As the second of two winners of PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Stars of the Industry. Here we speak with Maverick AV Solutions’ Lewis Williamson about his interest in UC, IT and AV market segments and how he found his way into the channel.
This is what Lewis Williamson had to say.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional and academic background?
I started my professional career at 18, straight from college, where I had studied Business (as well as Sport and English Literature) for my A Levels. Business was immediately my favourite subject, and I knew I wanted a career that incorporated business development and strategy. I started as a finance administrator for an IT security reseller, learning about the world of channel partners and cybersecurity solutions across endpoint, data and network. I knew that I wanted to move into sales and had already worked with Tech Data, so after just under a year I made the jump and joined the Cisco sales team. After two years as an Internal Sales Executive, I moved to the Maverick AV division of Tech Data, taking up the role of Logitech Business Development Executive in June 2021.
What led you into your current career path?
The industry definitely led me down this career path, the more time I spend working in the UC, IT and AV, the more I want to progress and further my career. The constantly evolving nature of the industry gives you opportunities to expand your knowledge and work with innovative technologies. It’s addictive for sure.
What interests, motivates, inspires you in regards to working in the tech channel?
In terms of inspiration and motivation, it has to be the fast paced nature of the tech channel. We are presented with such a rapidly expanding and dynamic industry, there is never a dull moment.
I understand you are a bit of an expert in the subject matter of UC and video conferencing. What can you tell us in regards to current tech trends and the latest developments in this particular field?
Throughout the pandemic and recovery time, the growth and interest in investment of UC and video conferencing has skyrocketed. The industry is constantly reviewing, adapting and changing their technologies to support the business of the ‘new world’; creating more realistic VC experiences and merging all kinds of technologies such as AI, LED and projection that was previously deemed separate from UC. The current trends are undoubtedly fuelled by the demand from end users for seamless, familiar and accessible experiences; we’re seeing a reduced complexity when talking about VC, which isn’t only beneficial for the user but for the channel as a whole.
How have you focused on your own professional development and how has this helped you develop and own the company’s new Logitech Unite Partner Program?
Being given a platform to gain as much knowledge and expertise in the field as possible, has definitely helped me focus on my own development. I have always felt supported and felt that I was able to look at my career as a bigger picture, looking past where I am now, and focusing on what I can do to really grow within my role to create smooth processes and expand the reach for not only Maverick but for my vendor Logitech.
I am always encouraged to identify how the business could develop a united approach to working with our partners. The Logitech Unite Partner Program does just this. Whether partners are brand new to Logitech, or have previous experience deploying meeting room solutions, the aim is to ensure partners can make the most of the opportunity and maximise Logitech sales.
What advice can you offer other young aspirational individuals in pursuing a career within the channel?
Being 22, I am still very much at the beginning of my career within the channel. But I would always encourage others to try their best at what they do. No-one can ask for more than your best, and having that grasp on your values and your worth will make you an asset to any company.
I also think it’s really important to always take opportunities to expand your knowledge and learn from your peers and managers. Take advantage of training and ask lots of questions!
You don’t have to be afraid of taking on a challenge and being out of your comfort zone, first of all you might manage to find it quickly and secondly your peers have been where you are.
How can the channel look to attract a younger workforce?
I really think the channel could benefit from offering more apprenticeship schemes or access to training in colleges/schools, just to show how much is available in our industry. Joining Tech Data at 19 was pivotal to me and my career path and before that I was unaware of the vast opportunities the Tech industry brings. Being a part of Maverick Solutions and Tech Data really showed me how much the company appreciated the value that young people can bring to the table (creative ideas/adaptable/energetic/opportunistic and diverse approaches to business) and I really think other companies within the IT/AV channel should take the same approach.
What are your experiences of diversity, equality and inclusion for younger member of staff within the channel?
Before joining Tech Data, I didn’t feel like I was appreciated. I pride myself on being a hard worker, and I feel that my opinions and ideas weren’t always taken seriously, especially because of how young I am. But that isn’t the case anymore, At Maverick AV Solutions, I am definitely now in a place where I have a seat in the decision making process. I am treated with respect by my peers regardless of their position, and my opinion is always considered. I couldn’t ask for more as a young person in the industry and I really hope more companies integrate the notion that age really doesn’t matter.
How do you plan to drive your career forward?
My focus is definitely to continue to build and develop the Logitech Unite Partner Program and support new resellers. I will carry on building strong relationships with my partners, vendors, managers and colleagues; and always take advantage of the learning and development opportunities they present to me.
What does being a winner of PCR’s Under 30’s Rising Stars of the Industry mean to you?
This is such a huge achievement and milestone in my career, it just goes to show the difference that hard work and willingness to learn combined with working for a company that values you can help you achieve.
I would like to thank a few people who have been incredible support networks:
Nick Stancliffe (Business Development Manager, Maverick AV Solutions, UK) who I work under and who has not only mentored me but also always taken time to consider my ideas.
Matt Lucas (Distribution Account Manager, Logitech) for giving me an invaluable insight into the industry and supporting me in the last year.
Karin Keeble (Head of Vendor relations, Maverick AV Solutions, UK) for believing in me from day one and for always being someone I can rely on.
Anna Marie Constantinou (Business Unit Director, Maverick AV Solutions, UK) for supporting my development as a young professional.
I am really looking forward to what the future holds for me in the Channel.
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