CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Yvette Awa

Sr. Manager, Business Operations, Arrow Electronics

Location: Mississauga, Ontario, Canada


Number of years in current position: 11

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 23

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Spotify
Has a personal mantra
Has completed a marathon
Had a lemonade stand
Always wanted to be an Olympian

Biography and Background:
"I am a career-loving parent." I recently read that in the Sheryl Sandburg book, Lean In. I thought that was an awesome way to describe what I do and who I am. I love my career and my family equally. I've been able to do what I do because I've been married to my supporting husband, Vernon, for almost 21 years. We have two great children, Joshua, 15, and Sydney, 12. My kids are first generation born Canadians, while my parents immigrated to Toronto towing me and my young siblings in 1973. I grew up in a very strict household where my siblings and my first cousins were my best friends. Since I was always surrounded by family, I have very strong family values that I instill in my kids. I love to read books. My guilty pleasure is romance novels, but I will never pass up reading an autobiography about someone I want to know more about. I love reading about people's lives and their experiences and what they want to share with the world. I can always take something from the autobiographies I read and relate it back to myself or ways to improve myself.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Last year, I accepted an expanded role as a Partner Relationship Manager with focus on operational excellence with a couple of our strategic customers. My role was to take our operational value and educate these customers on how we can better align to ease how we do business together. This includes onboarding our customers through e-commerce transactions; educating them on the tools and technology we're implementing to help with their experience on the front-end as we work toward that online buying experience; and facilitating continuous process improvement. Through work within my role, we now demonstrate a more customer-centric operational discipline and more partner entanglement, all while we deliver superior customer experience. More and more, we're seeing a shift in what we used to do from an operational perspective. Now, it's all about what services we offer to make the transaction experience seamless and automated so customers can have their employees focus their efforts on looking for opportunities to grow their business. The relationship we've built with these existing customers is more of a partnership.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
It's really simple. We want to expand and grow the operations partner relationship value to other partners. We've seen such success with the pilot program we did last year, that we're looking at our talent to see who best fits this role and who wants evolve their breadth of experience. Every year, our operational business is becoming more and more of a service organization to our partners - our goal is to keep going in this direction.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
This is tough to answer because I admire a lot of women, including women I work with and read about. I am very drawn to women who have a great story to share, like where they came from and the how they got to be where they are today. When I think of people I work with, Nichole Wiley-Marks comes to mind. I admire that she's always able to tell a compelling story without compromising who she is as a person. She's authentic, genuine and intelligent. She doesn't have to be a nasty business woman to get things done.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
I like to think about this as if I were giving advice to my daughter. I'm not sure I can provide advice on her entering a career in only technology. My advice to young women in any industry is to be fearless, but do it with integrity. Be open to learning new things to stay relevant. It's always okay to make mistakes and take chances. Lately, all I think is, "What if I weren't afraid - what would I be doing?" and I go do exactly what I think I'm afraid of and make decisions without that fear.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I love all the Marvel movies and their characters, especially Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. I love that they do everything at all costs to save the world. It's almost how I feel I go about my personal life and professional life - there is no problem that can't be solved!

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Maybe the cliche of wanting to go to Paris is overdone, but I would love to go there. I'm a real sucker for romance, good restaurants, people watching and fashion, and having great place to grab a coffee and desserts is very appealing to me.

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