Local chapter of nonprofit, Alliance of Channel Women, uses book club selection to help give women tools to flourish in their tech careers and in life
DES MOINES, IA – October 3, 2019 – When Anne Kolbo from Technology Source received the book How to Be a Woman in Technology (while Focusing on What Matters Most) she went straight to Chapter 17 to read what Nancy Ridge, co-founder of the Alliance of Channel Women (ACW) and Founder and President at Ridge Innovative, had to share. Nancy has mentored Anne over the years and has been her role model as she’s developed her own brand as a woman in tech. “But then I couldn’t put the book down and devoured every chapter,” says Anne. “I also noticed that the book was coming into conversations that I was having every day with other people, so that inspired me to launch a book club with How to Be a Woman in Technology as our first selection.” The book club is open to all—both ACW members and non-members—and participants meet virtually each month via phone with a final meeting that’s both virtual and in-person.
This is an unusual twist on the concept of a book club,” says the book’s author Cheryl O’Donoghue who is an ACW member and book club participant. “The ACW book club members are the heroines, along with the women featured in the book, and our shared experiences drive the plot line. We are all contributing to the story of being a woman in tech today and writing new life chapters, together, as we forge ahead.”
In the first session, the book club members discussed chapters they enjoyed and what resonated most with them. The second session got even more personal as they discussed their own journey as women in tech, pivotal experiences and best advice received and given. For the final session, the ladies will meet in person (some will join virtually), have a wine tasting event and share their experience putting into action a self-development exercise created by O’Donoghue to help participants focus on what matters most in their life.
Other women featured in the book have also dropped in to participate in the book club and share personal- and career-focused ideas and insights with the group including, Nancy Ridge (noted earlier); Rebecca Rosen, VP of Marketing at Broadvoice (Chapter 16); Amy Bailey, VP of Marketing at Telarus (Chapter 12); Jean O’Neill, VP Channel at Cyxtera (Chapter 3) and Raquel Wiley, Senior Channel Marketing Manager at TPx Communications (Chapter 8).
“Launching this book club is a career highlight for me,” says Anne. “I’m getting so much from hearing the other women speak. It’s very inspiring.” One of the women who shared her experience with the book was Megan Michaels who had just finished her summer internship with Technology Source. Megan grew up surrounded by leaders in technology who just happened to be women, including her mother, Christine Michaels of TPx Communications and Ridge, a longtime family friend.
Inspired by her role models, Megan decided to read the book for her senior-year project and discussed it on a panel in front of her class. She warned her classmates in advance that they might not find the book interesting because it’s about technology and women in technology, specifically, but she wanted them to know it was interesting to her and why. “I was surprised by their reaction because everyone else had fictional books that were cool and interesting and I’m sharing this real-life book, but it caught everyone’s attention, especially the boys,” says Megan. At the end of the panel discussion, the majority of questions were directed to Megan as her male classmates asked if the book helped her realize that technology was the right path for her and if she has a better understanding of how to be a woman in technology.
“Men are major contributors to our journeys as women in technology, to be sure,” says Cheryl. ‘I love that the book is helping us have meaningful conversations with women and men. We all benefit from sharing an inside view of the challenges and opportunities women face as well as ways we all can support one another and play positive roles in the future of our industry.”
Those interested in participating in the last book club session on October 10 (virtually or in-person) can still sign up even if they haven’t participated previously. Contact Anne Kolbo at email@example.com for information.
Established in 2010, Alliance of Channel Women is a not-for-profit organization of women who are in leadership, ownership and revenue-generating roles in the indirect sales channel of the telecom and IT industry. Alliance of Channel Women brings all people together to empower and advance women’s careers and leadership roles in the technology channel. To learn more and to become a member, please click here.
All royalties earned from book purchases of How to Be a Woman in Technology support the charitable work of Mission Sisters Who Work. Mission Sisters provides women self-empowerment books, programming and scholarships needed to take charge of their lives and close their own gender, opportunity and pay gaps. The book is published by Amazon KDP Direct. Take advantage of promotional, lower pricing now extended through the end of the year—softcover $11.99; Kindle $4.99. ISBN 978-1795357999. Visit cherylodonoghue.com for more information on the author and her books.
About the Alliance of Channel Women
Founded in 2010, the Alliance of Channel Women (formerly Women in the Channel) is a not-for-profit organization of women in the indirect sales channel of the telecom and IT industry. The Alliance of Channel Women brings us together to empower and advance women’s careers and leadership roles in the technology channel through education, community, advocacy and opportunities for personal growth. To learn more and to become a member, please visit www.allianceofchannelwomen.org.
Mission Sisters Who Work