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Women of the channel- The nurturer

Claire Jones, channel manager at Cisco UAE

“I joined the IT channel industry in the Middle East in September 1996 and was instantly drawn to the fast-paced, demanding industry and the vibrant people and life in the region. More than 15 years later, the only constant has been change. Companies and people have come and gone, and then amazingly they reappear again in another form. It is a community based on extensive experience, knowledge and passion,” says Jones.

Jones says that women in the industry are often overlooked; however, if a woman’s demeanor exudes knowledge and experience, the gender barrier is quickly forgotten.

This certainly worked for Jones who was appointed regional sales manager (RSM) for the Middle East in 2007. “Not only was I Cisco’s first female RSM in the Middle East, but also six months pregnant at the time with my second child,” she says. In October, 2011 Jones was recognised as the top channel champion in the IT industry by an external media survey

Jones also spearheaded the launch of Cisco’s Connected Women’s Group in the UAE – a company initiative focused on attracting, developing and retaining talented women employees.

“I am extremely competitive and never confuse hard work with results because it is the results that matter. I’m extremely passionate about being relevant. The job that my team and I do has to be relevant for the company, for the channel and for the customers. Passion comes from doing what you love, and what you believe is important and will be impactful. I believe that when you are passionate and relevant, you will be successful,” she says.

“Be true to yourself. You do not need to sacrifice who you are to be successful. Keep your femininity,” Jones says to young women.

For a working mother, you would think that balancing a lucrative career with managing a home while nurturing her children is quite a challenge, yet she makes it sound like a simple trick up her sleeve. “It’s not easy, and we all get it wrong at some point. It’s a constant juggling act, particularly when you have children who aren’t always predictable. However,  women shouldn’t be too hard on themselves. While meeting responsibilities at work is essential, I believe, a woman should never sacrifice important family occasions for work,” she says.

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