Recently, I was reminded of the book ‘Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1993)’ by the American author and Relationship Coach, John Gray. While facilitating an alliance workshop between two high-tech partners, I was reminded of a suggestion the book makes; there are incompatible differences between the way that men and women act in any given situation, and that conflict arises from these different viewpoints. One partner was a global systems integrator and consultancy; the other was an equally large (and global) software company. The workshop was to discuss the current state of the global alliance relationship that they had formed many years ago and reset the vision for the alliance.

Despite the number of senior key stakeholders at the workshop from both parties representing: product lines, consulting practices, sales, marketing, R&D, and corporate planning, the two global managers leading the discussion caught my attention. Experienced Vice Presidents in their respective companies, both responsible for managing global relations, the only obvious difference was their gender. For the purpose of this article let me call them Sally and Simon.

During the course of the workshop, we addressed the question of ‘Joint Business Value Propositions’, and I asked the question: “What is the Joint Business Value Proposition for this alliance? What is different and exciting to the customers about using the combination of both of your company’s products and services?”

Simon immediately jumped right in: “Well, it’s obvious right? Between us we control a large degree of market share in our chosen fields, we are both acknowledged leaders in our respective products and services, what I need is to agree on a target figure with Sally about how many of our software licenses her company will sell this year.”

Sally replied: “What are we trying to achieve with our offerings here? Between us, we need to understand better how we come across to the market and I’d like to know more about Simon’s business strategy and how my team can help him.”

Simon: “Great! That’s just what I said… now let me tell you in detail about my sales targets territory by territory around the world and we can then agree on what numbers you will allocate …!”

And before I could stop him he jumped up to the whiteboard and started doing just that!

The incident put me in mind of the Mars versus Venus debate sparked all those years ago.

If one is to consciously observe and compare the language that Simon is using, which is, ‘me, I, my targets, my objectives, my territories’ to Sally’s conversation which is, ‘us, we, our team, our common goals’, it wouldn’t be hard to differentiate between the leaders. One might say this is negligible and unimportant, however, I believe it is indicative of a deeper mindset. 

Whilst flying home I ruminated on our conversations in the workshop, I confess I couldn’t decide whether the fundamental difference highlighted by the two professionals was the difference between men and women or the difference between sales executives and alliance executives.

In traditional sales, the business landscape is quite clear. I am a seller and you are a buyer; my job is to convince you of the suitability of my products and services to your challenges and needs and I will use appropriate and suitable tools and methodologies to help me do that (e.g. Challenger Sales, Consultative Selling, SPIN Selling, Relationship Selling, Closing Techniques, and on and on). The language involved in the conversation is focused on the seller. It’s a binary type conversation. I win, you ‘lose’ (because you pay out the highest price I can negotiate).

In alliance selling on the other hand it’s a little more subtle. Sally isn’t trying to sell to Simon, she’s trying to understand how they can both together sell to an (as yet) unknown customer, and do it in the most efficient and effective way possible.

The conversation is peppered with words like Us, Our, Joint, Collaborative, Together, Consensus, Joined-Up Approach, and so on.  During my flight I thought about two different scenarios:

  • The different background, mores, and language used to typically describe men and women and,
  • The different background, mores, and language used to typically describe salespeople and alliance people

In both cases, I daydreamed about the words that I had heard used in the past to describe the two groups and I wondered if there was some kind of connection.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you can’t have good male alliance managers and I’m not saying that you can’t have aggressive and hard-driving female executives, but the more I thought about my own experiences with all four groups (men, women, sales, and alliances) the more I resonated with the differences and the apparent connection between the two groups.

Could it be that women are more genetically ‘programmed’ over many thousands of years to view harmony and collaboration in the family unit as preferable to personal advancement?

The jolt that I got as I hit the runway in Birmingham (my hometown) jerked me awake and afterward I couldn’t decide whether it was clear thinking and deep insight or pure gibberish?!

What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you!

If you’d like more information or would like to contribute to this research, feel free to contact me at mike.nevin@alliancebestpractice.com

About Mike Nevin
Mike Nevin is a highly experienced international strategic alliance consultant, coach, and author. Mike was the founding Chairman of ASAP in Europe (ASAP is the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals) which he launched in March 2002. and his seminal work (The Strategic Alliance Handbook) is recommended reading on MBA courses throughout the world.
https://www.amazon.com/Strategic-Alliance-Handbook-Business-Business/dp/0566087790

“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.” – IWD

Women In Cloud IWD2021 Summit
#CollectivePower In Action

Imagine a post-pandemic world where women are struggling for jobs, recognition, and for a spot in the industry? Well, we are already there! The Covid-19 pandemic has driven a large number of women out of the workforce and dented years of effort to achieve equity and equality for women in the industry. 

