It is increasingly clear that companies with more diverse workforces have better business results. Studies show that when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they are also more successful. The aforementioned study found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. It is without a doubt that we would not be where we are today without the diverse talents and varying perspectives of our Puritans.
Today we highlight a particularly high-achieving and proven leader at Pure, Jess Harper! Jess was recently recognized by CRN, the top news source for solution providers and the IT channel, as a leader in the channel — a well-deserved honor! She leads the America’s Channel Marketing Team and is a co-lead of the New York Chapter of Women at Pure. Jess and I actually started at Pure on the exact same day, more than three years ago! On the heels of her honor from CRN, I sat down with Jess to talk about her role as Pure’s channel marketing leader for North America, as a woman at Pure, a female in tech, and arguably her most important job… as a Mother. Here’s a bit of our conversation for you to get to know Pure and Jess a little bit better.
Photo from the inaugural NY chapter meeting of Women at Pure
AM: You oversee America’s channel marketing. How do see that organization growing with the help of women?
We’re at a super exciting time in Pure growth and partner empowerment. We have recently created a dedicated channel marketing team that will further enable partner growth and independence, 80% of the leaders in this organization are women. We have diverse backgrounds and demographics, which makes for a wonderfully interesting combination of talent and perspective.
Through Pure’s partnerships, I have had the opportunity to build valuable relationships and connect with my peers throughout the country who lead our channel partners. Through these relationships, we as a company, are able to better understand what is most important to partners, which results in strategic planning and business growth.
I am also lucky enough to co-lead the New York chapter of Women at Pure, which provides a community for not only Puritans but also our partners to come together, share career experiences, learn and grow.
AM: How have you personally grown over your time at Pure?
I don’t even know where to begin…I’ve grown tremendously! I started as a Field Marketing Manager pre-IPO when there were only four Field Marketing Managers in the company and Pure was just starting to establish its employee resource groups. Now, I lead a dedicated field channel marketing team that manages national and focus partner relationships and that builds and executes the partner programs that are vital to our joint business success. I have always had a passion for the channel because partners are really an extension of our team and present our biggest growth opportunity!
AM: How have you seen women encouraged to grow within Pure?
Pure encourages all employees to grow! My career trajectory is a perfect example on its own! In addition, Pure has given me the amazing opportunity to be part of the executive leadership of the Women at Pure chapter in New York City, which enables us to get women both in Pure and with our Partners and Customers together to learn from each other and discuss important topics about women empowerment. Pure encourages work-life balance, which has allowed me to juggle my career and responsibilities of Motherhood. Through that flexibility, I have the opportunity to be present with my kids, while still executing my job well. Pure gives me the flexibility that I need as a full-time working Mom!
AM: You’ve been working with Pure partners for over 3 years. What have been the biggest evolutionary shifts and changes to those relationships?
We have become more strategic in growing with channel and alliance partners alike. When I started, we were building relationships with national and regional partners, and now we have grown from that infancy stage to being a valuable resource. We have the flexibility to closely collaborate with our partners, prospects and customers in a very unique way. For example, we have grown our relationship with Cisco over time and are now a very strategic partner for them.
AM: You are a full-time working Mother. What is the greatest lesson you have learned from your children?
Two of the most important lessons I have learned from my boys are focus and patience. I consistently work at staying focused and in the moment. It is very easy to allow yourself to multitask with technology, but I have learned the value of putting down my phone and really interacting in the present moment. My ambition to do this more at home with my family has translated to the workplace. The second major lesson is patience — something that I struggle with and work to improve daily. I strive to have more patience with everyone, because I really believe that we all grow, move, and evolve at our own pace. In various areas of life.
AM: You have a mentor and are a mentor! What is the best piece of advice you have learned from your mentor?
I have two incredible female mentors and they have both taught me how to step out of a situation and look at it from a different perspective or take a different, less reactionary approach. By approaching something differently, understanding your audience’s concerns, and looking outside of the box, a new opportunity may arise that has the potential to yield a different, more beneficial outcome.
AM: Do you have any advice for women just getting started in the tech industry?
Be bold! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to grow your career and having an appetite for knowledge. Challenge yourself and ask questions. I have come to realize that 9/10 times, there are many more people in the room who also want to ask your “silly question.” Be that voice, ask that question, and don’t be afraid to go for it!
AM: You’ve said your most rewarding experiences are those where you’ve taken risks, made changes and challenged yourself. When was a time that being fearless and authentic paid off for you in the workplace?
The moment I started at Pure! When I joined, I brought with me a set of thoughts and approaches that were very indicative of my previous employer experiences. I went with that route and approached my new job in my old way. I quickly came to realize that the better route centered around being my authentic self and leveraging my strengths. It wasn’t easy and it took strength to change my behaviors. But, my time at Pure has proven that those choices were the right ones.
AM: Any last words for us?
Even in my most challenging moments, it is an absolute blessing to work with Pure, and even more so, to work with the women at Pure. There are so many talented, dedicated, and amazing women within our company that I greatly admire and continuously learn from. I would not be here without their consistent guidance.
And, thank you Andy Martin! I have had the honor of working with you for over three years. You continuously demonstrate what leadership is and how to lead through collaboration. I’m so fortunate to learn from you every day. Thank you for that.