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With the goal of embracing the next generation of channel leaders, CompTIA today announced its latest initiative -- the Future Leaders community.
Targeting IT professionals in the channel community that are 35 years old and under, the CompTIA Future Leaders community hopes to attract about 100 members by the end of the year. Future Leaders is the tenth CompTIA community and currently has about 50 members, evenly split between men and women.
"The goal of the newest CompTIA community is not to isolate millennials in their own environment," said Chris Phillips, director of partner communities at CompTIA. This latest community effort encourages cross-pollination with other CompTIA communities and a multigenerational exchange of ideas, he said.
Chris Phillipsdirector of partner communities, CompTIA
The Future Leaders community is open to millennials in both technical and non-technical positions. Today, the community has members who range from senior engineers to marketing associates. What they have in common is a desire to collaborate with others in the channel and to learn more about opportunities, Phillips said.
The Future Leaders group was born out of CompTIA's Channel Changers award efforts that began in early 2014. At ChannelCon 2014 in August, the organization gave awards to five young professionals recognized by their CompTIA member company to have shown success or originality as an entrepreneur or who made an impact in the industry in some demonstrable way. It's also worth mentioning that dominant theme at ChannelCon 2014 was change and how channel companies need to rethink their approach to change, including their thinking about where the millennials generation fit into organizations.
Out of the initial Channel Changers award efforts, a "champions group" of about 15-20 individuals met to discuss what the Future Leaders community would look like, how often it would meet, what to include in meetings, what information they'd share and so forth. The first formal face-to-face Future Leaders member meeting will take place at CompTIA's annual meeting in mid-March, according to Phillips.
One Channel Changer award recipient, Britani Von Roden, senior vice president of sales and marketing at ETS, formerly Erbs Technology Solutions, a 53-year-old partner business, expects that she and ETS will both reap benefits from the Future Leaders community.
"No one was really talking about millennials in the channel, yet we're not going anywhere. And with this community, it will be useful to embrace my strengths as well as collaborate with others in the partner community," said 30-year-old Von Roden. On the flip side, as ETS transitions its business in the IT partner space, it can learn a lot from the Future Leaders community on how to hire and train millennials to be successful in the workplace, she added.
There are several issues that the Future Leaders community wants to explore in 2015:
- How companies in the channel can best embrace and leverage a multigenerational workforce,
- How this next generation of channel professionals can prepare to take on leadership roles as Baby Boomers retire,
- What this new demographic means for IT consumption patterns among end users, and how partner companies can prepare to meet these emerging needs and
- What the industry and CompTIA can do to best serve the needs of this important demographic.
"One of the top interests of the CompTIA Future Leaders community is mentorship," Phillips said, adding that this group is looking to move up their careers. With that in mind, the organization is investigating content around mobile marketing and social media best practices, for example.
"There are things that they want to discuss that we might highlight in other communities as well," he said, noting that the communities have a lot to learn from each other.
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Learn more about the CompTIA Future Leaders community