Meet 2019 LEAD Award Winner Marcia Dempster

Dec 2, 2019

Marcia Dempster, Partner Business Manager at Armor Cloud Security, was one of three women to receive the 2019 Alliance of Channel Women LEAD Award recognizing exceptional female leaders in the tech channel. ACW LEAD Award winners were honored at a ceremony during the Alliance of Channel Women ACWConnectLive! Networking Event on Sept. 9, in Washington D.C. during Channel Partners Evolution.

“The LEAD Award is an honor given to women in tech who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation in the channel,” said ACW Board Member Michelle Kadlacek, Chair of the Awards Committee and Vice President, Enterprise Channel Partner Program at Spectrum Enterprise. “Marcia stands out as a leader in the channel and ACW recognizes her efforts with this award.”

Before recently accepting her position as Partner Business Manager at Armor Cloud Security, Dempster spent 15 years at CDW and five of them in the cloud practice as a team lead. She co-founded of the Women in Integrated Technology Solutions group within CDW and also participated actively in CDW’s Women’s Opportunity Network. Originally from Detroit and a graduate of Michigan State University, Dempster resides in downtown Chicago.

ACW interviewed Dempster about the past, present and future of women in leadership.

Who is the woman who showed you how to lead the way (e.g., your role model)?

I’m very fortunate to have a few of these!  When I started at CDW in Chicago 15 years ago, I didn’t know a soul. On my very first day, I met three women who are still some of my closest friends (and one is still a colleague) today!  Ashley, Beth and Michelle have supported me and propped me up at every turn. People might forget that your friends can be your mentors, too. It doesn’t always have to be senior executives or famous iconic women. I became friends with my very first supervisor at CDW, and while she is in a senior leadership role now, I always view her as a friend before I view her as someone far above me on the corporate ladder. Personal relationships have taken me far in my career, and it’s a practice I will always encourage.

What are you doing to lead the way for other women in the tech channel today?

I proactively founded the Women in Integrated Technology Solutions group at CDW.  Being one of 10 women in CDW’s cloud practice (of 100+), I am well practiced in the art of highlighting my own accomplishments in a very male dominated field. While CDW currently has a Women’s Opportunity Network, I wanted to create a specific space for women in Cloud to come together and share successes and challenges. Since its inception in August, we have hosted monthly roundtables that feature guest speakers like Lisa McLin, Vice President at Rackspace; Maria Sullivan, Vice President at CDW; Tatiana Sebby, Executive Account Manager and leading sales representative at 8×8; and Colette Trudeau, Executive Vice President at Spark Media.

What is one thing we could accomplish that would most benefit women in the tech channel going forward?

We could all work on one key thing: Don’t be shy! If you ever feel excluded, insert yourself into meetings, conferences, events, outings, etc. There are big personalities to contend with in this game, but most of the people I know and love in the channel are incredibly kind and thoughtful. Lead by example, earn the respect of your peers. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. Patience can be frustrating, but it always pays off. Head up!