Published: August 17th, 2017

Like most young women, Caterina Sanders did not have a lifelong dream to work in the IT channel. However, the 20-year veteran and partner at longtime CDN Top 100 Solution Provider Habanero Consulting of Vancouver was looking for a career that was fun and exciting.

She just did not know her career would be in the tech sector.

Sanders found her place in the channel after participating in career counseling that indicated to her working in architecture engineering or Web design would provide an exciting career choice.

The only problem was that she had a Psych degree.

After a 10-month course, Sanders got skilled up and found work quickly.

Caterina Sanders

“I enjoyed everything I was exposed to. I found the work rewarding and I was drawn to the development of solutions and the coding side of things; that worked my visual design side and I just felt this career click,” she said.

Sanders first brush with technology came when she was working as a receptionist and the office just got the Internet. The company she worked for would bid on Government projects. She referenced a tall skinny booklet of Internet sites around the world. “It was just like the White Pages. I would flip through that and found Government Web sites in Canada so that I could see what projects were up for bids,” she said.

Sadly, she never kept that booklet.

While Sanders may not have dreamt of a career in the IT channel, she believes young women today are more empowered to choose STEM field careers.

“I think the paradigm is shifting. Tech is pervasive today and no one grows up to work in electrical. Its part of the bargain. My niece who is 11 has had a tablet and PC forever. She does not think about technology for one minute. Everything now is based on tech. Young women are opening their eyes to these careers in coding and in tech and in science,” Sanders said.

At this year’s CDN Women of the IT Channel Recognition luncheon, the main theme is “Find Your Tribe” and certainly Sanders has found her’s at Habanero

For Sanders just like her career, Habanero is a place where she can be herself. She finds everyone around her interesting and inspiring. Habanero has built a level of workplace friendship for not just Sanders but all the staff.

“We are evolving at Habanero and sometimes there is a danger of going too far in seeking fit.  You don’t want a homogeneous tribe. You want different backgrounds so that you don’t become part of the Borg,” she said.

“I’m surprised to be publicly recognized for just grinding away at something. But this is special. It’s great to know that a lot of my efforts at Habanero have popped up on the radar screen,” Sanders said about being Honoured at the 2017 CDN Women of the IT Channel Recognition Luncheon.

And, workplace is very important to Sanders. One of her proudest accomplishments was as director of employee experience at Habanero, the company was awarded the One of the Great Places to Work award by the Great Place to Work Institute.

“This was a group effort and we all worked hard to make it happen. And, it took some pulling in the right direction and I put in some structure, frameworks and approaches to win the award. And, I feel really good about that,” she added.