Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Denver. July 2007. It was my third WPC event and I had heard through the grapevine that there was going to be a Women in Technology panel discussion. Three hundred women filed into the lecture hall to listen to four panelists share the ups and downs of their careers. Two were entrepreneurs who ran their own business. For the first time, I believed that maybe it was something I could do too. The next year I attended WPC as the owner of my own company helping Microsoft Partners align to Microsoft and succeed with their marketing communications. Last year I passed the five year mark and my business is strong. The community of IAMCP WIT helped me find the courage I needed to take my big leap. It changed my life and I am grateful to the wisdom and support that a company of strangers gave me. Those strangers have now become colleagues, mentors and friends. I would not be doing what I am doing today without them.
How Do We Support One Another?
I hear it all the time. “That was a terrific Women in Technology (WIT) Event- we need to do this more.” There is a pent-up appetite for women in our community to connect. We want to connect for a lot of reasons. We are eager to learn from one another’s experiences. We want an opportunity to give back, to mentor younger women who are at the start of their careers. We want to impact our global community through charitable efforts. We want to establish relationships with like-minded women to help us work through our personal and professional goals. We want to have a laugh over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.
What Makes IAMCP WIT Different?
Go out to Bing or Twitter and search for “Women in Technology” or “WIT”. You will find there are a lot of WIT forums around the globe. Our IAMCP WIT group is simply one of many – but one that is focused on our unique and special community of women.
In the Microsoft Partner Ecosystem, Women in Technology is a joint initiative between IAMCP (International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners) and the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) Team headed by Kati Quigley. Our goals align to the vision and mission of IAMCP which is to connect partners to partners and partners to Microsoft for the purpose of growth as well as to the goals of WPC to enable partners to gather face-to-face once a year to learn strategies to reap better business success.
Take a look at our Mission, Vision and Value so that you can get a good sense of what guides and motivates us.
For those of you who have attended our events at WPC – either the Women in Technology Lunch or the IMPACT Symposium – you will know that friendships and business relationships have been forged that extend beyond the rooms we have met in.
What You Can Expect as a WIT Member?
This year we will be hosting several online events. Our topics will range from gender equality to managing office politics; building leadership skills to building strong children; working at Microsoft versus working in the partner channel. There are no off-limit topics as long as they align to our mission and our goals.
How to Get Involved
There are a number of ways to get involved. Here are the steps we recommend:
Attend our online forums – We plan to host between four and six before WPC 2014 in Washington; Read our blogs on Digital WPC, Get chatting on Twitter using #IAMCPWIT
Join your local IAMCP chapter. You can join with a company or individual membership. Details on how to connect with your specific chapter can be found at www.iamcp.org;
Register for WPC in Washington –Registration is open now for next year’s event. We will be planning more WIT specific functions and will be looking for speakers, chairpersons and volunteers to make these events a success. Plan to attend to extend your network and learn from the most successful women in our eco-system.
Connect with the women at your IAMCP local chapter for a “Meet and Greet”. Send out an invitation and get together for an informal breakfast meeting or cocktail hour. Invite the women from your local Microsoft office to join you;
Run a local charity event and consider making a public donation to our selected charity at WPC next year. In the past we have had local chapters raise funds through sporting events such as runs or bike-a-thons, bake sales, book sales and other creative endeavours. It’s a great way to connect and raise funds at the same time;
Write a Blog –We will be publishing blog posts throughout the year and will be looking for contributors. If you have an opinion or expertise that aligns with our editorial calendar, we want to hear from you.
Want to learn more and ask questions? Watch a taped discussion featuring Kati Quigley, Microsoft and women from the IAMCP WIT community.