CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

One of our "Power 30 Solution Providers"

Sonia St. Charles

Chief Executive Officer, Davenport Group

Location: St. Paul, MN


Number of years in current position: 17

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 17

Twitter Handle: @SoniaStCharles

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Sits on a company board
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse

Biography and Background:
Sonia St. Charles, CEO of Davenport Group, brings more than 30 years of business experience to the company she co-founded in 2001. Her extensive business background in operations and management has led Davenport Group to achieve double digit growth year after year. Sonia guides the strategic vision and direction of the organization. Everyone who meets Sonia can see that she loves her customers dearly, and that her passion for Davenport Group knows no bounds.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I value Davenport Group's strong partnership with Dell EMC, and I believe that the relationship we've built with them has advanced our company's channel business. I am an active member of Dell EMC's Partner Advisory Board, which gives me the opportunity to engage with Dell EMC executives to improve channel strategies and initiatives. My engagement with Dell EMC allows Davenport Group to advocate for our customers, ensuring that the channel continues to grow and that both sides continue to benefit.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Over the upcoming year, Davenport Group will focus on strengthening our relationships with customers. We have always prioritized and valued our loyal customers first and foremost. As we work towards other goals in 2018, we will pay special attention to ways we can go above and beyond to meet the individual needs of our customers. We're also going to work toward expanding our channel business. Year after year, we've achieved double digit growth, and our goal is to continue that trend. To help us do that, we'll continue to grow our solution capabilities in Dell Technologies' vast portfolio.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Davenport Group continues to demonstrate rapid growth, and in 2017 we received two awards for our ongoing success. For the 5th year in a row, Inc. 5000 named Davenport Group to their list of America's Fastest Growing Private Companies. CRN also recognized Davenport Group by naming us to their 2017 Fast Growth 150 List. Personally, CRN honored my contributions to the channel by naming me as one of their Women of the Channel.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire Eleanor Roosevelt for her brilliance, her kindness, and her tenacity. Her advice and her achievements inspire me to do more and to do better every day. In her autobiography, she wrote that "the most important thing in any relationship is not what you get, but what you give." I believe this to be true, and I try to embody this wisdom daily. I believe that the more we give as people and as a company, the happier we'll be.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Growing up in a small, rural town (less than 1,000 people!) provided me with a pretty narrow view of the world; therefore, my understanding of what was possible was limited. Now I know that possibilities are endless with enough determination and creativity. If I could go back, I'd tell my 16-year-old-self to dream bigger. I'd tell her that anything is possible if you trust your instincts and always do your best work.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
When I was in college, I learned the programming languages FORTRAN and COBOL. I enjoyed this work, but I didn't stay with programming beyond college. If I could master a new job-related skill now, I'd love to learn to code with today's programming languages. I'm fascinated by the evolution of technology, and I would enjoy the opportunity to learn what computer programming looks like today.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
The best book I've read this year is Grit by Angela Duckworth. In Grit, Duckworth shows that a person's ability to stick to something despite obstacles, what she calls grit, is the best predictor of success. She champions perseverance and determination, emphasizing that anyone can develop grit. Her arguments resonated with me and my life experience. Grit has played a central role in the success of Davenport Group, and I'm very proud of what we've accomplished with our focus and our resolve. I think Grit is a great read for anyone looking for inspiration to achieve greatness.

Unedited Content Provided By Participants