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Mother, Daughter Share Insights On Two Generations In IT

At the Women of the Channel West Leadership Summit 2021, Aruba Networks’ Channel Chief Donna Grothjan and her daughter, Katie Grothjan, digital marketing manager for solution provider giant Ingram Micro, shared their experiences as women of two generations in IT.

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What were the biggest barriers from when you first started as a woman in the channel compared to now?

Donna: Some of them are still the same. We think about high tech, how fast the market moves, and how many new companies are being developed every day, I think one of the things that still holds us back sometimes is this view of when opportunities presented themselves, we still feel like, if I can’t do that job 100 percent, then I can’t apply for it. When you think about the explosion of technology, if we’re not really willing to … pursuing something that maybe you’re 50 percent qualified, there are a lot of others who are essentially willing to step up and take those positions. I do think, in general, from woman in channels perspective, sometimes we’re not willing to go after that opportunity where we should, and we should be willing to take those chances. When you’re talking to your friends, there’s so much that you know about your job and [IT], and so it’s really just kind of going after that opportunity and feeling like: “You know what? Why not?”

Katie: From my perspective, it’s more like: “What barriers?” I obviously know the statistics. I know women face a lot of challenges in tech. But I was lucky enough to grow up with a strong leader as a mother, who has taught me that if you assert yourself in the same way a man like in the business world, then you’re not going to experience these challenges. If you find a seat at the table, if you ask responsibility after that, and ask for that raise, you’re not going to experience those barriers.

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