The 2021 International Women’s Day-themed #ChooseToChallenge was dedicated to overcoming the overwhelming issues women continue to face in today’s world enhanced by the onset of a global pandemic. Following the theme of IWD, Women in Cloud’s two-day celebrations focused on providing digital experiences that help participants gain the skills, knowledge, and access they need to challenge the current environment and statistics around economic inclusion for women in technology. 

The summit was a call-to-action to avert a brewing global crisis for women in the upcoming years as a direct impact of the current pandemic. The Co-founder and President of Women in Cloud, Chaitra Vedullapalli spoke about the detrimental trifecta hampering the creation of infinite economic access for women in technology. She highlighted the following trifecta and called upon the industry thought leaders, experts and corporations to build strategic partnerships to eliminate a possible crisis; 

  1. Lack of Leadership Representation: Though female participation in the labor force has increased and the number of women in executive-level roles has risen, growth has been painfully slow. The percentage of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies has climbed from zero in 1995 to only 4.8 percent in 2018. Just one in eight start-up CEOs are women and the most highly compensated executive roles continue to be dominated by men. Overall, women technologists make up 28.8 percent of the tech workforce today. When we act with intention, we can put more women in leadership roles which will lead to a stronger economy.
  2. Lack of Supplier Diversity Allocation: Today, only 3 percent of corporate procurement dollars and 5 percent of federal contracts are going to women-owned firms. Although total global venture funding increased by 4 percent year-over-year, funding to female-founded startups decreased by 27 percent. Investors have reduced their investment in women-led tech companies taking it to less than 2 percent. It’s no wonder that only 2 percent of women-owned businesses ever make it to $1 million in revenue, which is 3.5 times less than their male counterparts.
  3. Increased Displacement of Women-held Jobs: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, due to the COVID-19 pandemic more than 2.2 million women were unemployed and it is estimated 180 million women’s jobs will be eliminated over the next 20 years as a result of AI transformation.

To combat these shocking numbers and help women, the Women in Cloud’s International Women’s Day celebration was a call-to-action summit to engage and partner with large corporations. If men and women worked together to double the supplier diversity allocation in large corporations – not spend, JUST their budget allocation – we will generate $1 billion in revenue for women entrepreneurs.

At International Women’s Day, we proactively created high energy community experiences to connect, inspire and transform the attendees to be part of the economic access movement; 

  • #ChooseToChallenge Fireside Chat: The high-level interactive summit began with a power panel led by Jackie Wright, Chief Digital Officer, Microsoft, and Gretchen O’Hara, Vice President, US AI & Sustainability Strategy. It was a captivating fireside chat that invigorated the audience and left them with clear thoughts to consider the current state of economic access and where they can take action to change the narrative in their own ecosystems. Click here for the full video.
  • #ChooseToChallenge Leadership Panel: Led by Gina Fratarcangeli, Managing Director of Accenture along with power speakers Ying Zhao, ServiceNow; Kristen Marquez, Boeing; Jeana Jorgenson, Google; Lily Li, Columbia, Citi, the panel shared lived experiences, articulated the crisis that we are dealing with, and how as an individual one can find a solution to existing crises in your ecosystem. Click to listen to the conversation.
#ChoosetoChallenge Power Panel at Women In Cloud IWD2021 Event
  • #CloudJobs and #RockYourPitch: Battling the job displacement problem, the #CloudJobs Recruitment Lounge created access to over 150 jobs from 33 companies. Plus, we hosted #RockYourPitch, a confidence-building experience to help attendees and entrepreneurs to build their compelling pitch. 
#cloudexecconnect
  • #CloudExecConnect: Women in Cloud’s premium networking experience #CloudExecConnect helps female technology founders to connect with experienced industry leaders to advise entrepreneurs to get access to investors and customers.
#cloudExecConnect Advisors
  • Microsoft’s #BuildFor2030 Campaign: Female founders from WiC Cloud accelerator were invited to participate in Microsoft’s #BuildFor2030 campaign to make ensure easy access to technology developed by female tech founders. Together, we highlighted companies that align with the UN SDGs and bring us one step closer to creating an inclusive digital economy. Congratulations to WiC Female Founders!

2021 is about challenging the norms of society and eliminating the onset of the global crisis fueled by the detrimental trifecta. So join us in the economic access movement and let us together beat this global crisis. 

