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Women Say This Resource Group Helps Coworkers Elevate Their Careers

February 14, 2019   |  

Not everyone can say they work at a company that’s making strides to be a leader in empowering women. CDW coworkers are a rare exception, though. The company’s Women’s Opportunity Network (WON), a business resource group (BRG), is on a mission to help CDW foster an inclusive culture where women are actively engaged and can realize their fullest career potential. By providing resources and facilitating connections, WON is laser-focused on ensuring that women at CDW succeed, while also driving the company’s key business objectives.  

If you think this sounds too good to be true, we hear you. To get a sense of what this group actually looks like, and how they go about walking the talk, we checked in with WON’s Board of Directors. Christine Holloway, VP of Healthcare Sales and WON Executive Sponsor; Hilary Malina, Senior Counsel and WON Co-Chairwoman; and Tara Barbieri, Director of Capture and WON Co-Chairwoman filled us in on how WON is transforming women’s career experiences — and also shared their No. 1 piece of advice for job seekers.

How and why did you first get involved in CDW’s Women’s Opportunity Network?

Christine Holloway: I have a passion for the development and advancement of women in IT and at CDW. I was impressed with the level of commitment and investment from CDW’s executive leadership (both men and women) to this BRG, so I was confident that the time I was investing would be taken seriously and have an impact.

Tell me a bit about how the Business Resource Group (BRG) works.

Hilary Malina: WON is our largest BRG with a board of directors, executive committee sponsors, and six committees. We have five committees that focus on planning programs and events throughout the year, each with a different focus area and target audience, plus a logistics committee.

Our three goals for 2018 were to: 

  1. Provide development activities that impact professional and/or personal growth;
  2. Increase opportunity for connections with key influencers (internal or external); and
  3. Increase our impact on an overall inclusive culture at CDW and within our communities.

Events and programs vary over a broad range, and have included speaker panels, trainings on a variety of business topics, networking events, a business-focused book club, a quarterly newsletter, and charitable events. Between the committees and the board, we consistently run over 30 events and programs each year, including our signature event, our annual Women’s Summit providing a full day of professional development for approximately 200 coworkers each fall. Our committees are required to align each of their events and programs to one of our three strategic goals, so that they are producing maximum impact. 

What has WON accomplished that you’re most proud of? 

Tara Barbieri: In 2018, we made a deliberate effort to partner with other BRGs at CDW and host combined events. Every other affinity group also includes women: African Heritage Network, MARC (military & allies), ABLE (focused on supporting differently abled coworkers), and so on. We saw this as a way to both support broader inclusion efforts throughout the organization and provide impactful content to women who aren’t necessarily members of WON.

What’s the #1 thing you think your colleagues should know — but probably don’t know — about CDW’s Women’s Opportunity Network?

CH: The Women’s Opportunity Network drives results. There are numerous examples of women who have become better at their current job, better prepared for their next role and successfully earned that new position, and have remained CDW coworkers because of the value and relationships formed from being a part of WON. All of this makes CDW a stronger, more successful organization. Additionally, because of the investment made in WON and the results it drives, CDW has earned recognition for being a place that supports and promotes the advancement of all people, including women. 

What’s your #1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?

CH: Consider positions that will broaden your experience and add value to an organization, not just those that are the next level up. Truly great leaders have a both broad and deep expertise. And when you’re interviewing for the position you want, make sure you speak about your accomplishments and the results you achieved in quantifiable terms. Leaders want to know that you can focus, prioritize and achieve measurable results.

HM: Don’t underestimate the power of creating and using your network when looking for a new job.

TB: With the unemployment rate being pretty low, job seekers these days might have more options and even multiple offers.  Before starting to interview, write down the elements of a role or company that are most important to you to avoid getting wowed by a cool perk that you hadn’t expected. Rate the companies and leaders you interview with on a scale so that when you’ve got more than one offer, your objectivity informs your eventual choice.

This article originally appeared on Fairygodboss.com and is republished by CDW with permission.

Fairygodboss

Not everyone can say they work at a company that’s making strides to be a leader in empowering women. CDW coworkers are a...

BeU – Celebrating Black History Month at CDW

February 4, 2019   |  

Has there been a time when you felt that you couldn’t be yourself at work? A time when you felt that if you showed who you really were to people, they wouldn’t accept you? Well I have felt that way before, and I’ve heard from many others who have felt that way too. After some time, I am happy to say that I can be my authentic self at CDW. Throughout my career, I’ve learned that to build trusted relationships, people need to get to know the real you. When I started to open up and allow people to know who I am, I felt accepted and more comfortable in my environment. I realized, it’s ok to be different—that’s why it’s so important to celebrate diversity.

