Rebecca Richards
September 8, 2021

Meet Rebecca Richards

Get to know Rebecca Richards, our Microsoft Alliance Manager who has been shortlisted for Role Model of the Year at the CRN Women in Channel Awards. 

I started my learning in Nottingham studying Business Information Knowledge Management and Systems at Nottingham Trent. My background has been predominantly sales and marketing roles. I moved to the Silicon Valley of the UK just as cloud computing was really taking off. Over the last 8 years I have supported Westcoast customers in their business transformation, sales enablement, and marketing strategies.

I’m currently responsible for the alliance between Westcoast Cloud and Microsoft. It’s a very varied and challenging role.

When I’m not busy on my laptop at work, I can be found outside, horse riding, gardening (recently featured in a gardening book) or walking my greyhound Fizz.


Why do you support CRN’s Women in Channel campaign?

It’s really important to highlight the great work being done by the outstanding women in tech. Especially as it’s such a male-dominated industry. Women are making real progress right now when it comes to resetting the balance, driving change and adding even greater value. If we can get equal representation within the channel, it’s ultimately going to lead to better outcomes for individuals and businesses.

How did you get into the IT industry?

I got in the same way quite a few women did, and that is through a marketing function. This taught me a lot about the channel and the technology in it. It also allowed me to advance my skills and capabilities from a broader perspective and role.

What do you think is the main reason why the channel IT industry is mainly male, especially in technical roles and senior positions?

There are many reasons. It could be a generational issue, but it’s definitely an educational problem as well. I was the only female in my school and college IT classes. This reflects the higher number of men who end up landing leadership roles in the industry. That’s why it’s paramount we encourage girls to take more of an interest in IT at school.

The male domination could be why men more often have the confidence to take on roles they might not be ready for. And why their female colleagues so often assume that more advanced roles are beyond them.

This is a mindset. It’s not reality. When women push themselves, they find they had the capability all along.

Also, providing more support during maternity and for working mums is a must if we’re to have a level playing field in the industry.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?

If you don’t try, you don’t know. Push yourself. It’s the only way to find out what your capabilities and boundaries are. When you think you’ve hit a wall, do whatever it takes to push through it and keep on going.

What are your three top tips for women looking for a career in IT? What’s your advice to young women aspiring to take on leadership roles?

My three top tips are:

  • Never ask ‘why’, always ask ‘why not’.
  • You don’t necessarily have to be a ‘techie’. Understand the business case for technology, and broaden your skills around that.
  • Support the women around you. They’re not your competition. They’re your support network, and they’re facing the same challenges as you.

IT is a great place to build a career. It’s well paid in comparison to other industries. You have a real impact on people and businesses. And technology isn’t going anywhere other than forward.

There’s a huge skills gap in the market and I’d love to see women filling more leadership roles. Sometimes, that simply means breaking your habits and taking on more of the behaviours and traits of those already in senior roles.