sales Director, Raritan

Grete Waitz. She is a Norwegian runner who won the NYC marathon nine times -- more than any other woman. She did this back when marathoners made very little money, and women marathoners even less. The sheer tenacity, planning and preparation it takes to train just to complete a marathon, let alone win what is considered the most prestigious marathon in the world nine times, is amazing. After her success in marathons she went on to give to others using her fame to promote the Special Olympics and Cancer Charities. She passed away in 2011 of cancer at 57.

Martha Stuart, Director, Americas Marketing, Global Channel, Sophos

My female role model is Melinda Gates, who through her foundation’s work is teaming up with partners around the world to take on crucial development projects to improve the well-being, health and education of millions of people.

Camilla Mason-Jones, Director, Marketing, StillSecure

Wendy Nather is the Research Director, Security, at 451 Research that takes her responsibilities very seriously, while making everyone’s day that she comes into contact with. She has a very demanding job that involves significant travel, speaking and deep knowledge of the security industry, something that is evolving almost daily. Yet she always has a smile on her face and makes everything look effortless.

April Petty, Senior Director, Field Account Executives, Synnex

Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She is a dynamic and strong woman who offers real-world advice to other women in the channel.

Amanda Thompson, Data Channel Marketing Manager, Americas, Tandberg

The Unsinkable Molly Brown - Margaret Brown. She became famous due to her survival of the Titanic and insistence on returning to look for survivors. She is less known for her incredible role as a philanthropist, championing the rights of workers as well as education and literacy for women and children. In order to prove she was equal to the other "society" ladies, she immersed herself in the arts, became fluent in four languages and ran for the U.S. Senate. She did all of this while being a barrel of laughs and all around fun.

Laurie Usewicz, Vice President, Channels, SafeNet

Oprah Winfrey. The truly inspiring thing about Oprah isn't her bankroll, but what she does with her time and money. A generous philanthropist and a crusader for human rights, Oprah has used her celebrity to better the lives of millions.

Dee Dee Acquista, Senior Director, North American Channel Sales, Websense

One of my closest friends, Tara Lewis, who also happens to be president of Heyco Energy. She is amazing. Takes on everything, does it well, and makes it look easy.