One of the ways we celebrate diversity at CDW is through our Business Resource Groups (BRGs). I am the Co-Chair of CDW’s Black Excellence Unlimited (BeU) BRG, which strives to create an environment where coworkers can confidently be themselves and be welcomed by others through coworker support and inclusion. BeU’s mission is to provide resources and development opportunities for CDW’s Black coworkers that enables them to achieve excellence and have a positive impact on our customers and community.

We want this group to be a reminder to everyone that it is ok to be your authentic self, both in and out of the workplace.

During Black History Month, BeU will host a variety of activities and events under the theme “The Excellence in You.” We want to create opportunities for our members that will help them bring out the excellence within as we celebrate the month’s significance and jumpstart 2019.  

We’ll kick off the month with events that showcase some of CDW’s Black leaders as they share their journeys to excellence and career success. Events throughout the month will be centered around professional and personal development, networking and celebration of our mission. Our signature event, “The Journey to Excellence,” will provide coworkers with the opportunity to learn about Black History Month, hear from our keynote speaker, Marc Morial, President of National Urban League, and exposure to CDW’s leadership.

While BeU is hosting several events to make an impact on our coworkers, we’ll also be impacting our communities by hosting a month-long book drive at several of our CDW locations across the U.S. Our goal is to collect over 1,000 coworker-donated books that will be given to under privileged children.

The Black History Month activities and events will be a great start to our year and set the tone for a successful 2019 – a year to grow, to make new connections, celebrate success, and feel confident in being your authentic self. With everything we do, we strive to create a community within CDW and help coworkers perform at the highest level in their roles. I’m excited for the future of BeU – the opportunities it will offer CDW’s Black coworkers and the commitment to diversity and inclusion it represents for all CDW coworkers.  

Don’t forget to BeU and be excellent today!

Get to know all of CDW’s Business Resource Groups and their missions here.

Qiana Nelson

Qiana is a Sales Manager at CDW, supporting the development of new sellers through our Residency Program. Qiana is also the Co-Chair of CDW’s Business Resource Group, Black Excellence Unlimited (BeU).

Has there been a time when you felt that you couldn’t be yourself at work? A time when you felt that if you showed who you...

Securing an Internship: Your Competitive Advantage

February 1, 2019   |  

Now is the time of year when you’re either evaluating internship offers, or just getting started in your search. Internship opportunities are extremely competitive, and for many students the process may seem more challenging than promising. Here are some reassuring steps to give you a competitive advantage.

 As recruiters, we are looking for students who are involved in activities outside of just going to classes: volunteering, sports, student organizations, Greek life, part time or full time jobs, all of which demonstrates your time management skills plus your drive and initiative.

Are you active on LinkedIn? With over 467 million members worldwide, it is one of the most popular social networks in terms of active users. Engage with connections to increase your visibility—you never know what connections can get you closer to that internship. Attend company events hosted at your university or college to make in-person connections with recruiters. Being able to put a face with a name will give you a competitive advantage. Make sure to follow up with the recruiter immediately after the career fair so that you can stay top of mind. Be sure to follow their advised steps when completing the application process.

Maybe you've made it to the interview process, but have no idea what to expect. While processes vary by company and industry, it is important to be familiar with behavioral based questions—those tell me about a time, specific questions— more than 70% of Fortune 500 companies use these questions to identify your future success if they were to present you with an offer. These questions require preparation and can best be answered utilizing the STAR method.

Selling yourself should be the easiest step in receiving an internship offer. As recruiters we are interested in your accomplishments, awards, your involvement, and most importantly what value you can bring to our company.

Stay positive and be confident in your abilities. Companies are looking for you just as much as you are looking for us.

Learn more about CDW's Summer Internship Program here

Melanie Parker

Melanie is a Campus Recruiter on our Talent Acquisition Team and supports our diversity efforts on campuses across the U.S.

Now is the time of year when you’re either evaluating internship offers, or just getting started in your search. Internship...

CDW Celebrates Inclusion #ABLE

January 31, 2019   |  

Recently, I attended the Unconscious Bias and Inclusion Practices in the Workplace event. This event was sponsored by the Alliance for Business Leading Equality (ABLE) which is a Business Resource Group here at CDW. Over 80 coworkers across various CDW locations met and took time to enjoy lunch and network before Lora Laverty, CDW Sr. Corporate Counsel and ABLE Co-Chair, opened the event.

