Every year in the June issue of CRN, The Channel Company publishes its Women of the Channel list citing the professional accomplishments, demonstrated expertise and ongoing dedication to the channel of hundreds of women. The Power 100 is a more focused list of women drawn from this larger list: women leaders whose vision and influence are key drivers of their companies’ success and help move the entire IT channel forward.
Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) has the privilege of employing women who are named to this prestigious list year after year, and this year was no different. Six women – including two of whom were named to the Power 100 – were selected for the Women of the Channel 2018 list.
“They’re all visionaries whose continued dedication and contributions make possible our mission to improve business resiliency,” said Tim Cecconi, Senior Vice President, Sales and Global Channels. “These executives are some of the best and brightest Sungard AS has to offer, and their demonstrated influence throughout the channel serves as a testament to the exceptional talent and innovation they bring to the industry.”
Being chosen for the Women of the Channel list is an honour no matter who you are. But Sungard AS wanted to know more about why their candidates were selected, and what qualities they think enable them to achieve success. Here is what Melissa McCoy, Michelle LeVan, Karen Falcone, Corre Curtice, Sarah Hamilton and Heidi Biggar have to say about the qualities that make successful women leaders:
1) Melissa McCoy: Confidence. Women often underestimate their abilities or feel that they must have 100% of the qualifications before applying for a new position, taking on a new assignment, etc. Research shows that most men who apply for these roles don’t meet the qualifications completely, but because they have higher confidence levels, they are more prone to apply for new positions and get promoted. I always try to remind women that confidence matters. If you don’t believe in yourself, others won’t either, and this can impact your ability to advance and meet your career goals.
2) Michelle LeVan: Conviction. This seems like it should be an obvious trait for any leader, but I think we sometimes need to be reminded of what that really means, and how to leverage that in our leadership journey. It means having the conviction that when you find yourself in unknown territory, what got you to this point is the very foundation that will help you chart the right course forward. It means never doubting that you have the capacity and capability for “just in time” growth, and to break down the obstacles in your way. When you do it right, you are always growing. Because of that, unshakeable conviction also means you are not just willing to step into the unknown void, but that you will embrace it, with the conviction you will find your footing if you just take that next step. Most importantly, it means knowing that when you stumble along the way, it is nothing more than a stumble, not a catastrophic defeat. It is only temporary when you put the next foot forward and keep moving.
3) Karen Falcone: Courage. When asked about what it takes to succeed as a woman in business, I always talk about courage. Lack of courage often holds us back from taking risks on that next career step, asking for promotions, or standing behind ground-breaking ideas to take a business in a new direction. One definition of courage is “being terrified, but going ahead and doing what needs to be done” – this is foundational to becoming a leader. Being the only woman in the room and speaking up takes courage. Overcoming fear of public speaking takes courage. Even challenging the status quo takes courage. But it is an empowering virtue!
4) Corre Curtice: Attentiveness. It’s critical to really listen to your colleagues to consider different points of view, and to distinguish what’s important from what is just noise. By demonstrating a desire to understand others’ concerns and ideas, a leader can build a deep trust and respect with their colleagues and customers. Listening to truly understand a situation also helps me formulate better solutions in the face of business challenges. I have also found that listening to my colleagues and understanding the passion they have for their points of view is valuable in resolving conflict and aligning around a common goal. As a leader in my organisation, I find that attentive listening is instrumental to having the confidence to act with conviction and timeliness.
5) Sarah Hamilton: Authenticity. Regardless of our industries, backgrounds, education, leadership styles, and job titles, we are all woven from the common thread of people interrelating with people. The truest form of personal branding comes forth by representing one’s authentic self and core values. In marketing speak, we would call this your unique value proposition. Authentic personal expression requires a lifetime of practice and self-discovery as well as a great deal of courage and confidence, as it doesn’t always lead us down the road toward popularity, acceptance, or approval. The most important person you can influence – and the most important person you can compete with – is yourself.
6) Heidi Biggar: Adventurousness. Think of your career as an adventure; you may start out in one job or in one industry, but be careful not to let that position (or any that follow) limit your ability to grow, pursue new things or discover new passions. Remember that it’s your journey. And, along the way, try to avoid labels; they’re limiting to you and those around you, and shouldn’t define who you are or will be in the workplace. If I had let my past jobs dictate my future career path, I would never have progressed into new fields. My workplace philosophy has always been: Stay open and keep on learning. Viewing your career as an adventure can be freeing, and open you up to incredible possibilities. Enjoy the journey!
With attributes like confidence, conviction, authenticity, assertiveness, courage and adventurousness, the influencers of today can rest assured they have what it takes to lead any business in the future.