“Women are born with two hands: One to pull herself up and another to pull others up with her.” I was in a room full of well-respected females at Women of the Channel Leadership Summit East Conference, or WOTC, in New York City a few months back. It was my first experience with any WOTC event, and I was honored to be invited by Cheryl Cook to attend it as a guest of Dell Technologies. I don’t know if it was the speaker’s profound words or the fact that I was sitting in the middle of a bedazzled Manhattan, but I was warmed and inspired and full of gratitude to be there.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect in attending the conference, but I definitely had a packed agenda to look forward to – a keynote from the fabulous Bobbi Brown, networking with other women IT professionals, breakout sessions on fascinating professional growth topics, and an event where we would partner with a nonprofit to give back as a group.
What I didn’t know was how impactful the opening event for a small group of Dell employees and partners would be. Each year, Channel@Work (the charitable component of The Channel Company’s events) designs an experience aimed at bringing the IT community together to give back to worthy nonprofits. For this conference, they chose Willow International, an organization that seeks to “eradicate human trafficking starting at the root of the problem” through restoration, prevention, and partnership. Willow’s partnerships with organizations like Channel@Work enable them to have a presence in countries where there is a great need for overhauling legislation, convicting criminals, but most importantly providing a safe, restorative recovery place for victims.
During this incredible morning together, our group heard firsthand from Willow founder Kelsey Morgan about this global crisis, had a live Skype call with the residents of one recovery home, and hand-packed over 100 care packages with hand-written notes and self-care items to be delivered to those entering these homes. I can’t think of a better way to have invested time – especially during the season of giving. It was later on during the conference that Cheryl Cook presented Willow with a donation for $10,000 on behalf of Dell Technologies. It’s safe to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
The conference afforded me the opportunity to attend sessions around emotional intelligence, growth mindset, and how women can support one another towards success in our IT careers and in our lives. Every session echoed the underlying theme that we are better together. I realized that women truly do possess the potential as well as the responsibility of raising each other up and empowering each other.
Together we can achieve more; we can encourage one another in our successes. We have an awesome and unique opportunity to make a difference – even and especially during uncertain times.