"I encourage everyone in the SMB channel community to join with me in recognizing and celebrating the winners of this year’s SMB 150," said Harry Brelsford, Founder and Chairman, SMB Nation. "Each individual whose name appears on this esteemed list has strived to ensure that our SMB community is one that will continue to thrive and succeed. I am beyond excited to toast them at the awards dinner on May 4 in Redmond."
The following is the list of esteemed winners:
Twitter, Facebook,Google+, LinkedIn and Blogs have been a buzz with the excitement and congratulations of joining this esteemed list. As Jay McBain, co-founder of ChannelEyes (and my fiance) stated in his most recent blog, "We are thrilled to be in the company of such well-respected professionals". As am I, but there is a certain group who really make me proud to be in their company. As you might have noted, I have highlighted (proudly in pink) 23 extraordinary names which stood out to me. As I sit on the Executive Council of CompTIA's Advancing Women in IT, it is always a privilege and an honor to see those hardworking women in our community represented for their excellence.
In my blog last year, Chic and Geek, I took a look at the amount of women represented in this and various other awards and lists, as nominees and winners. Statistically, women make up approximately 10 % of the IT Industry. Although I know we (as women) represent a minority in the IT community, I was surprised to see how few women make up the percentage of leaders and influencers in the IT industry.
On a high note we can see the since it's inception in the 2011 SMB Awards we have seen a rise, and diverse amount of women represented in nomination and recognition over the past three years. In 2011, 13 women won the SMB150 award (8.6%), 20 won in 2012 (13.5%) , and 22 as of 2013 (15%) ; thus female representation in only a few years has almost doubled! Now that is a powerful and wonderful step in the right direction.
A huge kudos to the community vote, and esteemed panel of industry experts consisting of Harry Brelsford, (SMB Nation); Karl Palachuk, (Great Little Book Publishing Co., Inc.); Josh Peterson, (MSP Score); Dave Seibert, (IT Innovators); and Dan Wensley, (Level Platforms), evaluated each nominee based on a pre-established criteria, on the recognition of such wonderful and diverse list of men and women on this years award recipients.
These days the media is on fire with commotion of and by women. Marissa Mayer's calling home (or firing) her remote work force - my two cents were written in my blog, Why Cisco got it right, and Yahoo got it Wrong! . Next came Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, author of the newly published book "Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead", which caused a lot of controversy, and praise. Supporter or not, one can celebrate that it once again opened the conversation of Women in IT and their advancement.
Recently after reading Sheryl Sandberg's book and speaking to her, our Cisco CEO John Chambers had some revelations. John Chambers always felt that he and his executives were doing a good job creating a positive working environment for women. Now, Chambers said, he realizes there's more work to be done at Cisco, and for our more than 70,000 employees worldwide.
"While I have always considered myself sensitive to and effective on gender issues in the workplace, my eyes were opened in new ways and I feel a renewed sense of urgency to make the progress we haven't made in the last decade," Chambers wrote in an internal email after sitting down with Sandberg. "Without realizing it, we operate every day with gender stereotypes and biases, many of which we do not realize. After reading 'Lean In' and listening to Sheryl, I realize that, while I believe I am relatively enlightened, I have not consistently walked the talk." Jeffrey Burt of eweek reported to the outside world.
Chambers noted that less than 25 percent of Cisco employees are women, and 20 percent of the 1 million students at the company's networking academy are women. Yet he recognizes this and seeks to create more opportunities for women within Cisco. "I believe we—together—need to drive a fundamental culture change and it is up to us as leaders to make this change happen," Chambers wrote. "What we have been doing hasn't worked, and it is time to adjust."
Technology is the very essence of growing and adapting to change. Seeing esteemed leaders such as John Chambers, my personal Cisco inspiration in my career, and esteemed organizations such as SMB150 rise up to meet the changing times makes me proud to be a part of this technology industry. Working on the Executive Council of CompTia's Advancing Women in IT has been a privilege and an honor.
Last week at CompTIA's Annual Member Meeting we had the opportunity to have 7 young ladies from the Chicago Tech Institute (all young high school girls dressed in their adorable uniforms, bright eyed and bushy tailed for our 7 am breakfast meeting). They were engaged, open, and listening deeply to the round table discussions and inspiring and gripping panel Cisco's Michelle Chiantera, Senior Director of America's Partner Marketing, and Betty Grogan- AVP, North American Channel Engagement at Ergotron. At one point one of the young ladies had to ask, "I am sure everyone already knows, but what IS a glass ceiling?" Well my dear, I hope you never have to learn except in definition. I hope the leaders of today continue to fortify the paths which have been blazed for me, and we will continue to clear those trails for you.
At the end of the discussion, their Executive Director Matt Hancock (who happened to be a man) said, "I know this is for the Advancement of Women, but I have learned so much from today about how to improve myself, I certainly will have to attend next year. Matt explained the goal of their HS is to close the gender gap in technology. He had been working with some of the girls for three years, who reluctantly thought a career in technology was "too hard and not for them"... Until a few hours with us. With pride one of the girls said, "I was wrong, I think there are a lot more opportunities in tech then I realized, and you can still be cool and in technology". Well kudos to us on that cool vote, and even more so that we helped showcase how wonderful a career in technology truly is- for men and women alike!