Lora began the presentation with a recent story where she learned a personal lesson – was it because of a bias she wasn’t aware of? That was the reason we were all there. This drew in the crowd. Lora then introduced the main speaker, Stephen Cornejo of Allstate, who began the main presentation. Stephen discussed how to recognize social stereotypes about people outside of our own conscious awareness. He went on to talk about how we need to be aware of our own biases and walked us through the “cognitive illusions” going on in our brains. 

We broke into small groups for discussion on personal experiences with bias – either a good or bad assumption made about you or an incorrect assumption you made about another person. As a large group, some coworkers then shared their examples. One coworker shared how she was asked where she was from and when she responded “Greenwich,” her professor assumed she had come from money and made a comment about this. Not everyone from Greenwich, CT is from money and this assumption made the coworker feel both frustrated and uncomfortable.

I learned a lot during this event and hope other attendees did too. The takeaways from this event were: 1) recognize our biases and when we are most susceptible to unconscious bias and 2) actively work to interrupt them. 

Sometimes we need to stop and think about things just a moment longer or challenge ourselves as to what we are really thinking to make the right decisions.

I look forward to learning more about #ABLE and the events they will be doing to celebrate inclusion here at CDW. #inclusion #unconsciousbias

Ericca Glasgow

Ericca is a Manager, Enterprise Information Management at CDW and a member of our Business Resource Group, ABLE.

Recently, I attended the Unconscious Bias and Inclusion Practices in the Workplace event. This event was sponsored by the...

Networking: Developing Your Own Coalition of Professional Allies

January 31, 2019   |  

When you think about networking, what first comes to mind? An “icky” networking event, working the room, perhaps even a used car salesperson? It’s these images of networking that can drive people to avoid it all together. This would be a great mistake for you and your career! There is no question that developing a network is extremely important to professional success. Merriam-Webster defines networking as “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”  But how do you cultivate productive relationships that will help your career? First, don’t think about it in traditional terms. You must think more expansively and find a way to make it your own. Some phases to think about:

Identify your network

Everyone has a network. Think broadly. Your network not only consists of business colleagues from your current job and past positions, it also includes family members, people from the neighborhood, people from school, etc. Take a few minutes and write down the top 5-10 people that you most like, most connect with, that could most help you professionally. This exercise can help you to identify some people who you should reach out to for lunch or coffee to strengthen your relationships, and prevent them from going dormant.  Most importantly, think about what you have to offer them -- as networking, when done right, is about connecting with people you like, that you can help that can help you, too. 

Build your network

It is critically important to build both internal and external networks of people who can help you, advise you, and advocate for you within the workplace.  Here are a few thoughts on how to accomplish this:

  • Do your homework and figure out who would be good people to talk with and learn from, based on your interests – both personal and professional.
  • Think about your primary motivation for networking – To support your company? Help your clients? Share your expertise?
  • Be open to chatting with new people at events and parties. Try not to only talk with the people you already know. Expand your network to new people – you never know where it might lead.
  • Think about what you can offer to the people you meet -- Expertise? Advice? Time? Friendship? Your connections?  A different perspective?
  • Focus on learning – show interest in others and their work/interests.
  • Don’t worry if you feel “awkward” – as this is how most people feel when networking with new people. But the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes.  And once you’ve met someone and spoken with them, the next time you meet, the awkwardness either doesn’t exist or goes away quickly – so you just need to get over that initial hurdle.
  • Whether people like you often depends upon whether they think you like them.  It is important to be genuine – not fake. The easiest way to be likeable is to be curious – learn about others, ask questions.
  • Don’t be the person who is known only to call someone when you need something.  True relationships are not built on what YOU need -- they are reciprocal, with both parties getting something out of it.

Use your network

Do not be afraid or embarrassed to use the network you have. While the hire decision ultimately should be based on qualitifications, hiring managers appreciate input from someone they trust, and may be more apt to consider those candidates before looking at the resumes of unknown strangers. It turns out, according to research done by LinkedIn, that it’s weaker connections that lead to job connections, so keep this in mind – you never know where that opportunity will come from. 

When I think about my 20+ year career, many of my job interviews happened after someone I knew referred me to the hiring manager. In one case early in my career (pre-CDW), when I sent my resume initially, I did not get a call back – but when that same resume was sent by a family friend that was a trusted colleague of the hiring manager, I got an interview and ultimately the job.  It didn’t get me the job, it just made sure I was seen and considered.

This advice does not just apply to new roles – it also applies to new experiences and assignments.

