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News & Articles

August 1, 2018 |

CompTIA Encourages Attendees to Tell Their Tech Story at ChannelCon 2018

At the IT membership association’s annual conference, now taking place in Washington, D.C., President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux spoke about his own personal journey as part of a new initiative aimed at bringing more young people and adults into the tech industry.

IT membership association CompTIA has opened its ChannelCon 2018 partner conference in Washington, D.C.

In a keynote presentation this morning, President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux told attendees his personal story of how he came to work in the technology industry in connection with a new initiative called My Tech Story that the Downers Grove, Ill.-based organization is launching in an effort to bring more young people and adults into the tech industry. CompTIA has made closing the “skills gap” increasingly plaguing the IT world a top priority in recent years.

From Lincoln Logs to model rocket kits to Atari games and early computers, Thibodeaux’s path took many turns, including work at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which fueled his STEM interest and 10 years ago landed him at the head of CompTIA. Now he wants attendees to tell their own stories at a booth set up on the show floor or to roving reporters, all with hopes of inspiring others, many of whom may come from nontraditional employee pools.

“We’re going to share these with young people and people who are considering moving into a career in tech to help encourage them that they can work in this industry in some capacity,” said Thibodeaux in an interview with ChannelPro.

CompTIA is also working with the Technology Student Association (TSA)†to encourage young people’s interest in IT. “We’re trying to use that as a platform to reach middle school and high school students to try to get them to the doorway of exploring a tech career,” Thibodeaux explained in the interview.

“Our partnership with the TSA is helping us connect with these kids, because a lot of times when† kids in middle school and high school have an interest [in technology], we lose them when they go to college,” said Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president of industry relations for CompTIA, in an interview with ChannelPro. “We want to make sure we can stay close to them, so they can move from the TSA, where they’ve had a very good experience with technology through high school, and now through CompTIA AITP.” †CompTIA acquired the Association of Information Technology Professionals†last January and relaunched it as CompTIA AITP some seven months later.

Other ChannelCon highlights include today’s keynote address by General Stanley McChrystal, former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, author of best-sellers Team of Teams and My Share of the Task, and co-founder of The McChrystal Group.

Yesterday the conference opened with working sessions by seven CompTIA member communities. At the CompTIA Advancing Diversity in Technology Community (ADIT), which launched last year, meeting attendees focused on creating programs and tools to deliver the message that having a diverse workforce can strengthen a business.

The community has “grown really nicely over the past year, and we’re really promoting and messaging out this need for diversity in our industry. With almost a million positions that are going to be available in a year, right now, only about 13 percent of the technology industry is women, and only about 3 or 4 percent of the industry is African American or Hispanic,” Hammervik told ChannelPro.

“We can bring value to businesses by giving them access to new people in the tech space,” said Nathan Archer, chairman of the community and director of business development for A&H Technology Group, New York, N.Y., in a press statement.

“The research continues to show that the companies with the most diversity tend to make the most innovative decisions, tend to be the most profitable,” Thibodeaux said in his interview.

Security dominated the discussion at the meeting of the CompTIA Managed Services Community. Speakers noted that while most organizations acknowledge the importance of security, a significant number of them have yet to upgrade their defenses. That may require a change in the customer-technology provider conversation, according to Robert Boles, founder and president, BLOKWORX Inc., San Francisco. “Security is not a product,” Boles said in a press statement. “Security is really a culture. It’s a constant, ongoing learning process.”

Two other communities celebrated recent award winners.

Three young leaders who are excelling in their roles with IT channel organizations were honored as ChannelChangers for 2018 by the CompTIA Future Leaders Community. This year’s honorees are Jessie Devine, QuoteWerks; Mackenzie Heddy, The ASCII Group; and Hannah Lloyd, Inbay.

At the CompTIA Advancing Women in Technology (AWIT) Community session, three women singled out for their commitment, leadership, and mentorship in the industry and a recent high school graduate were recognized as the recipients of the inaugural CompTIA AWIT Spotlight Awards.

The 2018 CompTIA AWIT Spotlight award winners are Roberta J. Fox, the FOX GROUP; Kathryn Rose,; and Sheryne Glicksman, Inside the Solution. Also, Sarah E. Johnson of Philadelphia received the inaugural CompTIA/ChannelPro Cecilia Galvin Scholarship Award, named in memory of journalist and former ChannelPro Executive Editor Cecilia Galvin, a passionate supporter of women in technology.

Throughout the four-day event, attendees also have the opportunity to network, attend educational sessions, and meet with the more than 150 exhibitors participating in the show.

Photo: Joel Zaidspiner

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