As a special gift to you, please enjoy the complimentary offers below:

To access the recordings from the Summit, stay tuned to the #WiCDigitalNetwork for more information on when they will be released. 

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” – Helen Keller

The Women in Cloud Digital Summit 2021 displayed Collective Power, and let the world know that we are stronger together! 

The first ever Digital Summit hosted online for a worldwide audience was a huge success and we surpassed all expectations. Despite the health and social crisis of this past year, Women in Cloud as a network grew stronger and reached new heights that contributed to economic development in the tech industry. Where many held back, we accelerated forward. 

The Women in Cloud Community is proud and elated to share the following Summit accomplishments. 

  • Over 2500+ leaders attended, representing over 19 countries, 250 female-led companies, and growing, our highest engagement ever
  • 700+ volunteers organized 115 sessions for everyone to participate in, all done in 1 dynamic virtual experience
  • We made over 1.5 million impressions on social media alone in just two weeks
  • Over 60 youth leaders had the opportunity to join the STEM mentorship program
  • Our own WiC Cohort members saw 25-500% growth in their businesses
  • Over 87 companies pledging to create economic access for women in the tech industry
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The success of this year’s event is a reminder that our one goal matters.

We are not just another conference of innovative ideas, we’re a transformative community of powerful voices that creates collective access to all aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs to become empowered change makers that make an inclusive economic impact.

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Furthermore, the Women in Cloud Summit 2021 hosted extraordinary sessions and powertalks. Some of them are listed below for your access;

  1. Fireside Chat with Former Prime Minister Rt Honorable Kim Campbell & Gavriella Schuster Corporate Vice President of Microsoft
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  1. Senator Patty Kuderer Message to women all around the world
  2. An empowering welcome by Gretchen O’Hara
  3. A sneak peek into the STEM based Youth Mentorship
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  1. UN Goals 2030: Global Dialogue – A conversation led by global leaders focussing on women’s role in accomplishing UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

Furthermore, you can access the 110 Power Talks & Live Sessions here.

Another major highlight at the Women in Cloud Digital Summit 2021 was the launch of Women in Cloud Solution Marketplace – a platform designed for companies to get access to solutions developed by women tech entrepreneurs. The platform currently hosts over 30 enterprise ready solutions. 

The year 2020 disrupted and delayed normalcy as we knew it. However, despite the global health crisis and regional social crisises the world went through, we witnessed our community and the technology industry come together to focus on building a transformative, and sustainable future. While it was hard, we tried honour all the teaching the year 2020 had for us. Click here access the Women in Cloud Memorabilia called Mic On. Camera On! 

At the Women in Cloud Community, we are looking forward to an exciting year ahead, with our key focus on the following areas; 

  • Strategic Partnerships with Fortune 1000 Companies: We will be investing in Strategic Partnerships make their supplier network diverse; and secure invitations for female tech founders to be part of the digital transformation initiatives. 
  • Business Development: To further focus on opportunity creation, we aspire to drive 8000 Business Development Connections through community events and activations.
  • Research: Additionally, we will commission research to build strategic coalitions with cross-sector leaders to develop policies around AI Ethics and Supplier Diversity.

What’s Next?

  • WIC is hosting an International Women’s Day event on 11 and 12 March, to connect and create infinite access for each other. Book your spot!
  • Seeking Cloud Jobs? Submit their candidate profile by 1 March, 2021 and get invited to meet potential recruiters. 

Finally, Collaborate. Connect. Transform Yourself. Because infinite opportunities are created when you are dedicated to serving people daily. We are a community of collective power and infinite access.”

As the co-founder and principal of Go Big Coaching, my mission has always been to help women overcome the social and systemic barriers that hinder them from thriving in male-dominated fields while also developing a stronger, more courageous mindset to find success within their professional lives. 

I believe that we need more women in decision making roles to enhance economic access for all. I believe in the power of closing the wage gap, and I think a reasonable policy shift would be along the lines of what my home country Germany has, which is a Wage Transparency Act for companies with over 200 employees. It gives people the right to find out the median compensation of a colleague in the same or a comparable role. This type of transparency would remove obstacles that contribute to wage inequality based on gender, and could even result in an effective Equal Pay Act. Also, I believe that everyone should have the right to parental leave, which could help both men and women with job and wage security rather than punishing them for familial obligations. As a community, we must join forces to make these positive impacts,  and use our Collective Power to achieve the goal of an inclusive, innovative future. 

