Erika Moll-Richardson’s impressive feat of becoming ProServeIT Corp.’s number one sales rep just 19 months into her tenure at the company is matched only by her drive and ability to serve as a mentor for other young women entering the world of IT.
It was therefore a no-brainer for her peers to nominate ProServeIT’s business development manager for this year’s CDN Women in the IT Channel Rising Star winner, an award she ultimately won Thursday afternoon. Eric Sugar, president at ProServeIT, said that Moll-Richardson’s growth and role as a salesperson has been “incredible” and that “the sky’s the limit for Erika.”
Richardson thanked her peers upon receiving the award.
“I love the culture at this job,” Richardson told CDN after receiving the award. “Their workplace culture is wrapped around the understanding that success and failure are so intertwined. They believe that the quicker you fail, the quicker you succeed … they tell me to play offence a lot and they’ve never clipped my wings.”
While her postsecondary studies didn’t have direct ties to the IT channel – a commonality among several of this year’s honourees – Richardson is well-versed in technology, specifically when it came to Microsoft products, thanks to her father Erik Moll, who spent nearly 19 years in IT, she explained.
“I’m definitely his little protege,” she laughed. “I’ve been eating, drinking and sleeping Microsoft since I was five.”
Her master’s degree in communication has also given her the necessary skills to develop strong relationship with customers, she said. So when the opportunity presented itself to jump from marketing directly into sales upon joining ProServeIT, she didn’t hesitate.
Putting a face behind the machine
Richardson was quick to say that contrary to its reputation, the IT channel presents plenty of opportunities for women to succeed – it’s just a matter of taking chances and building relationships.
“It doesn’t matter if I’m a man or a woman. All that matters is that I build relationships,” she said. “A lot of IT is just relationships and understanding that people want to grow their business, or they have problems that IT can generally solve. IT is people, so it’s about putting the face behind the machine.”
Colleges and universities don’t do a good enough job of highlighting the opportunities within the IT channel, especially for women, said Richardson.
“It wasn’t brought up as a career path. Even if you’re not in business, like in my case, I was in women’s studies and communications, I think my background helped me gain strong critical thinking and communication skills and they allow me to do my job very well.”
She also praised ProServeIT’s forward-thinking mentality, and ability to spot trends before they make an impact on the market.
“ProServeIT has been very good at taking leaps of faith into things that haven’t been repeated in history,” she said. “That agility and resilience has allowed ProServeIT and its employees to be better.”