It took me a few days to think of the theme for my story when asked by the Women in the Channel (WiC) board to share it. In this spotlight I will share with you a quick story of how the teachers, influencers, family and friends have influenced why I am where I am today. First I ask of you to think of your own definition of ‘success.’ What does that look like from your prospective, for what I deem successful may not be applicable?
Most of you may not realize that I am from Jordan and moved to the US my sophomore year of high school. I frequently visited the US during summer breaks for family vacation, and ‘yes’ I spoke proper English and learned French while in school. I was born to two Type A, high achieving parents: my mom was an accountant and entrepreneur, managing a successful storefront and a workforce, while engaging local refugees in Jordan, while my dad is an environmental scientist with a PhD focused on underground water resources. Education was a must, and the golden rule was ingrained in us at an early age. I have two younger siblings that have excelled in their families and careers. I give you this brief history because we all have a story that makes us unique, that drives our authenticity. We all come from somewhere, and that foundation has shaped who we are today.
From a young age, I always wanted to give back, to provide a service. Going into nonprofits while going to school full time afforded me the skills and the foundation to serve in leadership positions influencing local, state and federal government in issues related to education. Described as “fearless” in the actions I’ve taken and decisions I’ve made, I learned at an early age that the choice is yours and only yours to determine what path you are going to take. That is true in all facets of life – family, career and community. After all, my dad always said, ‘today is a new day, and the choice is yours for what you want to accomplish in this gift of another day.’ Serving the education community caused a burn out that yoga and meditation couldn’t fix; hence, I made the decision to volunteer in the future and to move into the private sector, technology specifically. It seemed to be the only industry that had one consistent characteristic to describe it: change.
After changing from nonprofit executive to account executive, I found myself starting at the bottom. Where I once was running a board, budget and organizational strategic plan, I now took a substantial pay cut and bruised my ego to ‘carry the bag’ around the DC-metro region. I reminded myself that millionaires like Mark Cuban carried the bag at the onset of their careers. I also had to work on my ego, which can take over the mind with often negative results. I needed to heed my own advice and let go, dwell in the present moment, and start having some wins. So 9 months later, while other women give birth, I won my very first President’s Club and was tracking for a third promotion in what we know today as “the Channel.”
Oh the Channel, aka the dark-side, aka indirect, aka the easy sale…I needed an outlet, a group to which I can pay it forward and off-load some of the good karma that was happening in my life to others. What I found was Women in the Channel. I still remember walking up to the Las Vegas show and my first event thinking, ‘it is not too late to meet the ‘fellas.’ Instead, I was greeted with a group of women from all walks of life. It’s here that my WiC journey began, and the relationships I’ve made in a short time will last a lifetime.
After the Vegas show, I volunteered to be a speaker for the Webinar series, determined to give back. The universe, your spiritual belief, or your religious symbol, have a way of rewarding those who serve others. You may argue that in sales you are serving your customers, but in reality, sales is your job. Finding a solution for your customer is your job. Getting involved in your partner’s charity or organization is good karma. Getting involved in community organizations is service, of course without expecting any recognition.
Fast forward a year and I was honored to serve as a committee co-chair for the sponsorship committee of the organization I have grown to love. Today, I urge most women to join – not for career advancement, as a resume builder, or to enjoy the two events per year – but for the friendships, the mentorship, and the growth we have to achieve to leave a legacy and influence young women that want to get into the field.
I am humbled by the board’s request to be in the Spotlight this month. They have given me the ability to engage with you and to say this: let go of judgement, expectation and competition with yourself and others, dwell in the present moment and join us today, volunteer on a committee, engage in a webinar, or partake in a toast at one of our events. We are here to stay! I challenge you to mentor a colleague, encourage a partner, or even talk about our field to young women outside our industry. Not a member, then don’t wait until tomorrow, join or sponsor today – womeninthechannel.org.
And, if you serve today in a different capacity, then I thank you for reading the newsletter and for your service.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as a community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bana Qashu is the Senior Channel Manager of the northeast at Avant Communications, a leading master agency. She engages partners in an IT strategy session with their customers, and enables them to sell beyond their portfolio today. Bana volunteers as the co-chair, WiC sponsorship committee since July 2015, and is the founding member of The Meeting Yogi, LLC.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Morgan Granfield is the National Partner Development Manager for Birch, growing relationships with master agencies and their partner bases across the country through personalized training, partner appreciation events, and marketing. Morgan has been in various sales and training roles at Birch since 2012. She joined WiC in January, and is a member of the Event Planning and PR committees.