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September 13, 2011

Women Convene at ITEXPO to Break Technology Glass Ceiling

By Carrie Schmelkin, TMCnet Web Editor

Whoever said that technology is a man’s world should think again.

This morning at ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2011 – taking place this week in Austin, Texas, from Sept. 13-15 – some of the best and brightest women in the tech space convened for an inaugural networking and educational event at the conference, “Women in Telecom and Tech Breakfast.”



Spearheaded by Suzanne Bowen, vice president of business development and marketing for AstraCom, and Ruth Bridger, vice president of marketing Xorcom (News - Alert), the breakfast brought together women from all over the globe in various technology sects.

“Suzanne and I noticed that there are very few women in this field, telecom in particular and technology in general,” Bridger told TMCnet when asked why the breakfast was organized. “We thought it might be a good idea to get the women that are coming to ITEXPO to network and to reach out on this particular level. We don’t mean to be exclusive but the idea is to let other women know that they do have colleagues and people that are interested in networking with them.”

“It really ties in with this feeling that I have that businesses don’t buy from businesses, people buy from people,” she added. “The human element is what gives people that comfort level to ask the hard questions and really get what they are looking for. This is what we are trying to do here is build from the ground up, have these connections.”

According to Bridger, who grew up in Israel, in Israel citizens call the technology space the “old boys’ network.” Bridger and Bowen are hoping that the “old girls’ network” can soon form.

During the ITEXPO breakfast, in addition to the women exchanging business cards and discussing how long each of them have been in the field, women were given Post-its and asked to write down comments about each other as the event went on to post on each other’s back. At the end of the breakfast, women were able to see what their colleagues thought some of their strongest qualities were.

One woman who was eager to attend the breakfast was Melony White, channel director at VAR Dynamics, a provider of private-labeled enterprise class SaaS (News - Alert).

When asked why she decided to attend the event, White told TMCnet, “I am actually the only woman from my office coming to ITEXPO so it’s nice to be able to see other women in technology.”

“It’s a good old boys club sometimes,” she said. “Coming in, I have met some wonderful women in technology but on a daily basis I am pretty much the only women in the office. It’s nice to collaborate with other women who are likeminded. We bring different perspectives as well and probably on a softer side but also we bring a lot of smart s to this business and we are breaking through.”

Echoing White’s sentiment, Bridger said, “I do always feel that I am in such a complete minority.”

“To have the opportunity to meet with other women that are actually working in the field is the great part about this idea,” she added.

For Bowen, she said she has always been looking to hold an event like this and encourages other women to ban together and do the same at other events.

“It’s informal, but we all get together and we make great friends, develop wonderful business, and get inspired,” she said during the breakfast. “Women will talk to each other but when you have a huge building of mostly men and so few women in between its rare. But here we are all together and we feel really comfortable and we don’t mind showing how smart we are.”

“Women in Telecom and Tech Breakfast” was sponsored by Xorcom, The Sip Schools, DIDX and AstraQom.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place NOW, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.


Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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