Biography and Background:
As vice president of industry outreach for CompTIA, Annette Taber creates and oversees the association's Vendor, Distributor, Partner, End User and Business Applications Advisory Councils. In this role, she is responsible for identifying and recruiting industry executives from SMEs focused on emerging technologies and business models for the councils. Previous to her work on the councils, she developed the CompTIA Ambassador Program which helps new members connect with long-time members so that they realize the connections, education and business tools available through their CompTIA membership. Taber has more than 25 years of technology industry experience, much of that garnered at Tech Data, where she started as a sales representative in 1991, and later moved on to launch and grow their systems engineering department to 70 engineers. Under Annette's leadership, the engineers created a Technical Sales Consultant curriculum for the company's 300 inside salespeople, for which she was honored with the Chairman's Circle Award. While at Tech Data, she also revamped the company's key customer community, TechSelect, growing it to 450 members. Taber is a graduate of the University of Maryland University College, where she has a degree in business management. She is also CTT+ certified as a technical trainer.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
As the IT industry's not-for-profit, global trade association, CompTIA supports the IT channel through education, research, workforce development, public policy, and philanthropy. During the past year, I have personally focused on engaging with our member companies at the highest levels, and expanding our membership beyond the traditional IT channel to include more independent software vendors (ISVs) and SaaS-based companies, as well as non-traditional channel firms including accountants and digital marketers who are now selling and recommending IT solutions. I've also spent a great deal of time in the field serving as an ambassador for CompTIA, listening to the challenges faced by those in the IT industry, and bringing back new and fresh ideas from the industry events to share with the CompTIA team and our members. I have also continued to recruit new members for the CompTIA Vendor, Distributor, Partner, End User Advisory Councils. In 2016, we launched the Business Applications Advisory Council, which currently has nine members. In the coming months, I be actively recruiting for this council, with the goal of growing it to 20 members by the end of 2017.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
As CompTIA expands its focus beyond the traditional IT channel, my goal in the coming year is to attend as many events as possible so that I may connect with more C-level executives from companies operating within key verticals such as healthcare and financial services. Through conversations at these events, I hope to gain a better understanding of the unique challenges they face, especially when it comes to cybersecurity, workforce development, the Internet of Things (IoT) and future technologies and business models. We will also dive further into topics related to smart cities and connected workplaces.
What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
During the past year, I received a Spot Bonus from Nancy Hammervik, Executive Vice President, Industry Relations at CompTIA for my efforts to produce a relevant AMM Agenda focused on Cybersecurity, Workforce Development and Industry Trends.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Easily I would say Toni Clayton-Hine. I had the privilege of working with Toni the last six years as a co-chair, then member, then sustaining member of CompTIA's Vendor Advisory Council. Toni has always been curious. She took full advantage of her engagement on the Councils, hammering away with questions to the group, trying to understand the various perspectives, and never hesitating to speak up if she needed clarification. I have always admired her for jumping in and getting what she needed from the conversation. You watch! In time, she'll transform the entire image of Xerox as we know it.
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Focus on your personal style, and communication skills. Always be yourself. Be transparent and share your passions and challenges, gravitate your career toward work experiences that support ongoing learning and that will stretch you professionally over time. The technology industry can be a bit overwhelming as it crosses every life path in some manner. It's best to do some research on where you might want to enter, either via technology, vertical market specialization, or maybe a specific role within the broader ecosystem like a trade association or distributor. Finally, learn how to differentiate your value in that specific market.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I would say Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy in the movie "The Blindside". I just love all of Sandra Bullock's work, but in this case, she showed great compassion, patience, and determination to help a young homeless man realize his potential as a student and football player. She not only brought him into her home and nurtured him, but more importantly she got her entire family and the football team to support him. She broke down the communication barriers he struggled with, and helped him understand the importance of his role to the team, something we should all remember!
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
I've always loved ancient archeology and TV shows surrounding the mysteries of the universe and our world, so the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru would be one of my top destinations. The city dates back to the mid 1400's and was built as an Incan Citadel, 7000 feet above sea level on the Andes plateau. It was completely unknown to the outside world until an American historian brought it to international attention in the early 1900's. Machu Picchu was considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in a recent worldwide Internet poll.
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