The Alliance of Channel Women exists at the pleasure (and will) of our members like Jean O’Neill Vice President of Channel at Cyxtera. That’s why we love to learn more about members like Jean in this recurring ACW Member Q&A.
Jean has more than 20 years of technology industry experience with deep expertise within channel. She was instrumental in building the channel programs at Rackspace, Terremark/Verizon and Involta. Additionally, she has counseled, mentored and delivered channel consulting to companies in their initial stages, laying proper foundations to insure successful channel/alliances programs.
O’Neill is a talented leader with a proven track record of initiating and building partnerships with high-growth companies in the managed services space. She’s especially effective at partnering with key stakeholders on both the company and the client side in driving alignment, growth strategies, solution development, pipeline acceleration and account penetration with service integrators and ISV partners.
O’Neill is an early and active member of of ACW and Cloud Girls. Known for her energy and initiative, as well as leadership qualities that inspire teaming and trust, O’Neill leverages those qualities to influence internal/external lines of business in driving revenue.
Who influenced you in your early years to become a leader in your own life. What did they do for you?
As the youngest of six kids and the only female, it was entirely up to me to forge my own path. Lots of bumps, bruises and missteps later, I’ve realized that this upbringing allowed for nothing short of leading my own way.
What difficulty have you overcome, which impacted your career for the better?
At 26 I was a single mom to a 3-year-old, working retail with no college degree. I made and fulfilled a commitment to attend college full-time while working full-time to support myself and my son. As a result, I changed the course of my career (into tech) and have never looked back. Although, I still have a huge passion for fashion!
Why did you join ACWand what do you hope to get and to give to this membership?
I joined so I could hang out with all the cool chicks, of course! It’s always been important to me as a female in a male-dominated industry to find and cultivate supportive relationships with other females in tech. If we don’t raise each other up, who will?
What advice would you give to someone new to the channel?
It’s a lot more work and relationship-driven than you ever imagined, but anything that’s twice as difficult is also twice as fulfilling.
Where do you see the women in our industry thriving?
I see women in the channel thriving in those environments that make the most of our strength, empathy, understanding and mostly forgiving natures.
How are you positioning yourself to stay relevant and support your clients in the coming year?
I’m staying relevant by staying connected to my partners, becoming their trusted adviser so they, in turn, can continue to cultivate their client relationships with the latest tech industry innovations.
When have you helped another woman gain confidence and connections? What happened?
I hope I’ve helped many, many times. I mentor many women in tech and am constantly striving to share my experience and wisdom to make their paths easier. That’s what us “old-timers” are meant to do. As for what happened, I’m hopeful I’ve enabled fellow female tech stars the opportunity to vent/learn/change/grow for the better.
What can we do to prepare ourselves for the changes that are coming to our industry?
Flexibility, relevance, persistence, consistency and self-awareness.