Women of the Channel 2014: Best Career Advice I Ever Got

A Piece Of Advice

As many of the industry's top female channel executives gather this week in San Francisco for The Channel Company's inaugural Women of the Channel West event on June 11, CRN offers words of wisdom from attendees of December's Women of the Channel Winter Workshop in New York. Attendees were asked to share the best career advice they had received during their career. Here's a look at some of their responses.

Tricia Atchison, Symantec

Sr. Director, RTM and Channel Marketing

Do not underestimate the power of relationships. Relationships will be the foundation of all you do throughout your career. Everyone I know has gotten a job at one time or another because of someone they knew.

Brooke Cunningham, Qlik

Senior Director, Global Partner Marketing & Events

It's cliche, but it was to be myself. By being my authentic self, I brought my best talents forward to my channel, our customers, my colleagues and my team.

Chandra DuFrene, VMware

Director of Global Partner Marketing

The best advice I would give is to ensure you are clear on who is making decisions about your career. Those discussions happen behind closed doors, and there are many stakeholders involved. Make sure you establish a relationship with those stakeholders and provide them with perspective on you and your contributions (both near term and long term) so they can accurately contribute to the discussion about you.

Katie Dumala, Westcon

Chief Marketing Officer

Listen more, talk less and know when you closed the sale.

Lucy Graham, Carousel Industries

Director of Marketing

Network, network, network -- you never know who you'll end up working with or for in the future. All opportunities are what you make of them, so always make them count!

Shannon Kohn Mayer, LogMeIn

Channel Engagement Manager

"Fake it till you make it." In the past, I worried a lot about not being as technically inclined as everybody else, or not having enough experience in the channel to know what I was talking about. Then I listed to a keynote from a female channel leader, and she told us not to shy away or retreat from sharing our ideas. Just because I wasn't super-technical or was new to the channel, didn't mean I couldn't contribute and make a difference.

Wendy Petty, CA

Vice President of Distribution and Member Partners

Be who you are.

Meredith Scheraldi, Imperva

Director of Pathways Marketing

It was advice received as I was recently changing jobs: Don't be afraid of taking a risk and it's good to get outside your comfort zone, it helps you continue to grow and develop. It's easy to get complacent and not realize the full potential you have to offer. Find a coach and a mentor and sometimes it's someone you least expect that is your best advocate.

Janet Schijns, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Vice President - Corporate, Medium and Indirect Marketing

Focus on how you make a difference for your customers and your business and you will be perceived as having value. The awards, plaques and platitudes of your peers mean nothing -- results are what matters. Focus on that, and you will be a success.

Laura Shafer, StorageCraft

Director of Marketing

Never be afraid to speak up, but remember to listen first.

Kathy Shoop, CA

Sr. Director, Global Channel Marketing

There is no one you meet in life that you can't learn something from -- keep an open mind.

Jessica Yeck, Avnet

Vice President, Sales

Live outside your comfort zone! Also, be honest, brave and be your biggest advocate.

Victoria Zona, Raritan

Channel Sales Director

Learn to accept criticism and not take it personally. Use it as a way to improve and grow and not something to feel bad about. Find a mentor that is not someone you directly report to, as they can provide perspective that you might not get from someone so close to you. Set short- and long-term goals for yourself and decide what steps you need to accomplish to achieve them. Review and tweak these goals periodically as over time some things that seemed important may not be as important as they once seemed. Find a positive work/life balance.