Janelle’s Journey from Call Center Tech to Partner Pro
This article is part of our Women in Partnerships series, highlighting female professionals in the partnerships space. To learn more about the series and the Women in Partnerships group, check out the series intro.
Janelle Nash recently joined the ActionIQ team as the Senior Director of Partnerships. ActionIQ is a customer experience hub where Janelle leads global SI partnerships.
Today, Janelle joins us to dig into the journey that brought her to partnerships, how others have helped her along the way, and advice for industry professionals.
Janelle’s Journey into Partnerships
Janelle Nash has taken an interesting path since graduating with a degree in advertising. She shared, “There weren’t any advertising jobs available when I graduated, so I started a temp job at a bank answering phones in a call center. I used to do rounds asking my coworkers if I could help them with anything, which brought me to helping the eCommerce group with website content. Through that experience, I learned HTML and made the formal transition to their eCommerce group.”
Ultimately, Janelle moved into a marketing director role at another company, where she learned more about demand generation strategies. She then consulted with a few different firms, gaining exposure to sales and partnerships. Janelle enjoyed her work coordinating partnerships and decided that’s where she wanted to focus. When the opportunity at ActionIQ popped up, she knew she was ready to jump into a full-time partnerships role.
Looking Out for Others
In your career, you often have to be your number one advocate. Typically, if you don’t speak up for yourself, no one else will. Luckily for Janelle, she had a fantastic advocate early in her career. “When I was younger (about three years into my career), one of my managers stepped in and made a large pay adjustment on my behalf. He didn’t have to do that, yet he did. What may have seemed like a small act dramatically impacted my lifetime earnings. His actions opened my eyes to what it meant to look out for someone who didn’t look out for themselves. I have had the opportunity to pay it forward in my career a few times. Identifying opportunities to make things right for people is powerful. It makes me feel good to be in a position to help people.”
Excelling as a Woman in Business
Unfortunately, most women have experienced unfair work environments. Janelle shared, “I’ve put up with a lot and laughed off a lot of things I shouldn’t have. But, I’ve also worked for many amazing women leaders who supported me through career transitions, even when it wasn’t the best for them. I’ve seen both sides of it, and it’s a different field for women today. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than it was 15 years ago — women are willing to put up with less than before.”
Janelle is excited to be at an organization that supports women in becoming leaders. “I’m still new at ActionIQ, but I was able to experience a great moment recently at our sales kickoff, where they promoted Cait Gorges to VP of Sales during our sales kickoff. It was amazing because it was a male-dominated room, but every person I heard comment was singing her praises. Several early-career women were in the room, and I feel like it was impactful for them to see a woman promoted from within to such a senior role. She’s fairly young, and she’s killing it! Cait has two young children at home and openly talks about having a family and a career, without glamorizing. That’s a great thing to see.”
Even before ActionIQ, Janelle has gotten to work with some incredible female mentors. “One of my first real mentors, Alex Andreeff Ackerman, taught me to speak up and show up. This was during a time when some of the men in the room weren’t as open and kind to women as they could’ve been. She was a relatively young female leader and taught me that you don’t have to be quiet — you deserve a seat at the table. She was always fully prepared, knew what she was talking about, and wouldn’t let anyone silence her. She made her points clear, succinct, and showed that she was worthy of her leadership role. She paved the way for the rest of our marketing team to have those conversations.”
Janelle has done her best to support other women in similar ways. “I hired a team of three women who were about a decade younger than me. I’ve come from a culture where women trample women. But these women didn’t do that, and in fact, they celebrated each other’s successes. That experience changed my thought process — there’s room for everybody to be successful.”
Advice for Other Women
Sales and partnerships are still really male-dominated. Participating in meetings can occasionally feel intimidating. Janelle highlighted, “It’s great to have groups like Women in Partnerships where you can talk to people who won’t judge you. Everybody likes to feel like they’re in a safe space. I think it’s nice that there’s a group of women, helping ensure more women go into partnerships.”
With that in mind, Janelle encourages women to build a broader network. “Women are naturally good at establishing and maintaining relationships. I’d like to encourage colleagues in marketing and program management to take a look at the partnerships field and hope we can support other professionals in transitioning into partnerships.”
Get advice from and connect with hundreds of powerful women in partnerships, like Janelle, when you join Partnership Leaders’ Women in Partnerships group. Hundreds of industry professionals turn to Partnership Leaders for support with their latest projects, answers to burning questions, and general camaraderie.
Dig deeper into the career journeys of impactful ladies in the industry when you download Powerful Women in Partnerships. You can also be inspired by more powerful women in the industry in all of our Women in Partnerships spotlights.