Ep. 17 – Meaghan Sullivan: Women in The Channel

A major player and key contributor in the channel world –  Meaghan Sullivan is the Head of General Business and Global Partner Marketing  at SAP.   In episode17 of Channel Edge, Meaghan has as a casual sit-down with Steven Kellam, 360insights VP of Alliances, where they discuss various issues ranging from gender inequality around the world, what it means to be a female business leader within the channel technology space, being a role model to her children and mentor to younger women beginning their careers in channel marketing.

Women in Executive Roles are Beginning to Close the Gender Inequality Gap

Historically, diversification in the business world has always been an issue, especially for women securing executive-level roles in Fortune 500 companies.  Whether it’s companies in Silicon Valley, Europe, Asia or the Middle East, globally, women have had to deal with issues that men typically don’t in order to make it to the top. 

According to Meghan however, gender, or who that person is, should not be the only factor qualifying someone for the job.  She believes that “actions are what matters most.”  Meaghan goes on to say that women have come a long way in the tech industry since the days of not having a prominent seat at the executive table. In addition, she mentions that her tenure at SAP has given her the opportunity to make a difference at a global capacity and help to further close the gender inequality gap.  

Leadership Tips for Women to be Successful in the Channel: How to Maintain your Seat at the Executive Table

Speaking as a female professional working in marketing at a technology company, I completely relate to Meaghan’s perspective on why it’s very important for women to always be aware of how to act and what to say in business meetings, especially where men are primarily in attendance or in most cases, leading the discussion.  

In this podcast, Meaghan outlines a few inspirational tips for women who work in male-dominated industries to think about.  The seven tidbits listed below stood out the most for me.

  • Be Respectful of Cultural Differences.  How we work and who we interact with varies by office, region, country, and industry. Yet, we all need to be mindful of the many cultural differences that exist, regardless of what gender we are.   
  • Always Maintain a Sense of Professionalism.  Women should always act with a certain level of professionalism regardless of who is in the room or what events we attend. Meaghan mentions that when she attends women-only conferences, she tends to let her guard down a bit more, however, what always holds true is that maintaining a sense of professionalism in whatever we do helps to bring the road to gender equality further along.
  • Be a Role Model and Conduct Meaningful Conversations with the People you Mentor. As a working mother and role model to her two daughters, Meaghan has had her share of ups and downs.  However, she manages to always reinforce the idea that although, “you might not be able to have it all” you can still achieve very self-fulfilling “have it all moments”. At the end of the day, it’s all about the choices, and the sacrifices that we are willing to make and staying true to who and what we want to be.   
  • Act and Think One Level Up.  When you go into a business meeting, act and think like your manager. Thinking “one level up” can help you to be taken more seriously when contributing to making impactful business.  It’s also a great way to establish yourself with senior management and open new doors to the lines of succession.

There may not be one main ingredient in the “secret sauce of success”, however, the words of advice mentioned above can definitely help map out the recipe for women to achieve more leadership positions in the channel and eventually close the gap in gender inequality.

Most Important of All…

Establish a Purpose Driven Mentality.  Apply a sense of  purpose in whatever you do, or wherever you work according to Meaghan, companies that try to make a difference and produce products or services that make the world a better place to live in, have a greater potential of attracting like-minded talent that also want to have  purpose in their jobs.

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