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Women leaders at Tampa-St. Pete IT companies get industry honors

Margie Manning



Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Eighteen women at four information technology companies headquartered in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area made this year’s Women of the Channel list.

CRN, a technology news outlet, said its annual list recognizes women who exhibit thought leadership, expertise and vision for driving channel innovation and growth.

Although diversity is critical for business success, women traditionally have been under-represented in the technology industry, according to, which cited a 2015 study that found women held only 25 percent of computing roles. Still, the percentage of women in senior leadership positions grew from 21 percent to 24 percent between 2018 and 2019, said, citing a separate study from market intelligence firm IDC. Women in senior leadership positions can positively impact female employee engagement and retention, the report said.

The four local companies with employees on the 2020 Women of the Channel list are Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), a Clearwater-baed IT distributor; ConnectWise, a managed IT services and software provider in Tampa; Spirion, a St. Petersburg-base data privacy company; and KnowBe4, a Clearwater cybersecurity training firm.

While the companies are local, only five of the 18 women honored are based in the Tampa-St. Pete area. That indicates the national and global impact the companies have. It also shows the Tampa-St. Pete area still has a way to go in cultivating and retaining female leadership.

Ten women from Tech Data made the list, the most of any local company. Three of those women also were named to the CRN Power 100 list, subset of the Women of the Channel selected by CRN staff to spotlight honorees whose insight and influence help drive channel success.

“The significant and varied accomplishments of this esteemed group of Tech Data leaders help to deliver higher value not only to our company and channel partners, but also to the broader IT ecosystem,” Rich Hume, Tech Data CEO, said in a news release.

The Tech Data women on the Power 100 list all work at the Clearwater headquarters. They are:

• Tiffany Embry, director, sales

• Stacy Nethercoat, senior vice president, cloud solutions, Americas

• Linda Rendleman, senior vice president, endpoint solutions, America

The other Tech Data women of the Channel are:

• Pelin Agar, finance director, in Istanbul, Turkey

• Stephanie Kaelin, Cisco business unit director, Europe, in Rotkreuz, Switzerland

• Andrea Miner, director, consulting services, IoT and analytics, in Tempe, Arizona

• Diane Mitchell, director, communications, strategic marketing programs, Americas, in Tempe, Arizona

• Mara Pereira, director, peripherals business unit, in Barcelona, Spain

• Nidhi Raj, marketing manager, India, in Mumbai, Maharashtra

• Judith Schreibmayer, vice president, east region, Europe, in Vienna, Austria

One of the honorees from ConnectWise — April Taylor, vice president, ConnectWise Manage — also is on the Power 100 and works in Tampa. The other ConnectWise employees on the list are:

• Joy Belinda Beland, senior director, cybersecurity, in Los Angeles

• Nicole Hunter Hart, director, strategy, execution, in Boston

• Tatiana Thomas,  director, product management (CX), in Boston

• Brooke Candelore, product manager, BrightGauge, a ConnectWise solution, in Coral Gables, Florida

Spirion’s two honorees are Elizabeth Carlin, senior channel account manager in San Diego, and Akello Ragwar, senior national channel manager in Boston. “These talented women are not only leading the efforts across our company to advocate and grow business for our channel partners, but they are furthering Spirion’s mission to advance women’s leadership roles within our company and the cybersecurity industry at large,” Tom Palomaki, Spirion’s senior vice president of sales, said in a news release.

At KnowBe4, Sara Valtin, vice president of channel sales, was named to the Women of the Channel list. She works at the company’s Clearwater headquarters.

Star2Star Communications, headquartered in nearby Sarasota and with a cloud-based communications platform, had five women on the list. Michelle Accardi, president and chief revenue officer, also was on the Power 100 list. Other Star2Star honorees are: Laura Oberle, senior vice president of sales, customer and partner success; and regional directors Diana Hite, Chessie Huber and Marji Lynn. All work in Sarasota, except Lynn who is in Seattle, Washington.

The complete CRN Women of the Channel databank is here.

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