Description of product/service of your company:
WME is a leading system integrator for Microsoft Infrastructure, Security and Cloud solutions. A Microsoft Certified Partner with gold competencies in datacenter, device and deployment, cloud productivity, EMS and cloud platform; WME has over 50 years of combined experience and passion for transforming IT operations through the development of solutions, products and managed services that make the job of their customers easier.
WME’s Strategic Services division concentrates on strategic talent strategies, partnerships and acquisitions partnering with organizations to assess and solve information technology challenges leveraging digital technologies — cloud, mobile, security, infrastructure, and data.
WME’s Managed Services for SMB is geared towards managing the entire IT footprint for small business (40-200 users) and our Tier 3 Managed Service focuses on providing Microsoft support for mid-market and enterprise clients.
How many years have you been with your company?
WME was founded in 2008.
What were you doing before you founded your business?
My background is actually in IT with a focus on systems management leveraging Microsoft management technologies and windows deployment solutions. I worked as a consultant for 20 years with Avanade, Microsoft, CSS and 1E before starting my business in 2008. I also dabbled in real estate shortly before starting my own business but we don’t discuss that now, lol.
What makes your business stand out when compared to other businesses in your field?
The word focus comes to mind. We are a focused solution integrator with solutions in Microsoft infrastructure, cloud and security technologies. It’s what allows us to provide a deep level of expertise that are our clients and partners expect when bringing us in. Our focus is what allows us to stay ahead of new technology trends, train up on those trends and leverage the relationships to dogfood technologies we implement within our internal IT department at WME.
How has being a member of the LGBT community impacted your business, if at all?
When I first started my career, the whole diversity and inclusive aspect was not well communicated and, in some cases, missing. You look around and you don’t see people like you. It definitely felt lonely working in corporate America with no group or support structure so you start to feel left out. There have been many times working in parts of the deep south and Midwest that you encounter those that are not supportive of who you are. It can be really a tough place to be in which is why being certified and making a stand is so important for me as the owner.
Why has WME decided to start its own supplier diversity program, and why is it important to you?
Over the course of the last 2 years and through our active involvement with the IBA and NGLCC we have met a ton of suppliers that we have partnered with to win bigger deals together. The power of partnership with suppliers is hugely important. What I found is those same suppliers could also be providing us with goods and services internally. It was at the annual IBA holiday party when this came to light when a large supplier/corporate partner and I spoke about WME providing managed services for their internal IT needs as well!! I just knew then that I had to formalize our program. Not only that but it was important to set the stage formally that we are in fact open for business to work with diverse businesses. Communicating that on our website and formalizing our supplier diversity program raises the bar for us internally as well to be what we say we are namely a diverse and inclusive business.
It also is part of our mission this year to focus on our core values and emphasize that we are business with diversity and inclusion at our core representing also the values of Integrity, Open Communication, Leadership, Innovation, Partnership, Collaboration and Fun.
The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I’ve already had several people reach out to us who want to work with WME because of our diversity and inclusion program. Our program simply provides a way for others to feel welcomed, supported and accepted to do business with WME as well as work for WME as an offshoot. I’m excited what the future holds for WME.
How has being a Certified LGBTBE through NGLCC impacted your business?
Initially it was my husband Chris Querubin who was the advocate for WME to get certified. At that time, he was very involved with Equal Rights WA in WA state to get domestic partnerships on the ballot and I was a part of that. It was during that time people were really rallying around to make marriage available for all. This opened my eyes up to the possibility of making a stand as a LGBTE business in the technology community. Getting certified was the first step but it wasn’t until 2018 that we really started stepping up and leveraging our certification. The impact it had on the business is huge. We’ve showed up at the local events, building relationships with other suppliers and diversity supplier/procurement professionals in our area. For me it’s always been about partnerships since day one of my business and identifying other suppliers that can be a compliment to our solutions is key. I never rule out any contact I meet for I am meeting them for a reason bigger then I really know or recognize now.
What advice would you give to an LGBT person starting a business?
Show up at the events. Start building relationships with other suppliers today by identifying their core competencies and strengths to build your network and directory. You just never know who you will meet that could utilize their product or services. Next is be open. Be open to making a connection with no expectations. We are all in this together so let’s lift each other up and find non-competing areas we can partner together and win that billion dollar contract.