But what other than societal barriers restricts women to rise above and drive change? My passion for helping women unlock their potential has led me to develop a growth mindset that includes unlearning self-destructive behaviors and persevering through professional setbacks. I am excited to be presenting at the Women in Cloud Digital Summit 2021 on the topic of ‘Unlearning Negative Self-Talk.’ Our worst critic is our inner voice, but our self-criticisms don’t define or motivate us, and the only way to achieve inner peace and happiness is to acknowledge and overcome this inner critic. 

“Eventually I realized that learning would not get me where I wanted to go. This is when I had my lightbulb moment: It was time for me to UNlearn.”– Micha Goebig

So join me this January, at the Women in Cloud Digital Summit 2021 and let us work towards unlearning negative self-talk and replacing destructive thoughts with optimism. 

Book Your Spot today with a 15% discount, and get on board to witness the Collective Power of Women in the technology industry from around the world! 

I highly recommend the following Interactive Experiences for you to participate and expand your network: 

  1. 28 January: Learn about Tech Industry at their opening plenary with Former Prime Minister of Canada, Rt Honorable Kim Campbell and Corporate Vice President Gavriella Schuster 
  2. 28 January: Explore Cloud Jobs at #CloudJobs Fair & Recruitment Lounge
  3. 28 January: Meet Black Founders
  4. 29 January: Master your pitch at #RockYourPitch Experience
  5. 29 January: Get access to mentorship from Cloud Industry leaders
  6. 30 January: Get your kids to participate in Youth Mentorship Circle
  7. 30 January: Make New Friends at Scavenger Hunt 

Also, join WIC Digital Network to be part of the global economic access movement.

Women in Cloud has partnered with Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft to underwrite 50 women to get free access to the WIC Digital Summit 2021 by giving a total of three one-on-one executive mentorship sessions.

What is the catch?

Nothing. Just buy a T-shirt!

As a C-level Microsoft Executive and Thought-Leader, Gavriella leads a global portfolio of channel partners that have influenced over $1 trillion in ecosystem revenues. She brings over 20 years of leadership in digital and cloud transformation roles, driving strategy and execution spanning all aspects of the business model and product development, launch, marketing, sales, and partner development. Gavriella currently leads global recruitment, enablement, and engagement of Microsoft’s fast-growing partner ecosystem. As a builder and change agent, she has built and turned around businesses by inspiring a vision for future customer relevance and engaging teams in developing the roadmap.

In December 2020, Gavriella delivered a powerful TEDx talk on the topic, ‘BeCOME an Ally: How to Achieve Gender Equity?’ Her TEDx speech highlighted the need to create opportunities for women in technology and the role all of us, men, and women play in the process. 

Gavriella Schuster was also awarded the ATHENA Global Leadership Award – previously bestowed upon icons like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Condoleezza Rice, and Christina Koch, just to name a few – for her contribution to technology, and supporting equality and equity in technology. The Insight Success Magazine also recognized Gavriella as the ‘Top 10 Most Influential Women in Cloud 2020.’

Gavriella is a powerhouse of knowledge and drives impact every step of the way! 

Now is your chance to qualify and win a chance to be mentored by Gavriella Schuster; you have to buy an exclusively designed Women in Cloud Allyship T-shirt. These t-shirts are designed to drive awareness about economic inclusion and allyship in the technology industry. 

What are the Entry Rules?

  1. Every purchase gives you an entry for the executive mentorship opportunity
  2. Drawing of the lots will happen on the closing day i.e., 30 January 2021 of the Women in Cloud Digital Summit 2021.
  3. Executive mentorship sessions will be scheduled on a mutually agreed date.

Buy a T-shirt today and win an exclusive executive mentorship opportunity while contributing to underwrite Summit passes for women! 

This January 2021 at the Women in Cloud Digital Summit 2021 learn about the Technology Industry at the opening plenary with Former Prime Minister of Canada, Rt. Honorable Kim Campbell, and Corporate Vice President Gavriella Schuster.

We also highly recommend Interactive Experiences for you to participate in to expand your network:

  • 28 January: Explore Cloud Jobs at #CloudJobs Fair & Recruitment Lounge
  • 28 January: Meet Black Founders
  • 29 January: Master your pitch at #RockYourPitch Experience
  • 29 January: Get access to mentorship from Cloud Industry leaders
  • 30 January: Get your kids to participate in Youth Mentorship Circle
  • 30 January: Make New Friends at Scavenger Hunt 

Join WIC Digital Network to be part of the global economic access movement.