Cloud Girls is honored to have amazingly accomplished, professional women in tech as our members. We take every opportunity to showcase their expertise and accomplishments – promotions, speaking engagements, publications and more. Now, we are excited to shine a spotlight on one of our members each month.

April’s Cloud Expert of the Month is Natalia Schenkel
Schenkel is Channel Sales Director, Midwest at Fuze, a global cloud communications and collaboration software platform for business enterprises.   Schenkel has more than seven years of experience creating and implementing business strategy for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 VARs and technology distributors.

Within the last year, she has shifted her focus from traditional services to cloud and emerging technologies, ensuring that both her partners and her company benefit from her abilities to deliver solutions that increase revenue generation, attract and maintain customers, and build corporate brands.

In addition to her successes in business development, Schenkel continues to evolve her passion for next-gen tech centering on the support and personal branding of women business leaders through her networking affiliations and recently through her creation of Compute Style, a style blog for women in tech.

When did you join Cloud Girls and why?
I was nominated to join Cloud Girls three years ago and wasn’t aware of the organization before that. At first, I thought it was just a networking group but after a few sessions realized that it was an educational platform filled with resources, knowledge and experience from other women that I couldn’t find in a classroom.

What do you value about being part of Cloud Girls?
There are many things that I find valuable about being in Cloud Girls, but most of all I find comfort in the support that we give to one another. We’re all highly competitive people, but work together to even the playing field and pull each other up. I’ve never been in a sorority, but I’d like to think Cloud Girls is pretty darn close, and I value the friendships I’ve made over the years that I know I’ll have for life.

What career mistake has given you the biggest lesson?
The career mistake that has given me the biggest lesson is that it doesn’t matter how profitable my strategies are if they don’t align with what the company I’m working for values most. It isn’t a win in their eyes.  As a result, I’m more cognizant of corporate culture and now choose to work for companies that are more aligned with what I value as well, which allows me to utilize my strengths to a higher degree, overall increasing my job satisfaction and success rates.

What research did you do to prepare for your current role?
In an “eat, pray, love” moment with myself, I worked to create my own brand, build a following, create a website and taught myself SEO. I figured I spent more money on a pair of shoes than I would hosting a website, why not go for it and see what I can do?  From there I started collecting data and geeking out at very high levels, becoming obsessed with the possibilities that machine learning and data bring and blogging about them. Little did I realize that it wasn’t just that the blogs that would be beneficial to raising my brand awareness, but that I developed a new skill set that I could now showcase and a better understanding of how to use data to enhance ROI.

What one piece of advice would you share with young women to encourage them to take a seat at the table?
Say yes to every opportunity until you reach a level of success where you feel you have the experience to say no. Everything has a starting point. Saying yes to opportunities that come your way will help you figure out what that starting point is for you and where you want to go.