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Holly Downs was recognized by CRN magazine as a 2015 Women of the Channel honoree.   She is responsible for all channel marketing activities for Polycom’s Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSP). This group as a whole realized double digit year over year growth. Working with sales, Holly led programs to grow accounts and form stronger relationships with ITSPs. We recently caught up with Holly to get her take on channel mavens in the IT channel and the tech industry as a whole.


The number of women in leadership roles in the IT channel has increased over the years, but most would agree, we have a long way to go. Could you share a resource, organization, book or tool that you have found useful and would recommend to women interested in getting into the tech industry?

Holly: Thinking outside the box and on your feet is imperative in today’s business.  I recommend a book called How Would You Move Mount Fuji? by William Poundstone.  This is an insightful book with questions that have traditionally been asked during the interview process at Microsoft, testing how well a candidate can creatively work through a question.  It’s not always getting to the right answer that counts (and sometimes, there is no right answer) but rather how you got there.  


Who inspires you?

Holly: Juliana Rotich, Executive Director of Ushahidi Inc. Originally from Kenya, Ms. Rotich developed web tools for crowdsourcing crisis information.  This technology has been used in Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Tanzania and Haiti. Ushadhidi builds tools for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.  


Could you share some professional advice to women currently working in or aspiring to work in technology?

Holly:  Be resourceful.  Listen to those who came before you, seek the advice of your peers and managers, and don’t ever be afraid to ask, “Why are we doing it this way?”


Related Content:

Honoring the Best and Brightest in the IT Channel

Women in Tech

Meet the Channel Expert: Vice President Americas Channel Sales Barb Huelskamp

The Case for Investing in Women


Image Source: Anita Borg Institute, Why Women Leave, Infographic 

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