Shannon Orr, National Channel Manager at AVANT, was one of four women to receive the 2020 Alliance of Channel Women LEAD Award recognizing exceptional female leaders in the tech channel. The fourth annual LEAD Award winners were honored at a ceremony during the ACWConnect Live! virtual event on Thursday, Sept. 17.
“Alliance of Channel Women started the LEAD Awards four years ago as a way for our members to recognize the female channel leaders who we look to as role models and advocates for women in the channel,” said ACW Board Member Michelle Kadlacek, Chair of the Awards Committee and Vice President of Channel Partner Program at Spectrum Enterprise. “Shannon was selected by the ACW Board of Directors as one of only four women to receive this award. She is in rare company and we are grateful for her continued inspiration and leadership.”
Orr began her professional career with AVANT in 2011 and supports national partners in helping trusted advisors and clients navigate a marketplace of more than 500 providers. Orr also co-chairs AVANT’s charity initiatives, organizing fundraisers and events for regional and global charitable organizations. Additionally, she serves as co-captain for the Alliance of Channel Women’s Chicago Chapter, having grown the group from four to 75 over the course of a year. She is originally from West Philadelphia, graduating from the University of Toledo in 2011.
ACW interviewed Orr about her journey as a female leader in tech and the future of women in leadership.
Who is the woman who showed you how to lead the way (e.g., your role model)?
My role model is my boss and Vice President of AVANT, Jen Gallego. She is really a human version of superwoman and does it all! It has been amazing working for AVANT and feeling so supported by our leadership over the years. Jen is one of our founders, and I have worked for her for almost a decade. It’s crazy to think how far we have come! Jen is extremely disciplined, and I think that is a huge reason she is able to do so much in one day. She has taught me the value of doing things not quickly but efficiently, and how powerful teamwork is in that process. It’s never just one of us succeeding, it is all of us succeeding because we help each other so much along the way. Jen has taught me that it’s not just about succeeding in business but making sure your family is No. 1. According to Jen, when everything in your life is balanced, success in business comes easy because you have built a great support system to help you get there.
What are you doing to lead the way for other women in the tech channel today?
I love leading the Chicago Chapter of ACW with my right-hand gal Cindy O’Connell! We have grown the Chicago Chapter so much over the past 2 years and have really brought the organization to life in the area. I work in an ACW event at all our big national AVANT events, and the support of AVANT to make sure we put women in the spotlight has been a great platform for supporting and recognizing the women in the channel. I love to work with girls who are graduating from college, looking to get into tech, and are looking for mentors in this space. I ended up in channel really by chance, and I want to give back to the girls looking for a helping hand that says, “I see you, I support you and I will help you accomplish your goals.” Giving back to the younger generation is so important to me. They are our future!
What is one thing we could accomplish that would most benefit women in the tech channel going forward?
That is a good question and kind of a hard one! I don’t think one thing makes a difference necessarily, but a lot of little things do. I think success is reached step by step and not with a giant leap. I would love to see everyone do one thing in their community or workplace to support women in the channel! There are so many options out there like attending or hosting an event (virtual or otherwise), or reaching out to a woman in your company to say, “I appreciate you, I want to help, let’s get together and brainstorm and talk business,” and asking her questions such as, “How can we help each other, or get your office together to support a charity?” These outreaches make everyone feel good and advance women collaborating together to make a difference, in or outside of the workplace. Even if it feels like a charity has nothing to do with women in the channel specifically, just working together and spending the time to make a difference builds the energy and momentum to keep growing together and this is where success is born.