CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Gail Wilson

President, GWA Business Solutions Canada Inc.

Location: Markham, ON


Number of years in current position: 35

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 35

Twitter Handle: @gailsmyname

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Instagram
Is an extrovert
Can ride a horse
Likes playing video games
Has written a song
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
Gail Wilson started her business in 1983 (35 years July 15, 2018). Starting out training on the basics of computers and applications of the day, Gail also taught both day and night school part time in the 1980's. Gail has written many courses over the years and has a love for automation and technology. Growing up in a house where the technology was always the latest has helped Gail's love for this field blossom. Joining the channel has really helped Gail to adapt to the changes in the world quickly. Besides running the business, Gail has been married 25 years and has a 16 year old son. Today, while continuing to grow GWA, Gail speaks at various venues regarding technology and the future as well as Industry 4.0.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
We really made some strides with our manufacturing clients. This was a goal from previous years that I am happy to say is going well. The big challenge always is people. Mentoring staff and sub contractors so that they can be the best that they can be is a mandate I personally have. Our business grew 20% over the previous year which is exciting to see. Mainly the construction and manufacturing sector has been embracing technology and this has helped the business. Attending conferences helps us to stay up to date with the latest technology as well. Here at GWA we do a lot of training. Our staff are constantly taking courses to improve their skills and this enables me to advance the business. To me training is key. Also, we have advanced our technology. With the help of some tools, we are now fully integrated with Sage CRM, Office 365 and loving it. As well we went paperless with our Accounts Payable. This enables me to oversee the business no matter where I am and approve invoices that need my eyes on them without anyone asking me and.without any paper! Technology and training were big this past year.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
We are continuing to grow the manufacturing and construction business. Our biggest task is to take on a mid-market solution. We have chosen to join Sage's cloud offering for the mid market "Sage Intacc". We are just signing up and getting started with this. GWA needs to have a strong accounting cloud software for our clients that are ready. Currently our offering is hybrid cloud. This works for many clients, but as things move along, cloud mid-market accounting needs to be at the forefront.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Sage Platinum Reseller once again. This year has been a growth year. While usually some sort of volunteering at the school or coaching sports is done, this past year was one that was full of other commitments. Personal and business losses. We lost a great team member to heart disease here at GWA. Unfortunately this didn't leave any time for the volunteer work. But it is 2018!

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I met an amazing new lady last year Catherine Dahl. Who is she? Catherine won the "Woman Entrepreneurship Award" award in September 2017 from "Start UP Canada" for. She was also nominated for the YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards. I appreciate Catherine because we share a passion for making accounting and systems in general better. We need more women in IT that show this kind of energy and guts to take on what she has. Catherine is the CEO of an Accounts Payable Automation company that I now recommend and use.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Do what you love. Make sure that you have the passion and energy for the career you choose. Don't take NO for an answer. Overall the world is really full of yeses or "no's" with some obstacles to overcome. When you do get a no; keep in mind that you are closer to a yes. Don't be so hard on yourself. Remember that likely when you are going through a bad time, you cannot remember what you were doing a year ago - lesson: don't fret. Trials makes us stronger and will be a distant memory that you rarely recall.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would say that would have to be growing a tougher skin. As a woman, you have a lot to compete with in the IT field. Sometimes, I have to really fake being tough and I think I could be better at it. But on the other hand, maybe that is why I have been in business 35 years this July and still love what I do.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
The Automatic Customer is a favorite business book. At GWA we have moved to a subscription based business with our clients for service and most of the software. It is so much better because we are closer with our clients than ever before. We always meet their expectations for turn around and the proactive services we now do for them have really increased customer satisfaction. The goal at GWA is to not only help our clients automate their businesses but also give outstanding customer service. Subscription based services enable us to do this better.

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