Janet Schijns: Is It Time To Push The Reset Button On Your Career?

Aug 11, 2015

Don’t miss Janet Schijns, one of the industry’s most dynamic channel leaders, who will be the keynote speaker for the Women in the Channel Networking and Enrichment Event during Cloud Partners, a Channel Partners event. The WiC event will be held from 5-8 p.m., Sept. 15, in Room 102 at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center, Boston. (Click here to register.)

As vice president and chief marketing technologist for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, Schijns and her team are responsible for understanding vertical and segment technology issues across varying geographies and identifying key enterprise solutions that meet their unique business needs. She also manages the award-winning Verizon Partner Program (VPP). Prior to joining Verizon in 2010, Schijns was vice president of enterprise and government business at Motorola, and before that, founder and CEO of The JS Group, an international consultancy firm.

WiC interviewed Schijns to get a preview of her remarks on the topic, “CTRL+ALT+Compete: Take control of your career. Alternate your approach. Compete to win.”

The title of your presentation seems to be a play on CTRL+ALT+Delete, which is the PC key combination for interrupting tasks in progress usually when one is “stuck.” Is that the case?

You are correct. “Ctrl+Alt+Compete” is all about the play on words of Ctrl+Alt+Delete. I chose this because I think as female leaders we all need to take a minute, stop and think about how we reset our careers. Think about it this way, when you hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete you get to that wonderful “task list” and if things are taking too long you can actually stop a task or restart a task. Shouldn’t we all do the same with our career plans from time to time? After all, the world has changed and that goal you set a few years back may be obsolete, frozen, or just need a reset to get you going again.

What are the top 3 takeaways you hope Women in the Channel will take from your presentation?

1. Take control of your career plan — 4 tips to get to your dream role while still making top dollar
2. 6 Alternate approaches to reaching your goal that should be considered based on what is actually happening in the technology market (spoiler alert: the share economy is a key area)
3. What to stop doing right now — 5 things I believe hurt women in technology and how to stop doing them

When you were still in grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A social worker

What would you tell your younger self now about the path you chose?

The technology I have created, been involved in creating and that our channels create every day actually help more people than I ever could have being a social worker, so it turned out exactly right!

What was your first job in the tech and/or the channel? How did you like it? How did it lead you here?

My first job in tech and the channel was when I started my own consulting firm and I loved it from day one. My expertise was go-to-market in B2C and enterprise firms, and I parlayed it into consulting for tech firms that were trying to break through and sell their solutions in new ways. That led to my consulting for Symbol/Motorola and eventually joining Motorola as a VP, which of course gave me the fantastic opportunity to be the chief marketing technologist for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. I can truly say I learned “on the job”!

You have been a strong advocate — as well as a shining example — for women in tech and women in the channel. Can you share something that you learned during your career that has helped you to excel in a male-dominated industry?

First of all, thank you — I have a passion for helping women succeed in tech and the channel. Here is a story I hope will resonate with everyone — learn to tell your story in the way your audience needs to hear it. As a female when I first got into tech I would go into rather long-winded stories to make my point. What I found was my female peers and team members loved it that, but frankly I felt that my male counterparts seemed to lose the thread. I was at an event and Will Harris (an exceptional consultant in his own right) told me, “You know men like to read the headline and then decide if they want to hear the news — maybe try that with this group,” and it changed my impact for the better!

Is there anything that you would have done differently during your career or advice you learned too late that would help women following in your footsteps?

Yes, I would have gotten a financial adviser sooner — at the start of my career. Financial advisement is for every stage of your career even when you first start out, and I think I would have managed my finances better if I had known that much sooner!

You have a daughter who graduated from college this summer. What advice did you give her?

Yes, Ashlyn graduated this year and is going on [to study] for her Masters/PhD [degrees] in History. My advice to her was to take her love of gaming (e.g., Xbox, etc) and marry it with her love of history and see how she can bring them together to engage the next generation of learners. After all, everything will be technology soon so she might as well get on board now!

In your opinion, what are the best opportunities for women with careers in the IT/telecom channel?

I think IoT (M2M), security and applications are great growth areas for women to look at for their future development.