If there’s a new skill you want to learn, a department you want to shadow, a project you want to join, or a technology you are curious about – use your network to find someone to help you get that experience.

If the request is reasonable, rarely will you be told “no” when you ask someone else for help. It’s human nature to want to help others, and often it’s flattering to be asked to teach someone about your area of expertise.  

Networking is really just meeting new people and being open to new points of view – so get out there and get networking!

Hilary Malina

Hilary is a Senior Counsel at CDW and Chair of our Business Resource Group, Women's Opportunity Network.

When you think about networking, what first comes to mind? An “icky” networking event, working the room, perhaps even a...

Learning to Lead at CDW Tampa

January 31, 2019   |  

Tampa, a cozy metropolis where our office is settled thirty seven floors up from the ground with nothing but grand expectations. From humble beginnings at our office’s launch in 2011, I feel tremendously grateful for the personal and career development that changed my life and led me into leadership at CDW. 

I wasn’t always a Sales Manager. In fact, when I started at CDW in 2011, I only was excited to begin a career that would ultimately help pay off my student loans. Little did I know, that the foundation of CDW’s decades of success, infused with the culture of our Tampa team, created a home that I truly saw myself growing into.

That growth was attributed to the commitment of my Sales Manager and Sales Director who poured coaching, feedback, and encouragement into our team.

Their ability to get the best out of others and remain down to earth, caring leaders inspired myself and a number of my peers to pursue paths into sales management.

I loved our strategy sessions and their guidance while visiting customers in market. I loved the fun energy they brought to the office every day. I loved their eagerness to know what was important to me, and achieve my goals in and out of the office. The passion they had for their roles and their people sparked a new desire for my career path.

As a Sales Manager now, my favorite part in the role today is that moment when our Account Managers recognize their potential within our company; limitless. This occurs at different stages for each seller, and I love the responsibility to cultivate that attitude throughout its fruition. Working with them side-by-side to develop their skill set and build customer relationships is so rewarding. I love seeing the progression when Account Managers start working with clients for the first time through trust-building engagement, to become strategic advisers who influence the direction of organizations we know and purchases from ourselves.

While my time in Chicago carries on full steam ahead, knowing Tampa is searching for their next leader makes me eager for what lies ahead. There is such a positive power in that place where the next leader will get to have an influential impact on so many for years to come. We set the bar high when we moved thirty seven floors up, creating a line of sight over the state to capture Florida and beyond. Who else will rise up to the challenge?

Go for IT. Explore careers with CDW.

Alex Miles

Alex is a Sales Manager at CDW and leads a team of Account Managers to grow their business and solve our customers IT challenges.

Tampa, a cozy metropolis where our office is settled thirty seven floors up from the ground with nothing but grand...

The Culture of Connecting Coworkers at CDW

January 31, 2019   |  

My first exposure to cultural awareness began 20 years ago when my family and I moved from ethnically diverse Orange County, California to a small town in central Indiana. It was where the question, "where are you from?" didn't refer to where I had just moved from but referred to my ethnicity. For the first time, I realized I was culturally different--it showed--and mattered.

I graduated from a private high school with a class of 68 students, 2 of whom were Black and I was the only Asian who wasn't a foreign exchange student. When I went to college at Purdue, I had the opportunity to become involved with other Asian students that had similar experiences as I. And at that point, I was able to celebrate what had, until then, been differences--and it changed my college experience.

When it came time to find an employer, one of my needs was to find a company that had a strong culture of celebrating peoples of different backgrounds, which are represented across eight different Business Resource Groups (BRGs) at CDW.

I currently serve as the Chair for CDW's Pan-Asian BRG where 200+ members are enabled and supported to grow their careers and recognize Asian culture--May is the month celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage all across the U.S. and CDW celebrates throughout the month and into June through our work with the National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) and other local corporations and non-profits. I’m so proud of our Asian Coworkers who’ve used our BRGs as a platform to lean into their careers and to CDW for making room at the table! 

Now when I meet new people at events and I'm asked, "where are you from?" I say, "I'm from CDW!"

Above is a vendor partner of Vietnamese heritage that celebrated Lunar New Year in our offices with a product demo

Above is the annual Dragon Boat race that CDW's Pan Asian Council participates in with other Chicago-area Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and BRGs

Kim Hangoc

Kim is a Strategic Sales Tools Analyst at CDW and Chair of our Business Resource Group, Pan Asian Council.

My first exposure to cultural awareness began 20 years ago when my family and I moved from ethnically diverse Orange...

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