One of our "Power 30 Solution Providers"
Biography and Background:
I am a seasoned IT professional with 34 years in the IT industry. I have worked in four different industries in my career, including retail, healthcare, hospitality and a solution provider. I started as an entry-level professional and through schooling and cross-training opportunities worked my way from data control specialist to systems administrator, lead and manager positions, and then to the director level across IT Data Center Operations, Infrastructure, Application Support and Service Centers. I am passionate about customer service and delivering the best experience possible to internal and external customers. I am motivated by challenges and learning. Applying my experience to enable a business and employees to be successful fuels my motivation. I have always prided myself on my technical aptitude and leadership to help build, mentor and motivate teams to be forward thinkers in technology with focus on solutions that enable company's IT infrastructure to be secure, stable and scalable. In all of my positions I have developed the necessary skills to align customer needs with long-term solutions to IT challenges that meet or exceed client expectations.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
vCORE's sales team had a customer that had just assumed a role in a new company. The company was undergoing management changes and needed a seasoned Director of Infrastructure and Operations to help while they searched for a permanent candidate. I volunteered to fill the role while continuing with my current responsibilities. While working the customer we worked together to build an infrastructure roadmap and build up their staff to support their initiatives. Through this partnership we gained the trust of the customer which led to further business with vCORE which included infrastructure, software and services purchases. At the end of the engagement we I was proud to be a partner and most importantly gained a very happy customer.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
1. To integrate additional service offerings into our managed services area with offerings around desktop engineering, wireless monitoring and project management. 2. Mature our Network Operations Center to enterprise class with technical advancement in tier 1 and tier 2 support and provide advanced monitoring solutions for our customers. 3. Increase customer base by 20% while ensuring we offer a personal and customized approach to managed services. Our number one goal is to find solutions that work for our customers and provide the support needed to keep our customers secure, stable and scalable.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I earned vCORE's Quarterly "Hero" Award in 2017 for my work providing stability and expertise as interim director of IT for a client. The award was given by my manager, who said: "Colleen has taken the most critical projects off of the VP of IT and has taken the bull by the horns to drive them to success in this interim role. Colleen is a valuable team member to vCORE, and I appreciate her taking on this role well outside of what she was originally hired for.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
The person I admire is Corinne Abramson. I met Corinne when I was working at Choice Hotels and she was in HR. I admire the way she worked with people in difficult circumstances with her ability to speak in a way that removed the defensive posturing and helped to deescalate situations. I also worked with her on a diversity counsel that she led and I appreciated her thought leadership around diversity. She had a unique perspective on diversity that focused not only on traditional diversity that focused on backgrounds, but also about diversity of thought.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I would tell myself to keep doing what I was doing. I wouldn't change a thing - I played sports, was involved in school clubs and started working part time at McDonald's. I learned how to balance my time and enjoyed all of the activities. Sports helped me to be a team player and what winning and losing felt like, working gave me a sense of independence and responsibility, while being involved in school clubs showed me how to interact with people with my same likes and interests and how rewarding working on community projects made me feel.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
The new skill that I would want to master would be executive writing. I have definitely improved in this area over the years, but it is not a skill that comes easily to me. I would like to be at a point where writing at that level comes with ease instead of apprehension. Mastering this skill would make my writing more polished and credible at all levels of an organization. At the director level it is essential to have this skill so that you are looked at more credibly by the c-suite executives.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
"Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. " Over the last few years, I have been through the death of both parents, job loss and kids going off to college. This book reaffirmed my thinking that we all have another option in everything we do, we just don't like going to option B as it means we lost something that made option A unattainable. But Option B isn't bad, and you can find happiness along the way while realizing how resilient you are when faced with personal or professional adversity.
Unedited Content Provided By Participants