WIT WNY Interview with Stacy, Global Business Development Director at Ingram Micro
Women in Technology WNY is here to feature the stories of women of our local community and the various technology roles they fill, traditional and non-traditional. TechBuffalo is here to highlight these women to encourage others to not only explore technology opportunities but to take advantage of them. Stacy found her passion in security after starting her career in sales and finding that you don’t have to have a technical background to fill a technology role.
Would you mind sharing a little bit of your career journey?
I just celebrated 25 years at Ingram Micro, and it has been quite the journey. I started right out of college after graduating with a marketing degree. Ingram Micro is a global distributor of IT products and I began in entry-level sales. We moved around for several roles in sales and vendor management in Texas and California. It’s a large enough company where there’s a lot of opportunity for growth and movement. My husband and I decided to start a family, so we moved back to Buffalo, bought a house, and now I work out of our Williamsville office. Both of our families are in Buffalo and we felt having the community around us as we moved into this next phase of life would be essential. Plus, Buffalo is an amazing place to raise a family.
When you started at Ingram Micro you began in sales, what influenced you to move towards a more tech-focused role?
It was when I moved into our security business unit. I used to joke around that I sold technology, but I really didn’t understand the technology. People would come to me with questions and I really had no idea outside of vendor trainings. When I moved into security, I really liked this segment. I took more classes to get familiar with the technology from endpoint & network security to next-generation firewalls. Security is something everyone needs. From all the ransomware attacks and credit card hacks, it’s a fast-growing area. So, that’s what really solidified my interest in technology.
I’ve noticed you have had quite a few leadership positions while at Ingram Micro. When we talk about women in technology, women are not always the leader. How would describe your own leadership style and how has it evolved?
I would describe my leadership style as inclusive. To your point, I feel like women tend to have empathy and inclusiveness, and I will say Ingram Micro is good at this. Many tech companies are starting women’s forums and doing more diversity and inclusion type activities to make sure that everybody feels included and can participate. I was a founding member of our Women’s forum and I run a small women’s forum group for associates who are interested in taking that next step in their career, giving advice, and helping network. That’s something I think is very important, is making sure that people know your name and what you want to do. I really try to promote the associates I work with, understand what they want to do, help them get to that next level. I make myself available to anybody else within the company or industry.
What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day job?
There are two things I enjoy most. Being in the security space is very fast-paced and is always changing; there are always new threats and new attackers. I’m the type of person who gets bored if it’s the same thing every day. That’s something that is enticing to me and I like being on that cutting edge of technology. Then also I’m currently in a global role. At the beginning of this year, I was promoted to a global role and I really enjoy working with other countries and regions and understanding different cultures and how they do business. Unfortunately, in Covid-19 times, I haven’t gotten to travel much internationally but I’m sure I’ll get to that at some point.
What advice do you give to any woman who is interested in getting into the tech sector?
Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. I think people get intimidated a little bit when they think about a career in technology. Number one, there’s a lot of positions that are not technical in technology, so you do not need to be an engineer and hold all these certifications to be in a technology role. Then I think, just as women, we tend to want to check every box before we are willing to go for a job. There’s even a statistic out there where men go for a job if they hit 50% or 60% of the requirements but women feel like you must check every box. It’s OK to be outside your comfort zone and put yourself out there. I recommend if you’re interested in something go for it, learn a little bit more about it, and don’t feel like you need to be the expert. There’s on-the-job training and there are resources available to help. If you have the will, you can make it happen.
When it comes to women in leadership, what advice do you want to give for women who are trying to take on leadership roles or are skeptical about taking leadership roles?
I would really say networking is so important and that’s probably something that I didn’t do enough of early on in my career. Another thing I learned is it’s important for people to know who you are and what your intentions are. There’s a lot of those conversations that are happening when you are not in the room. You need to make sure you’re meeting regularly with your manager and telling them what you want to do in your career path. I think most women are good at connections and in networking, but sometimes we’re afraid to reach out to that next level or somebody you don’t know. Most people are willing to help and want to be supportive. Articulate what you want to do and where you want to go, and then use your network to help you get there. I love making connections with people.
Thanks for joining us for another installment of Women in Tech. Read more about Stacy’s career journey on her LinkedIn. To learn more about Ingram Micro visit their website: https://corp.ingrammicro.com/