The Viewfinder

Tasha Westerman, Senior VP of People Services, On Building Influence and Making an Impact

Tasha Westerman may be Long View’s first female senior VP, but for her, success isn’t about a title — it’s about the ability to positively influence the people around her.

For the past fifteen years, Tasha has been building Long View’s HR team from the ground up, with a portfolio that currently includes recruitment, learning and development and internal communications, along with all of the traditional Human Resources functions. Having survived breast cancer and the loss of her first husband, Tasha is driven to use her experience to make a positive impact at Long View and in her community.

On Long View and Culture

“I’ve been at Long View for 15 years,” Tasha recalls. “During that time, I’ve seen my team grow professionally as well as personally. I’m really proud of that, and of the culture we’ve built and protected throughout all the years.”

Long View’s culture is grounded in the company’s four foundational values: integrity, competence, value and fun. As Senior VP of People Services, Tasha is a gatekeeper of these values, overseeing the programs, hiring processes and resources that ensure employees benefit from and contribute to the company’s mission.

One key to achieving her mandate is the support she receives, which she then pays forward.

“I feel lucky to have the role that I have at Long View because we really are flexible with people in terms of their needs,” Tasha says. “Our goal is to create a great employee experience for people that work with us and help with their career development along the way. I want everyone to feel like Long View is a place where they’re included and they belong.”

It’s a goal that Tasha has worked hard to achieve, and that hard work has paid off: “Time and time again, when we ask people why they join Long View and why they stay, they say it’s because of the great people they get to work with, and the great culture they get to work within, and those are both pieces my team can influence.”

On Leadership and Influence

For Tasha, the reward of being in a leadership position is the ability to influence how things are done — to have a positive impact on her colleagues, employees and community.

“The title for me has never been the piece that’s important, she says. “It’s all about the ability to influence something that I care deeply about.”

Influence, for Tasha, means making decisions that will lead to growth — for herself and for her team. And that was her motivation, moving into her current role. “I’d hired all of these amazing people onto our people services team and I knew that they had ambition too and wanted to develop their career,” she recalls. “When I grew, they were going to grow too. So it became about what we, as a team, wanted to do.”

For others who want to increase their sphere of influence and make an impact in their workplace, Tasha has a few words of advice: “I would encourage everyone to develop their own ‘board of directors’ — a personal fan club outside the company that they can turn to for support,” she advises. “For me, it was a group of women who had different careers than I did, but who would support me and give me advice.”

She also advocates for finding a sponsor within the organization to help promote you and move your career in the right direction. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” she admonishes. “There are lots of people who want to support and help others — don’t be afraid to reach out to them.”

On Being a Survivor

Tasha has always been driven. But when breast cancer struck in her early thirties, followed by the death of her first husband, she was forced to slow down and think about what her motivations really were.

“Growing up I was always pretty aggressive in terms of my plans and what I wanted to achieve,” Tasha recalls. Then, at 31, Tasha was diagnosed with breast cancer.  “That was ok the first time,” she says. “but then it came back and it was really aggressive.  And then when I was 35, I lost my first husband to brain cancer. So me and my son, who was 4 at the time, were left on our own.”

These losses led to a period of reflection and of reevaluation. “The motivation became more about influence to me,” she says,  “and the ability to help others.”

With renewed strength and focus, Tasha emerged unstoppable.

“I’ve tried to dig back into the things that have crossed my path, challenging or not, and see where I can help,” says Tasha who not only puts her hard-won insight to work for her colleagues at Long View, but has also founded and helps to run the Calgary chapter of Rethink Breast Cancer— an organization that does fundraising, advocacy and support work to help other young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. “No one’s an expert on anything,” says Tasha, “but I think having gone through some of the things I’ve gone through puts me in a very fortunate position to be able to support people from a different lens.”

On Being a Woman in Tech

When Tasha began her career, she didn’t know that she wanted to work in tech, but the industry found her. “I knew that an entrepreneurial, growth-oriented company where I had the ability to create impact and change was really, really important to me. And that’s exactly what I found in the technology roles that I’ve been in, and the companies I’ve worked for.”

Despite being a male-dominated industry, tech has never felt that way to Tasha.

”I don’t define myself as a woman in tech; I define myself as a really ambitious person who wants to do great things in this world.” Tasha explains. “But when I came into my current role, I quickly realized that people saw that as a real achievement because of my gender, and felt like my promotion opened the door of possibility for them.”

True to her nature, Tasha is using this unexpected recognition to empower others: “How I see it now is that I have a responsibility to make sure that everyone, regardless of gender or race or sexual orientation feels like they have a fair shot at anything that they want to do.”

Tasha was recognized earlier this year by CRN’s Women Of The Channel 2018: Power 30 Solution ProvidersAs part of the 2018 Women of the Channel, CRN is highlighting 30 female executives at solution provider organizations whose insight and influence in their respective companies help drive channel success. Congratulations Tasha!

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