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CRN Women & Diversity in Channel Awards: Q&A with Redstor CEO James Griffin

Redstor posted in Press Release | 24 Oct 2023

James Griffin became the CEO of Redstor in March 2023, initially joining the company as chief product officer in 2019.

Spearheading Redstor’s transformative growth, James is pivotal in harnessing tech opportunities and championing diversity, sustainability, and innovation.

Redstor was nominated in eight categories at the Women & Diversity in Channel Awards 2023 and took home one gong on the night, awarded to Kateryna Naumenko in the Unsung Hero (Vendor/Distributor) category. 

In this awards Q&A, James talks about Redstor’s journey towards diversity and representation and the ambitious goals the company has set itself. 

Why do you think awards like the Women & Diversity in Channel Awards matter? What would winning this award mean to your company?

Awards like the Women & Diversity in Channel Awards are crucial because they illuminate the often-underappreciated role of diversity and inclusivity in the Channel. By celebrating the accomplishments of these underrepresented groups, we’re not just acknowledging their achievements but setting a precedent for the entire industry. Such accolades raise the spotlight, urging companies to adopt a more inclusive approach, fostering fairness and a comprehensive outlook in recruitment and practices. Recognising individuals validates their invaluable contributions and can significantly propel their professional journeys. Receiving such a prestigious award sets the stage for them to inspire upcoming talent. For Redstor, receiving one of these esteemed awards would not only be a testament to the relentless efforts of our fantastic finalists but also position us as pioneers in championing diversity. We’d be elated if our initiatives could serve as a blueprint for others to emulate and find success.

What would you say is your company’s proudest achievement over the past year?

Redstor’s proudest achievement over the past year encompasses several initiatives dedicated to diversity, cultural inclusion, and health and wellbeing. However, if we were to highlight a singular achievement, it would be the successful implementation of “Project Cheetah.” This groundbreaking initiative aims to empower and develop female talent within the organisation. Through Project Cheetah, Redstor has not only increased the representation of women in its workforce, attracting a diverse pool of candidates and ensuring diverse hires but also emphasised comprehensive support and development opportunities for female employees. This initiative stands out because it reflects Redstor’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and the larger goal of creating an environment where every employee, regardless of gender or background, can thrive and contribute to their fullest potential.

What have been the biggest challenges of 2023 so far and how have you overcome them? How have your people helped with that?

In 2023, Redstor faced notable challenges: gender underrepresentation and the pressing need for inclusivity. Our response was twofold: the initiation of the Women’s Impact Network (WINTribe) and an enhanced mentoring program emphasising allyship.

WIN Tribe addressed gender disparities by offering a platform for female empowerment and collaboration. This wasn’t just about women; it was about fostering an environment where every voice mattered, thereby breaking gendered silos.

Simultaneously, our mentoring initiative aimed at nurturing talent from diverse backgrounds. Instead of traditional mentor-mentee pairings, we championed cross-gender collaborations, embedding allyship into our organisational fabric.

Our people were instrumental in driving these changes. Their active engagement and commitment transformed these programs from corporate strategies into authentic movements. Through WIN Tribe and our allyship-driven mentoring, backed by our dedicated team, we effectively tackled 2023’s challenges, laying the foundations for a more inclusive Redstor.

How do you think the channel has changed over the past year and what changes do you think it still needs to make?

Many organisations are launching initiatives, like our WINTribe, to empower and provide progression opportunities for groups that historically might have been side lined. The partner ecosystem, too, is evolving, with partners prioritising vendors not just for their products but also for their D&I ethos. It’s clear that the association between diversity and innovation is recognised widely. Additionally, there’s a growing investment in educating employees about unconscious biases, promoting ally ship, and cultivating an inclusive culture.

However, the journey isn’t complete. The focus on D&I needs to broaden beyond just gender and ethnicity. More attention should be given to including neurodiverse individuals, the LGBTQ+ community, and individuals with disabilities. While mentoring initiatives are commendable, there’s a need for structured sponsorship programs, where leaders don’t just guide but actively advocate for the advancement of their diverse mentees. Lastly, for real progress, organisations need to emphasise transparency in their D&I strategies, setting clear metrics and sharing outcomes.

I think the channel has made strides in valuing and acting on D&I, but there’s more ground to cover. The channel’s future hinges on its ability to be genuinely inclusive, fostering an environment where everyone can contribute and flourish.

What do you see as the main opportunities for the channel in the coming year? How do you plan to capitalise on those opportunities?

Redstor is keenly poised to harness the transformative opportunities in the channel. In an era of rapid digital transition, we provide businesses with the ultimate security of their data.

Understanding the importance of a secure digital sphere, our enhanced cybersecurity measures are designed to counter the ever-evolving cyber threats. By integrating the latest AI and machine learning techniques, Redstor is refining its products to cater to modern consumer demands, offering more tailored, automated, and predictive solutions.

Diversity is at the heart of our growth strategy. We aim to amplify diverse voices within our organisation through ‘Redstories’, fostering a culture that values varied perspectives. Our commitment also extends to ensuring diversity in leadership roles, reflecting our belief in inclusive growth.

Environmental sustainability is another pillar of our strategy. Initiatives like the potential buy-back scheme underscore our dedication to ecological responsibility, focusing on recycling decommissioned data infrastructure and promoting a sustainable tech ecosystem.

Recognising the immense potential of cross-industry collaborations, we’re bridging sectors to unlock synergistic benefits. Strategic partnerships, especially between traditionally distinct sectors, are integral to our forward-thinking approach.

Our rigorous risk management practices and unwavering stakeholder engagement further strengthen Redstor’s foundation. By setting robust ethical benchmarks for our partners and suppliers and actively participating in initiatives like ‘Code your future’, we reiterate our commitment to societal betterment.

Redstor’s strategies are meticulously crafted to leverage the prevailing opportunities, ensuring we deliver unmatched value to our clients and cement our leadership in the tech sector.

View the CRN Woman & Diversity In Channel Awards Article