I was excited to attend the IAMCP Women in Technology Luncheon last week at WPC 2011. For those who don’t know about IAMCP, it stands for International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. They are an energetic group providing an important neutral voice in Microsoft strategy-building and day-by-day execution.

Every year during WPC several woman IAMCP leaders get together to network and discuss topics of interest, and 2011 was no different. I had the pleasure of having lunch with fellow partners Gina Renner (WennSoft), Stephanie Stocker and Amanda Petite (Logic 2020), Sara Faatz (Infragistics), and Heather Broos (New Horizons). And I also ‘had’ to introduce myself to one of the four (yes, four out of around 200!) brave men who joined the women’s luncheon—Kenold Pierre-Louis (Wavetech Solutions), who led by example and kindly explained that he engages in this kind of event because he has a daughter and wants to help her to be successful (kudos for that!).
Women-in-technology-luncheon_3_376520DE.jpgDuring the event we enjoyed an enthusiastic presentation delivered by guest speaker Kendra Lee, a successful entrepreneur and author of Selling Against the Goal: How Corporate Sales Professionals Generate the Leads They Need. Kendra talked about the importance of having a mentor*. She is definitely passionate about the theme, and inspired all of us to think about mentorship—why having a mentor is important, how to pick the right one, and how to be a great mentor. Kendra mentioned that we should all consider having more than one mentor—and not necessarily from the same industry, as choosing the right mentor should be based on the situations and the challenges that you are facing.
She got us to laugh when she asked if men can be effective mentors to women. She believes that yes, men can be effective mentors to women, although there are specific situations when you definitely want a woman as a mentor, such as maternity leave or certain family challenges. Kendra encouraged attendees to start mentoring programs within their local IAMCP chapters, and even proposed next steps for doing so:
  1. Join IAMCP
  2. Find one woman in your office or in your community you can mentor.
  3. Engage with your local chapter on the mentorship opportunity.
Several IAMCP members raised their hands when asked if they would like to explore this opportunity, so make sure you contact your local IAMCP chapter.
Cheers to great networking and great mentors! A fantastic job was done by the IAMCP crew who made this event happen: Jennifer Didier (Directions Training), Gail Mercer-MacKay (Mercer-MacKay Solutions Inc), Tiffany Ingargiola (New Horizons), Halie Stinson, Malia Pridgeon, and Susan Sibert from Microsoft. Thank you!
*On a side note, during the Q&A an attendee asked a non-mentorship—but still very interesting— question I’d like to mention: “What recommendations do you have for those of us who want to write a business book?” Kendra’s take as a good saleswoman: “Sell your book before you write it—the challenge is that they will want it fast once you get a deal!” ​