INVESTING IN FEMALE ENTREPRENEURSHIP PAMELA PELLETIER
Pamela Pelletier is a National Sales Director with Dell EMC and a part of the senior leadership team. She has a proven leadership track record and more than15 years of experience driving sales growth in the technology industry. She thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the company’s reach. Pamela coaches and mentors colleagues at Dell EMC and within the broader IT industry by leading several groups that aim to help women in tech reach their full potential.
What can you tell us about the annual Dell Women Entrepreneur Network Summit (DWEN) and how is it encouraging women to become entrepreneurs?
Through the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell supports and nurtures a community of female entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, networks and capital. Through inspiring keynotes, informative panels and innovative workshops, the DWEN Summit is the not-to-be-missed event for entrepreneurs seeking resources and support to help them achieve their entrepreneurial aspirations.
More women are starting businesses at an exponential rate and women-owned businesses are essential to the success of the global economy. While these businesses contribute significantly to the economy and our society, their potential for impact can be limited at times due to financial, cultural and political barriers women often face as they scale their businesses.
Investing in women and helping them advance professionally is a key priority at Dell and the contributions of our female employees, leaders, customers, suppliers and partners are integral to every aspect of our business. We’re actively supporting our customers with improved access to capital, technology, networks and information – areas where women have historically been under served and where we feel we can make a significant impact.
As the national director at Dell EMC Canada, what would you say is the biggest challenge that women entrepreneurs face, especially those who are in the technology industry?
Women face a number of challenges across industries, but what we’ve learned from the WE Cities Report is the number one challenge women entrepreneurs, face is access to capital and this is exacerbated in the technology industry. This makes it drastically more difficult to successfully grow and scale their businesses.
Other challenges women entrepreneurs are facing come in the form of culture and talent. Cultural norms and their policy implications put serious binds on female entrepreneurs. As well as talent, both in terms of the entrepreneurs’ own talent (including education and experience) and having access to a skilled staff.
As a woman in a leadership role, do you believe that you’re bringing in a new perspective as opposed to if it was a man in your role?
I think that regardless of gender, we all have valuable perspectives and opinions to bring to the table. The underrepresentation of women, specifically in the tech sector, is a more than 40-year-old challenge and its going to take some time to get to where we need to be, but I’m encouraged by the role Dell is playing to contribute to making a change. We are focused on becoming the industry leader in having women progress to their highest potential, and I’m proud to play a role in helping support and encourage women to rise to leadership roles both, internally through Employee Resource Groups such as Women in Action, and externally through programs such as DWEN.
What do you believe is the number one benefit of encouraging women in the path of entrepreneurship?
The number one benefit for encouraging women in the path of entrepreneurship is supporting women’s economic empowerment. This will boost productivity and increase economic diversification and income equality.
Women are underrepresented in business today and that is a missed opportunity—not just from a moral standpoint but an economic one. Ultimately, we want to show women the ways they can find resources, mentors and other women to connect with, and drive policy change to create an environment where women can successfully grow and scale their businesses. Women-owned businesses are significant drivers of job creation and economic growth, so by encouraging women in the path of entrepreneurship, women will be continually driving success in the communities around them.
The WE Cities report revealed that Toronto and Vancouver are among the top cities in which women entrepreneurs are leading. Why do you believe that is?
While we saw in an increase of women entrepreneurs in all cities included in the WE Cities report, both Canadian cities are very desirable places for women entrepreneurs to succeed. Where they once would have had to travel to New York or Silicon Valley to connect with the right resources, Canadian women can now tap into resources and networks, domestically.
Toronto and Vancouver are known for their inclusive and diverse cultures and are more connected than ever before. An increase in funding and a strong women’s capital base allows Toronto and Vancouver to support women entrepreneurs now more than ever. Additionally, with favourable polices geared towards women entrepreneurship, both markets are extremely desirable. Women in both cities have a high skill set and an abundance of experience combined with access to qualified personnel. Moving forward, Toronto and
Vancouver need to focus on driving capital to further drive business growth, as well as ensure solid foundations for women to learn new skills.
Can you tell us about some of the initiatives and programs that Dell Technologies has implemented to support women entrepreneurship?
Dell’s flagship program to support female entrepreneurship is DWEN, and through this program, we help women-owned businesses access the right technology, networks and resources required to grow. In addition, through the WE Cities research, Dell is arming city leaders and policymakers with actionable, datadriven research on the landscape for women entrepreneurs. We can collectively accelerate the success of women-owned businesses around the world. When we invest in women, we invest in the future; communities prosper, economies thrive and the next generation leads with purpose. Dell will continue to leverage WE Cities as a diagnostic tool, educating entrepreneurs, customers and local governments on steps they can take to improve.
Beyond entrepreneurs, Dell is also committed to advancing women in the technology sector. With programs targeting young girls at the elementary school level, to our Junior Achievement program with middle school aged girls, through to the post-secondary internship program we run, we are focused on building a pipeline of women who will, hopefully, join our organization one day. Diversity is built into our culture code and so when women join the organization, we also have a range of programs, such as Women in Action, they are invited to join.
On a final note, what advice can you give to your fellow female colleagues who are in leadership roles?
I’ve had a terrific career at Dell, and what I have learned is that while men and women are equal, we’re also different. With this difference in mind, I would advise my fellow colleagues, both men and women, to ensure they are managing and supporting women on their team in a way that works for the individual. We all play a role when it comes to supporting women in the industry, and at the leadership level, it’s imperative that we all get involved to make a difference.