Woman of the Day - July 5, 2017

Sonia St. Charles

Chief Executive Officer, Davenport Group

Location: St. Paul, MN

URL: http://www.davenportgroup.com

Number of years in current position: 16

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 16

Twitter Handle: @SoniaStCharles

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss
Enjoys public speaking
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has a personal mantra
Can ride a motorcycle
Had a lemonade stand

Biography and Background:
Sonia St. Charles, co-founder and CEO of Davenport Group, brings more than 30 years of business experience to the company she helped create in 2001. Sonia leads the strategic vision and direction of this rapidly growing IT Solution Provider. Davenport Group has achieved double-digit growth every year and has been named to Inc. Magazine's 500|5000 Fastest Growing Companies for four consecutive years.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
As an active member of Dell's Partner Advisory Board, this past year I provided input and advice on the new partner program that Dell EMC recently announced to the channel. The combination of these two companies was very exciting for the channel yet caused a bit of concern due to the level of change for all parties involved. By developing relationships on both sides of the house (Dell and EMC), we were able to navigate the questions and uncertainty with less trepidation until the new program was announced.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
The IT industry is rapidly changing, and there is significant market consolidation continuing to occur. As part of our growth strategy, Davenport Holding Group will continue to seek and acquire companies that help us realize a more significant market presence and expand our customer offerings.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
In the past year, I was named by CRN as one of the Top 100 Women in the Channel. CRN also recognized Davenport Group and me as one of the honorees on the Women Of The Channel: Power 30 Solution Providers. Davenport Group was also named to the Inc. Magazine 500|5000 List of Fastest-Growing Privately held Companies for the fourth consecutive year.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I have been most inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt. Her life lessons and shared wisdom are timeless. During college, I read her quote, "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness" and that resonated with me then and has shaped much of my outlook over the years. She was a great woman that used her power and influence, wisely.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
My advice to young women seeking a career in technology is "Do it!" Jump in, embrace the opportunity to learn the language and understand the opportunities to be a part of this exciting field. Everyone needs to have a fundamental understanding of technology to observe and shape the role technology plays in our life and the world at large. The technology industry needs more women and this is a great time to get involved.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
In the movie, The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon is a professor of religious iconography and symbology from Harvard University. What I love about this character is his depth of knowledge and how he uses that knowledge to solve a mystery. Indiana Jones is more adventurous example of a similar character. The thought of using your knowledge to solve a mystery while having an adventure appeals to my personality.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Lhasa, which means "Land of the Gods" and is over 1,300 years old, sits in a valley next to the Lhasa River in China. Lhasa is an important city in Tibet as the home of the Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama and one of the highest elevated cities in the world at 11,500 feet. Despite being absorbed into greater China, Lhasa is reported to have retained much of its culture. While I am not a Buddhist, I have an appreciation of the religion and love to visit places that remain less changed by the passage of time.

Previous WotC Woman of the Day: Cheryl Cook, Dell EMC