The Canadian Channel Chiefs Council (C4) has embarked on a first-of-its-kind initiative to introduce new standards and increased professionalism to the channel community.
C4 has launched the Pathways Program, an extensive accreditation process for channel professionals in the IT industry.
Designed in consultation with some of Canada’s senior channel leaders, the Pathways Program will hone the talents and capabilities of channel professionals inside IT vendor organizations. It also seeks to elevate the important role channel executives play inside technology firms.
“We want to bring credibility to the role of the Channel Chief. The Council is seeking to make the job of the channel chief an official role,” says Paolo Del Nibletto, President of the C4.
“We believe this type of recognition is long overdue and that Pathways accreditation will give people looking to rise through the ranks in IT companies, a real advantage.”
A 2015 study, HR Perception of IT Training and Certification by CompTIA, one of the leading independent certification bodies in the world, indicated 91% of employers believe IT certifications play a key role in the hiring process and that IT certifications are a reliable indicator of employee success.
“This is the first program where channel knowledge is tested,” says Fawn Annan, Council Chair and President of ITWC. “To succeed at anything you have to measure it. With Pathways, we are setting the bar for the knowledge required to advance within the channel.”
Built on six core competencies identified by industry champions, participants are challenged to explore the priorities and then demonstrate an advance understanding of each area. Workshops and mentorship opportunities will be available to help ensure each candidates success.
The core competencies that are foundational to both the channel and the program are strategy, finance, managing change, channel building, marketing and operations.
“The work toward certification can be completed at the participant’s own pace with much of the learning opportunities focused on their own company,” says Annan. “It provides an opportunity for a deeper dive into their own operation than they might otherwise take.”
With every participant set up with a mentor, Annan said there is not only the opportunity for tapping the wisdom of industry leaders, but a chance for individuals to broaden their network.
The final exam takes the form of a 90-minute interview with a panel of industry experts. The inaugural panel includes:
Rick Reid: President of Tech Data Canada Inc. Under his leadership, Tech Data has become one of the primary providers of IT products, logistics and value-added services to Canada’s IT channel.
Grant Aitken: Former GM of VMware Canada. A proven business executive with a track record of building and leading channel sales teams for major global technology companies.
Dave Walsh: Former GM of C2G is a 28–year veteran of the IT industry. Walsh has been a part of executive leadership teams with Ingram Micro Canada and NEC. Walsh has extensive experience developing sales programs and processes along with strategic direction, channel planning and corporate marketing activities.
Mary Whittle: Former North American channel chief of Avaya. Whittle led efforts in developing Avaya’s channel development. She also held senior marketing and sales positions roles at Ingram Micro, Symbol Technologies and Motorola.