20 Scenes From CRN's Women Of The Channel West

WOTC Descends on San Fran

CRN publisher The Channel Company's Women of the Channel West event brought together more than 150 executives from throughout the industry for a daylong conference at the Westin Market Street in San Francisco. The day focused on networking, leadership and corporate and personal branding along with workshops filled with actionable advice on everything from social media to differentiating yourself in your career.

Click through to see scenes from the event.

Day Of Empowerment

The Women of the Channel West event focused on empowering women for its West Coast debut. There is a December event held in New York City.

The Day Begins

Jana Valenti, Symantec director of channel marketing, checked in for the conference. Attendee badges hung from a bedazzled lanyards courtesy of Riverbed, one of the event sponsors.

Giving For a Cause

Attendees had the chance to participate in a number of raffles. Prizes, which were handed out at the end of the conference, ranged from an Oakley grab bag to Tiffany & Co. jewelry.

Proceeds raised from the day -- totaling more than $2,000 -- went to Dress for Success San Francisco, which offers assistance to disadvantaged women.

Networking Breakfast

Introductions and business cards were swapped over coffee and muffins during the pre-conference networking.

Conversations got a kick start with pre-assigned talking points that ranged from strategies for work/life balance to challenges/opportunities working in the channel.

Making Connections

The breakfast networking topics gave way to quality discussions on many of the themes touched on throughout the day's workshops, panel and keynote presentations.

Event Swag

No event is complete without some freebies and swag was at a premium at the Women of the Channel West event. This included a nail polish-shaped highlighter from SanDisk.

Reading Material

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg's half memoir, half workplace strategy guide "Lean In" greeted all conference guests at their tables at the start of the day.

The book, courtesy of Riverbed, was the perfect summation of the themes that rounded out the day's event.

Attendees later in the day received a copy of Robin Fisher Roffer's "Make a Name for Yourself" courtesy of Avnet.

A Word From Your Sponsors

Sponsor tables, such as the one from Avnet, filled the networking lounge area throughout the conference breaks.

Let Go

Terri Griffith, author and chair of Santa Clara University's Management Department, offered this takeaway for her keynote address that opened the conference: lead by letting go.

Griffith focused on how letting go of old ways of leading, learning, mentoring and working can position executives to be more effective leaders.

Swimming With Sharks

Fail big to learn big, said Riverbed Vice President of Global Partner Programs and Marketing Operations Michele Hayes.

Hayes drew people in for her keynote with how she overcame her own fears of swimming in shark-infested waters for the annual Alcatraz Sharkfest swim -- an example of how embracing fears can help propel someone forward in life and in work.

Power Panel

A group of four executives took the stage for an information-packed discussion where they got candid and shared their own experiences and tips for how they succeeded in the workplace.

Panel participants included FirstRain President and Chief Executive Penny Herscher, Google Head of Channel Marketing and Programs Francine Geller, Symantec Director of Channel Marketing Jana Valenti and Laurie Evans, senior director of global partner programs and strategy and director of global partner strategy and operations.

Use Your Brain

The Human Factor Chief Executive Holly Green led one of the breakout workshops titled "Using Your Brain to Win," which stressed the idea of slowing down mental processes to focus before making decisions.

Green engaged her audience with a question-and-answer discussion and awarded brain-shaped stress balls to audience members who participated. She also led a few exercises to show how the brain processes information and makes conclusions.

Future Package

Luanne Tierney led a breakout workshop on how to stand out from competing talent beyond just being social media or tech savvy.

Tierney, founder of marketing company Luanne Tierney & Associates, outlined a 12-step strategy on how to compete and succeed in a constantly evolving workplace.

Round Of Applause

Conference attendees gathered after the breakout sessions for lunch and more networking. Past Women of the Channel nominees were asked to stand and received a round of applause from their peers.


Women of the Channel Power 100 and Solution Provider 50 honorees in attendance at the conference took to the stage for a group shot just before the networking lunch.

Get Confident

Lisa Marie Jenkins talked overcoming barriers to taking action during her session on the confidence gap between men and women. Jenkins talked about how having the confidence to take risks over a desire for approval can be a tool to climbing the corporate jungle gym.

A Little Fun

Someone addressed the ever-present women's bathroom shortage at the all-women conference with a minor adjustment to the neighboring men's room.

Serious About Social

Serious4Social founder Jackie Funk: Social media can be fun, but if taken seriously, can also be a powerful tool in growing a personal and corporate brand.

Funk's workshop outlined tips on effectively using social media by viewing it as a marketing tool beyond the normal function of a company's marketing department to engage and build upon a company's reputation. It can also be a valuable tool in recruiting quality job candidates, she said.

Get Happy

"What jazzes you?" Avnet Senior Vice President of Global HR Solutions Therese Bassett asked conference attendees. Her talk "Intentional Development of Your Personal Brand" looked at how important it is to have engaged and happy employees to maintain or bolster a company's brand. It requires a fresh perspective on what it means to be an employer and an understanding of "the whole person who comes to work," Bassett said.

The End

The Human Factor President and Chief Executive Holly Green was the final speaker of the day before The Channel Company Senior Vice President Lisa MacKenzie closed out the day.

Attendees then filtered out for more networking at a cocktail reception.