Women Of The Channel: Sharing Their Own Experiences With Harassment, Executives Look Back But Vow To Build A Better Future For The Next Generation

Driven by the #MeToo movement, executives at the Women of the Channel East conference weigh in on what can be done to build a more positive, inclusive culture for the upcoming women in IT.

When Michelle Ragusa-McBain was fresh out of college, she entered Cisco’s Global Academy as the first step of her 13-year career stint at Cisco.

In the first session, said Ragusa-McBain, a woman who was teaching the global salespeople separated the men and the women, taking women into a room where she told them: “Girls, I want you to know that there will be married men at the bar, and they will take their rings off and hit on you. Don’t do anything -- it can impact your career.”

“I still think about that to this day. This woman is no longer with this company, but I think, ‘Why were we the ones that heard it? Why didn’t anyone talk to the gentlemen?’ said Ragusa-McBain, who now works as senior director of technology, sales and services at OfficeDepot and OfficeMax.

Sexual harassment was the focus at this year’s Women of the Channel East conference, hosted by The Channel Company, as executives came forward with their own stories of physical and verbal harassment and bullying in the workplace.

[Related: Women Of The Channel Panelists Discuss Workplace Harassment: We All Have 'An Integrity Chip ... You Have To Leave It In']

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