Alliance of Channel Women, a not-for-profit organization of women in the telecom and IT indirect sales channel, has formed a committee focused on advocacy and education for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the channel.
Officially dubbed the ACW DEI Committee, the new team will create and curate education and other programs aimed at helping technology businesses recognize diversity as beneficial, nurture diverse talent, and advocate for individual growth. The ultimate goal, the group says, is to turn the channel into an environment where everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation, is valued and included.
“ACW believes that we’re better and stronger together,” said DEI Committee Chair Raquel Wiley, senior channel marketing manager at managed service provider TPx, in prepared remarks. “Through the DEI Committee, ACW will work with our members and their employers, our sponsors and vendors to promote a diverse channel community that reflects the world in which we live and work.”
The new committee reflects a growing need among ACW members and the channel community for DEI leadership and education in the wake of last year’s racial tension and civil unrest, according to ACW President Amy Bailey, who is also senior vice president of marketing at telco master agent Telarus.
“ACW was formed to promote gender diversity and inclusion in the tech channel, but the need is clearly much broader as is evident most recently by escalating violence and discrimination against people of color,” said Bailey in a press statement. “To say this is not our fight is to abdicate responsibility for the welfare of our friends and colleagues who suffer—often in silence—at the hands of both malicious and unconscious bias. That’s why we’re standing up and speaking out for diversity, equity and inclusion of all kinds in the tech channel.”
In addition to Wiley, its chair, the ACW DEI Committee is led by two co-chairs: Jacqueline Steinberg, partner development manager at AT&T Alliance Channel, and Kelli McMillan, national partner manager at contact center software maker Five9. They are joined by former ACW Advocacy Committee members and a growing list of other ACW members.
Persons interesting in joining the committee are encouraged to email [email protected].
The technology sector’s DEI gap is a longstanding and well-known problem. According to the most recent data on the topic from the federal government, 68.5% of U.S. high-tech employees were white as of 2017 and 64% were male. By contrast, 7.4% were African-American, 8% were Hispanic, and 36% were female. Those figures trail well behind the private sector as a whole, which was 14.4% African-American, 13.9% Hispanic, and 48% female three years ago.