1. Why do you support CRN's Women in Channel campaign?
Having been in the industry now for near 20 years and being part of the digital transformation journey from premise/hardware to cloud, it was a normality for me to be the only woman in the room, let alone, a woman from a diverse background.
Roles in this sphere, particularly in channel are now being filled by women, yet a lot of the successes and innovations are not visible outside of their own establishments.
CRN's Women In Channel brings this acknowledgement to a platform worthy of these accomplishments.
2. How did you get into IT industry?
An opportunity knocking at the right time.
Fresh out of university and living off a student loan overdraft I applied for the a role I saw advertised at the back of an Evening Standard that was offering £18k to do IT recruitment.
The owner of the company interviewed me and felt that I wasn't well suited for that particular role given my age (allowed to be mentioned back then), but he loved my energy and just had a client request come in to do Telesales selling leased lines and collocation.
That was my first corporate role and I have stayed in the industry for the last two near decades.
3. What you think is the main reason why the channel is mainly male, especially in technical roles and senior positions?
Tenure. Management positions today are usually based on decades worth of experience and when you review who was applying for roles two or three decades ago it was mainly men who ventured into these fields of study or apprenticeship.
Even today when we look at STEM Students, there is a 68% majority favour with the male sex and it will reflect on the managerial gender disparity with the next generational wave.
There is also the argument that men have historically been more confident in asking for promotions backed up by the Harvard Study that theorised that men apply for a job where they only meet 60% of the criteria and qualifications whereas women apply when they meet 100%.
4. What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your career?
Don't shy away from innovation even if it falls shy of your job description and be vocal about your accomplishments.
5. What are your three top tips for women looking to start a career in IT? / What advice would you give to young women aspiring to take on leadership roles?
- A common one is find an advocate or sponsor within the business who is your senior who you can highlight your accomplishments to and who can act as your brand ambassador and make you more visable.
- Always be learning, either internally within the business you work in or externally. Surround yourself in an environment that you can constantly learn from the people around you as the investment you may be thinking of making is a mistake that another person has already experienced.
- Open communication with the business of your intentions. Ask them what you would need to do in order to move up a level and put a timescale on it to when they would like you to achieve it by.
Zuleika is the channel leader across Northern Europe and UKI for Zoom and has 18+ years' success directing strategic channel partnerships for blue chip IT and Telco organisations, previously holding management positions at Tata, Mitel, ShoreTel and Cisco.
A previous CRN Winner in 2021, she is also an advocate and mentor for diversity and career development in STEM and sits on the board of several establishments as well being in school governance.