14 Life Lessons I Learned from Strong Women in the Dynamics Channel

You have the ability to inspire others; and often you don’t even realize you are doing it.

During my time in the Dynamics channel I have crossed career paths with many strong, intelligent women who have inspired me. Because of them I am a better marketer, a better mentor and, dare I say, a better person.

Some of these women I have worked with for years, others came in and out of my career quickly, but left a lasting impression. Some of them consciously took the time to mentor me, others instructed simply by their example.

Here are a few of the lessons I have learned from memorable women:

Jennifer Harris – Be proud of your accomplishments.

The first year I was invited to attend Microsoft Convergence on a Press Pass as the co-founder of the ERP/CRM Software Blogs, Jennifer Harris congratulated me on what I had achieved. I reflexively started to disparage myself and downplay the honor. Jennifer’s reply will always stick with me: “Stop, if you were a man you would accept the compliment and be proud of your accomplishments”. As women we can feel that pride is something negative, equated with being egotistical or haughty. But feeling proud of yourself, when deserved, is what pushes you to do bigger and better things. Thank you Jennifer.

Barb Levisay – Value your talents, know your own worth.

The Microsoft Dynamics Press room is a male dominated club. As one of the few women, Barb Levisay took me under her wing. For this I will always feel grateful and from that point on I chose Barb as my self proclaimed mentor. Over the years she has helped me evaluate several career decisions. Her main theme is to remind me not to underestimate my talents and what they are worth to others. As tough as it is, this advice has helped me take risks, and succeed, in several unexpected projects. When I share my big ideas with her, she is never surprised and just tells me to aim even higher. @blevisay

Belinda Allen – Give praise, you don’t know how far it will go.

I knew of Belinda Allen based on her reputation but we had never met personally. When she was on a partner panel surrounded by men, and the floor was opened to questions I started out by telling Belinda how nice it was to see a strong women in the channel on the panel. I didn’t give this comment much thought, but several years later Belinda told me that this remark had struck a cord with her and motivated her to become more involved in different groups that could motivate other women. The lesson: don’t be afraid to commend strong women who inspire you. You have no idea how far it will go. (tweet this) @belindathegpcsi

Allison Dawson – Direct the conversation.

I met Allison when she was a presenter on the Microsoft Across America small business events, then interacted with her again as she steadily rose higher in executive roles within the Dynamics channel. Among other things I always marveled at her ability to keep meetings on track. She would not waste words, she would distill issues down to their main points, and by the end of the meeting everyone knew exactly what needed to be done. This sounds simple but it is a true skill that I try to imitate in every meeting I lead. @alligay

Allison was also the first one to believe in the ERP Software Blog and provide seed money to get it launched. For that I will be eternally grateful.

Barrie Mirman – Energy is contagious.

After a long day of training sessions, when Barrie entered the room, the mood changed. Her energy was almost electric.  She had the ability to wake up and engage her audience and inspire an entire room to action. No matter how tired or nervous I am, I do my best to pump up the energy level -- Barrie style. @barrie_

Irma Austin – Stay true to who you are.

I never spoke of it with her personally but I got the impression that Irma was someone who has had to navigate the no doubt tricky political waters of the large corporation that is Microsoft and yet she has still remained true to who she is – honest and kind. This is the type of person I want to be. @irmaaustinmsft

Judy Van Der Linden – Share your knowledge with others.

When I was a newbie in the channel I looked up to Judy Van Der Linden as a marketing genius, yet she was still approachable and willing to share tips and ideas with others. I watched her present on marketing panels and I set a goal to be like her. Now I am. And like Judy, I am willing to share everything I know and I consciously look for ways to help young marketers grow.

Natalie McAllister Jackson – Never stop learning.

After more than a decade in the same role, marketing Dynamics GP, I admit I thought I had this thing figured out. Watching Natalie woke me up to the fact that I was about to get my marketing butt kicked by the next generation. She was me, 10 years ago. That was my signal that I need to freshen up my tactics. And in return, I can use my "maturity" to help build her confidence, introduce her to new opportunities and show her her worth.  @natalieonwire

Kim Peterson – Be passionate about your ideas.

When I interviewed Kim Peterson about GPUG Summit, her passion for the event and GP users was palpable. I want to show this same level of enthusiasm for the projects that I undertake. @kimpetersonbl

Aimee Agnew – Don’t be afraid of a challenge.

I met Aimee when she was brand new to the channel, starting from scratch after several years in a completely different industry. Not only did she not let the challenge daunt her, she went full steam ahead, not passively but with determination. I want to rise to new challenges like that. @aagnew14

Brooke Webb – Look for the next big idea.

Many marketers just play it safe, follow others. Brooke is not afraid to try out something new. For example, she tried using QR codes before I had ever heard of them. Granted, the new tactics sometimes fizzle out, but the point is that she is not afraid to try them and she will be the one to find the next big thing. @MktgMavenATL

Amber Bell - You can change your future.

When I first met Amber 16 years ago she was the receptionist for the ERP practice. However, she taught herself on her own time and took the Dynamics GP certification exams. She not only passed, she excelled. Yet she still had to overcome stereotypes and fight to earn the respect she deserved as a Dynamics GP consultant. I admire her grit and feel honored to work with her.

Marcia Doron - Don't be boring.

Marcia is one of the most fascinating women I know. Each time we meet I discover another skill, hobby or charity work she has undertaken. Her lesson is that life is just too short to be boring.

Pam Misialek and Allison Watson– Take the main stage.

I have not had too much personal interaction with these ladies, but whenever I see them take the main stage at events, and present in front of thousands of people, I am inspired. Maybe someday that will be me. (Barb told me to aim high, remember!) @pammisialek, @allison_watson

What is the lesson for you?

I don’t think men and women should be treated the same. I think women deserve more praise and commendation because they are less likely to give it to themselves. (tweet this)

There are so many strong, intelligent women in our Dynamics channel. Look for them, go out of your way to praise them and most of all, learn from them.

Tell me, who has inspired you?

By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing


Twitter: @AnyaCWMktg