Amy Kardel
Co-Founder and President, CleverDucks and Chairwoman of the Board at CompTIA, Clever Ducks and CompTIA
 
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA
 
 
Number of years in current position: 25
 
Number of years involved with indirect sales: 25
 
Twitter Handle: @amychicgeek
 
Fun Facts:
Is fluent in another language
Enjoys public speaking
Has an advanced degree
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has a personal mantra
Has written a book
Had a lemonade stand
Has a blog
 
Biography and Background:
Amy is an experienced small business technology advocate with local and international perspective and expertise. She has served for three years as a board member of CompTIA, and currently serves as a chairwoman of the board member for the organization. Amy raises awareness and advocates for federal policies to address small business technology. As a co-founder of Clever Ducks, a California-based MSP, she has over twenty years of experience leading teams to design and manage computer networks for small business. At Clever Ducks her mission is to help others do their best work. Amy encourages each tech on her team to do one tech certification a quarter to keep their skills sharp and growing. She uses the CompTIA tests as a foundation for these achievements. She encourages her administrative team members to pursue training in communication and other complementary skills. As president of Clever Ducks, Amy promotes a learning culture to bring excellence to daily operations and inspire her team to lead by example with clients and vendors. Amy also practices what she preaches. She spent the last four years earning her J.D. and graduated from law school in May 2017, viewing her new credential as an advanced business degree.
 
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Clever Ducks experienced a 20% increase in sales and staffing for our technical support teams in the past year. We also refreshed our technical training plans for each employee and expanded our focus on recruiting for diversity and women. These efforts resulted in positive returns including record sales growth and our highest rating to date in client and employee satisfaction. My ongoing engagements with CompTIA and HTG peer groups are also of critical importance to advancing our company's business. These relationships have brought Clever Ducks greater access to advisors, best practices and shared resources, all of which have contributed to our growth and continued success. As a member of ConnectWise's Board of Advisors, I have helped establish and strengthen our ties to the vendor community and serve as a voice of experience within the MSP ecosystem. In my first year as Chairwoman of the Board of CompTIA, I established new relationships that would propel Clever Ducks forward and worked with my fellow Board members to lead the charge and better equip, enable, evolve and accelerate the channel of the future through workforce initiatives, cybersecurity, advocacy for related public policy issues and international certification sales growth.
 
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
I am excited to evangelize the importance of training as part of our culture. We will arm our workforce with the skills to compete in the global IT services space and increase our visibility in the region as a leading provider. By advancing our skills and local celebrity, we will increase employee retention and recruiting and grow another 20% year over year. As COB of CompTIA, I am honored once again to work with the executive team and other board members on innovative moves to further equip, enable, evolve and accelerate advancement of the channel and embrace a diverse workforce.
 
What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
Our business celebrated a record year of growth and my leadership - both personally and professionally - within many of the organizations and associations I care deeply about, participate in and advocate for was recognized with accolades and appointments including:
• CompTIA Certified Team Award, 2016
• CompTIA, Channel Chief Giving Circle, 2016
• NACD Governance Fellow 2015, the highest level of credentialing for corporate directors and corporate governance professionals.
• Monterey College of Law, San Luis Obispo Branch, J.D. Candidate May 2017
• Appointed to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Computer Science and Software Engineering Industry Advisory Board
 
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
This year I realized how cool Carrie Fisher was. She was my childhood rebel princess idol in Star Wars, a film I saw a dozen times when it came out (1977). Her role as Princess Leia brought being a strong young woman to life for me. I loved everything about her on screen, and yet she showed us so much more off screen. She was brave in real life, speaking truth and sharing authentically about her challenges and triumphs with humor, family, co-stars and imperfect perfection.
 
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Find a coach. Select a mentor. Make friends with smart, positive-minded people. Join organizations and online groups. Ask questions. Take risks. Work hard. And read lots of biographies. Understanding the challenges and varying roads to success others have experienced accelerates the learning curve of life. We are in an amazing industry at an amazing time. There are always challenges to overcome, but the future is bright for those in the tech industry.
 
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Penny Carroll in Swing Time (1936). She was played by Ginger Rodgers and I love the elegant, flattering classic clothing of the 1930s and the effortless way she dances so beautifully. I started taking tap lessons again last year and would love to have her gift for a day - not to mention to dance with Fred Astaire would be a dream come true.
 
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Dubai for Expo 2020 - it will be the party of the 21st century! The world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, looks like a tower from the future or Star Wars. I love how the UAE has invested in technology to create a forward-looking nation that is only 40 years old. I want to fly in one of the new drone helicopters to my hotel, just like in the Jetsons cartoons. And of course, I'd want to visit a desert oasis to experience the Arabia of the past. I love seeing contrasts, understanding history and growth.
 
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