This is a special episode of the Women Talk Tech podcast because our guest is Luc Villeneuve who becomes the first male guest on the show. Luc is currently the President of Benchmark Corp, a Canadian IT solutions provider that delivers leading-edge expertise and custom solutions to commercial and enterprise customers.
Luc is a champion for driving change and helping to advance women in the tech sector and believes that men have to be part of the solution to helping women enter the sector and stay in the sector.
According to Catalyst Canada, men represent more than 95 percent of the CEO positions in Canada’s 100 largest publicly traded companies. Stepping forward to become an advocate for gender diversity is uncharted territory for many men. Luc believes that we need to help male leaders carve out the role that’s right for them to help close the gender gap in tech.
Male leaders need to define their role in championing gender diversity. It’s all about collaborating with your team and educating yourself on where your strengths are needed.
Luc has proven that he is doing more than just talking about the issue. His tenure at Red Hat is a testament to proving out a model for closing the gender gap. In 2014, women represented 5% of his Red Hat sales team and now they account for 30%.
Luc invested the time curating his LinkedIn network as his main channel to attract, engage and deepen relationships by requesting meetings with potential female hires. In 2017, Luc launched a Women + Leadership evening to bring together Red Hat Canada’s network of women to discuss leadership issues. In 2018, Luc launched an exclusive Women in Leadership program at Red Hat to support emerging leaders who have the potential to contribute on a higher level to their performance. This is an exclusive program for only 12 women. It has been a long road of continuous investment but one he believes more tech companies should embark on and is well worth the effort.
Luc believes in building a community for young women – a place to connect, network, share best practices and ideas helping to increase the pipeline of young female talent. Luc continues to gather people in the tech sector to give women an opportunity. He has been surrounded by powerful women his whole life and believes we need to more women in the sector for it to thrive and prosper. He held many executive roles during his career and replaced himself or sponsored many female leaders who have excelled in the industry. Today, his biggest inspiration is his daughter Stefania, a phenomenal young woman who’s forging her own path in tech. Luc wants his legacy to be using his influence to help break down the barriers for millennial’s — to create opportunities for Stefania and women who want to reach their full potential in tech
In August of this year, Luc and his new company Benchmark Corp hosted an event with CompTIA celebrating Millennial female leaders. We had the pleasure to meet and record three empowering women at this event including Mpumi Nobiva, Vanessa Vakharia and Chioma Ifeanyi-Okoro.
Available on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play Music.
ABOUT LUC VILLENEUVE
As president of Benchmark Corp, Luc Villeneuve leads a customer first, value-added Canadian reseller offering fully integrated multi-vendor software solutions – with a strong focus on open source — to the most respected brands in Canada. Benchmark specializes in transforming their client’s infrastructure with innovative multi-cloud solutions and managed services that reduce the cost of acquisition and integration. This unique offering leverages a single point of accountability across multi-vendors that cannot be matched by any partner in the marketplace today. With over 25 years of executive sales and management experience, Luc has built a reputation for turning businesses around by creating winning teams and collaborating with the partner ecosystem to solve the critical business challenges blocking success. Before joining Benchmark, Luc served in executive roles at Red Hat Canada (where his team was honoured as the North America Region of the Year in 2018), McAfee, NCR, Sun Microsystems, Digital Equipment, GE Capital and CNC Global. Fully bilingual in both official languages, Luc supports his community by lending his expertise to the national boards of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC), the C4 Canadian Channel Chiefs Council and Ryerson’s Information Technology Management Program Advisory Council (PAC). He is passionate about gender diversity and inclusion and regularly shares his insight in the traditional media, discusses issues with his over 6000 connections on LinkedIn and hosts an annual Women + Leadership event for female IT executives. Luc holds a business administration degree from Ottawa’s Algonquin College (where he was nominated for the college Premier’s Award in business in 2011). When he’s not working, he’s refining his golf handicap or doting on his granddaughter Adeline, who was born on September 2018. You can follow and connect with Luc on LinkedIn.