Powered by its People

Ingram Micro Canada may be an IT company, but it knows success lies with its employees

Jennifer Johnson (left), senior director of marketing; Rose MacKinnon (centre), senior sales director; and Suzanne Macdonald (right), director of sales.

In the world of IT, there’s no such thing as sitting still. To stay competitive in an industry that is constantly evolving, the folks at Ingram Micro Canada know that they have to stay one step ahead in the technology race and make sure their team develops personally at the same pace.

Founded in 1979, in the United States, Ingram Micro quickly became the world’s largest technology distributor and leading sales, marketing, and logistics company within the IT industry. Canadian operations began in 1985, and became known as Ingram Micro Canada in 1989. Since 2001, US and Canadian operations have worked together under the North America umbrella. Together, they account for 43 percent of Ingram’s sales.

Suzanne Macdonald, director of sales, has been at Ingram Micro Canada for four years and has watched the company grow in a number of ways. This expansion includes growth in leadership, vendor and customer partnerships, operations, and technology.

To maintain its leadership position and to keep its resellers competitive, Ingram Micro Canada remains abreast of the latest technology, such as cloud computing, mobility, and physical security. Historically a product-based company, Ingram Micro has become a service provider and consultative partner. Asked about the division she leads, Macdonald says, “There will be growth in our core business and continued support for that growth through services, such as configuration, technical support, and client-direct and value-added services.”

Jennifer Johnson, Ingram Micro Canada’s senior director of marketing, is responsible for overall Canadian marketing operations. She explains that as the competitive market grows, Ingram’s partners know they need to differentiate themselves and cannot rely on just maintaining their customer base.

“Sixteen to 17 years ago, distribution marketing from a vendor standpoint was really about relationships,” Johnson says. “That still applies today, but there is now another layer to be considered: Vendors are more focused on smart marketing, such as profiling customers. They want to look at data and make sure they’re getting the right message to the right reseller partners.”

In response, the marketing department at Ingram Micro Canada has been busy streamlining some of its processes. The company harnesses technology to ensure timely and compelling content with its website evolution, and by making sure it always has accurate and timely messaging.

Even with all of these advances in services and technology, Johnson and Macdonald say the most important part of keeping Ingram Micro Canada’s growth continual is focusing on associate development. In addition to mentoring and continuing-education programs, Ingram Micro Canada recently partnered with CDN to sponsor an executive luncheon titled Top Women in the Canadian IT Channel. This luncheon honoured women who have contributed and continue to contribute to the IT industry in Canada.

“There’s definitely a much larger population of males in our industry, and we don’t often stop and ask why,” Johnson says. “Our partnership with CDN will really help in creating awareness about the possibilities for women in IT.”

Rose MacKinnon, senior sales director at Ingram Micro Canada, was one of those women honoured at the luncheon. She attributes much of her successes to programs in self-development and her ability to develop others.

“I mentor within the organization as well as outside the organization,” she says. “It’s in my nature to support people who want to grow and develop—especially new people who come into the organization, so they can succeed and stay here.”

All three women say they are excited about the Women in IT program and hope it continues in the years to the come. This program in Canada fits perfectly with Ingram Micro’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiative and a recently formed internal program called the Women’s Forum.

The purpose of the Women’s Forum is to create mentoring, networking, and skill-development opportunities for women at Ingram Micro who are interested in evolving their careers. “We hope to see the forum in Canada in the very near future,” Macdonald says.