CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Rita Younger

National Practice Lead SDDC, CDW

Location: St. Louis, MO


Number of years in current position: 2

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 16

Twitter Handle: @SDN_GIRL

Fun Facts:

Enjoys public speaking
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Is a mentor
Loves Spotify
Has a personal mantra
Had a lemonade stand
Always wanted to be an Olympian
Has a blog

Biography and Background:
Rita Younger is the National Practice Lead of Private Cloud at CDW. Rita is recognized as an industry expert in SDN, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and moving corporations to a true Self-Service Data Center model. She has shared her expertise serving as a speaker or panel member at many Network World and CIO Magazine events, and is a featured presenter at many industry and vertical conference including Cisco Live. Rita has a unique ability to explain the business value of technical solutions in way that is simple and consumable. Rita is responsible for leading CDW both from a presales and delivery perspective into the major network transition of software defined networking. Prior to being named the National Practice Lead, Rita spent 5 years as a Network Solution Architect for CDW focused on data center. Before joining CDW, Rita travelled globally with Cisco Advance Services providing data center and security training internally for Cisco engineers. She continues to work with the Cisco new hires mentoring them as they begin their technical careers. Rita maintains the following technical certifications: Cisco CCNP, HP Master ASE, VMware VCP-NV, and Microsoft MCSE, and holds a B.S. in Communications from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
With so many partners and vendors competition for priority access to the BUs can be fierce. I have developed personal relationships at the highest levels at Cisco, providing CDW unprecedented access to the BUs supporting data center products. CDW has been invited to internal product pre-release events, and has participated in engineering rotations at Cisco. This year I am focused on forming the same types of relationships with other partners including HP, IBM and VMware.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
The goal for CDWs data center practice is to develop next generation data center solution that meet our customers' business goals. We will continue to educate customers on the Journey to Hybrid Cloud. CDW will also evaluate multiple vendor solutions for in the Private/Hybrid cloud space.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was named 2017 Cisco Champion for contributions to the technical community through social media, blogs and education.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire Soni Jiandani, she is the "S" of the famed "MPLS" Cisco engineers that innovated Cisco's main product lines. Soni is one of the greatest minds in IT but she has one thing that sets her apart from any other technologist of her caliber, she has personality. Soni can explain a topic at the level that fits the audience and makes everyone feel important. While Soni is a wonderful person, when she means business, she means business; no excuses get things done.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
I mentor young women in IT and I always give the same advice. Don't think of yourself as a woman in IT, just think of yourself as an IT professional. Come to every meeting prepared, and show them your technical aptitude. Don't let anyone overshadow you. Finally, get comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, if you are not comfortable; take a speech or drama class, practice speaking, it is an art. The ability to speak to technical and non-technical audiences can take your career to a new level.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
If I could be a movie character for one day in real life I would be Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany's played by Audrey Hepburn. Holly lives a glamorous life through socializing is being taken to high end restaurants and clubs, and is given expensive gifts. She likes to shock people with outspoken viewpoints on a variety of topics. I chose Holly because she is 180 degrees different than I am. I have never lived a glamorous life and would love just for one day to see what that life would be like.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
I have always dreamed of going to Egypt and seeing the pyramids. I marvel at the human engineering that went into the creation of ancient building and artifacts. I want to ride a camel and meet with the bedouins who live such a different lifestyle than those of us in the Western world.

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