The Alliance of Channel Women exists at the pleasure (and will) of our members. That’s why we love to learn more about members like Sandra Blettner in this recurring ACW member Q&A.
Sandra Blettner is a principal with Cloud Client Services at CDW, supporting government customers. She provides clients with guidance on how to align cloud services with IT strategies and objectives. Previously, Blettner was with AT&T where she served as a strategic business development manager for a variety of clients across various market segments. Blettner graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in electrical engineering. She regularly blogs on cloud via CDW Healthcare’s HealthTech Magazine and has been highlighted in publications such as Forbes and HealthcareIT News.
Who influenced you in your early years to become a leader in your own life, what did they do for you?
My parents have been great role models for me by leading by example. They emigrated from Taiwan to the United States in the 80s without knowing many Americans, and they spoke very little English. Though they struggled initially, they worked hard and sacrificed to ensure my sisters and I had a happy childhood. They encouraged all three of us not only to work hard, but also fostered our interest in math and science. Fun fact: all three of us are in a technology/science field. Another fun fact: I was named after Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, so you can imagine the type of household I grew up in!
What difficulty have you overcome that impacted your career for the better?
The biggest challenge I have had to overcome is probably my own self-doubt and lack of confidence to succeed. I’ve been a women in a male-dominated environment since my college days and even then I can recall struggling with thoughts like, “I’m not good enough or smart enough to do what the guys do.” Through mentorship, experience and encouragement from males and females alike, I’ve worked through the self-doubt. Through it all, I’ve learned to speak up more and humbly brag about the successes I’ve had. But perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is to be my own advocate.
Why did you join ACW and what do you hope to get from it and give back to it?
I joined ACW to meet other amazing women and learn from them and hopefully share my own experiences as well.
What advice would you give to someone new to the channel?
Meet as many people as possible and get to know their businesses.
Where do you see the women in our industry thriving?
I see women in our industry thriving in most places today! The encouraging thing is that most women I speak to, while outnumbered by males, are in supportive and encouraging environments where they can push themselves, grow and shine.
How are you positioning yourself to stay relevant and support your clients in the coming year?
I’m always learning, including from my clients. I will never be the cloud expert (no one is), but I am always willing to learn about clients and help them leverage technology to be successful.
When have you helped another women gain confidence and connection, and what happened?
I love connecting people together. It creates an environment of collaboration and creates empowerment for women to accomplish anything!
What can we do to prepare ourselves for the changes that are coming to our industry?
Always be learning and challenging yourself to be uncomfortable. For example, try something that one of my mentors encouraged me to work into my daily routine: spend 10 minutes every morning reading industry news, and research topics that are unfamiliar so you can learn. Every morning, in addition to reading my pop culture updates, I make sure to read industry websites as well.