By Gina Kennedy
Edited by Ethel Klein and Khali Henderson
As a WiC member, I’ve seen so many great things happen in our organization. Not only women supporting women, but genuine care for one another. As I reflect back on my time at Channel Partners Evolution in Washington D.C., I am more grateful than ever to be a part of such an amazing organization.
While in D.C., my WiC sisters and I had the opportunity to be Angels (mentors) to women veterans through a joint initiative with Channel Partners, BCMOne and the Women Veterans Interactive. This was a high honor for me personally. For those of you who know me, you know what an important part US Veterans play in my life. My father served, my father-in-law served, not to mention several cousins and my brother-in-law. Moreover, my son Connor is an officer in his high school ROTC program and planning to attend the United States Air Force Academy in 2018. It’s an understatement, to say that I have a special place in my heart for those who are serving and those who have served. Everyday I think about the veterans who gave (some all they had) and those who are still giving.
One of the women veterans I met was Marilyn. After speaking with her, I quickly realized she was smart, articulate, technical and highly qualified to work anywhere she chooses. Marilyn also gives back. She founded an organization for women of color who aspire to hold positions of leadership in the corporate technology arena but face challenges due to the stigma of “being a woman,” especially a woman of color.
Wow! She is someone who served her country, who loves technology, who has leadership and marketing skills and gives back. Yet, she also is looking to WiC for advice on her transition back in to the corporate world. My first thought was to hire her on the spot. Then I remembered this meeting wasn’t only about getting Marilyn a job. The original intent was to talk about how our respective companies handle gender diversity in the workplace. And that we did. We also had the opportunity to discuss in detail what Marilyn really wants in her professional life and the challenges she and others she knows face. And you know what? It’s NOT ok.
So, of course, in true WiC fashion, we all lifted her up, made suggestions, offered mentorship and LISTENED as she shared. What started as a gender diversity discussion turned in to and amazing opportunity to LEARN from someone that we assumed would learn from us. She is someone who WILL land an amazing job, someone who WILL lead people and someone who DOES give back.
The best part? She is now a WiC sister. She joined our group and I am more than honored that she chose to be a part of such an awesome group of women, Women in the Channel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gina Kennedy-Toney is a member of the WiC PR Committee and the Senior Director-Marketing at Fusion, a cloud services company delivering solutions in Cloud Communications, Cloud Connectivity, Cloud Computing, and Disaster Recovery as a Service and Security to small, medium and large businesses. Ms. Kennedy and team are responsible for Fusion’s marketing objectives, to include campaign creation and tracking, advertising, social media, event planning and content creation.
ABOUT THE EDITORS
Ethel Klein is senior marketing manger for Fusion and a member of the WiC Web Committee.
Khali Henderson is senior partner with BuzzTheory Strategies, a WiC Board Member and Chair of the PR Committee.
Photo Credit: Susie Soleimani Photography