CDN 2016 Women of the IT Channel honouree Heather Schaan chose to be part of the IT channel from the get-go.
The Vice President & General Manager for CDN Top 100 solution provider Microserve of Vancouver had every intention of making IT a full-time pursuit.
IT whetted Schaan’s appetite during a summer job. Schaan is an exception to the rule, she acknowledged. For the most part young women do not look to IT or the channel as a career choice right out of school.
“This does highlight the point; IT is not something that draws women into the industry right out of college,” she said.
However, the disparage of men and women in IT was not something Schaan was aware of since most of her colleagues came from the sales department. “I think women are well represented on the sales side so I did not notice the lack of women in IT until I entered a leadership role,” Schaan said.
As a senior leader in the IT Channel community in Canada Schaan’s approach to gender diversity goes beyond just women. She told CDN that it’s important to her to promote all people and all the different groups such as the LGBT community. “It’s not just women we need to look after. I have an overall interest in being more inclusive so we have a well-rounded community,” she added.
That why the CDN Women of the IT Channel Luncheon’s 2016 theme “Pay It Forward” means to Schaan to keep believing in doing good things because “what goes around; comes around.”
“It’s always worth it to do something to help out others. I believe in karma,” she said.
Since joining Microserve in 2003, Schaan has worked across many areas of the business including sales, service management, proposal management, IT Staffing and recruitment. She is passionate in her belief that businesses have a responsibility to make a positive contribution to society, the environment, family, and access to education. She is especially proud to have helped establish and grow Microserve’s many scholarship and bursary funds with leading post-secondary institutions including Douglas College, BCIT, the University of Victoria and the University of Alberta.
Microserve is led by one of the more dynamic channel leaders in Canada in Spud Matthews. Spud along with Bruce Burke are two executives Schaan credits in helping her achieve so much in her career.
Another group Schaan wanted to mention is the Ingram Micro Canada Trust X Alliance Mastermind. Mastermind peer groups are open to owners and senior leadership of Ingram Micro partners who are interested in improving their business strategies and strengthening their leadership skills. Mastermind features information tracks that are designed to target areas of expertise in sales, marketing, services, operations, finance, human resources and technical certification.
In terms of diversity at Microserve, Schaan said the focus currently is on hiring the best person for the job. She admits that more can be done in this area and the company has implemented a minimum requirement for women candidates for every job posted. The company also developed a zero tolerance policy on workforce bullying.