Debbie Kestin Schildkraut is the VP of Business Marketing for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) dedicated to advancing industry expertise and best practices in B2B including elevating channel marketing, AI marketing capabilities, Cloud marketplaces, customer experience, and more. Before that she was recruited to join CompTIA’s staff as the VP of Global Community Engagement where she led their Communities, Advisory Councils, Technology Interest Groups, conferences, and awards. Before CompTIA, Debbie held numerous global channel marketing leadership roles at IBM Corporation for over two decades. Debbie serves on Advisory Boards for Aspire2STEAM and the Cybersecurity Defense Ecosystem. She’s a member of Cloud Girls and ACW; for ACW she is a Mentor Circle Moderator and a co-chair for the Awards Committee. Active professionally and in community service for decades, Debbie has held numerous leadership positions and is always eager to help educate others and to give back to the community with countless hours of mentoring and volunteer work. She loves music, travel, photography, hiking, and spending time with her family.

Debbie was honored as a Trailblazer, a seasoned female technology industry veteran who is paving the way for her organization, customers and industry in advancing cloud and next-generation technology solutions. Cloud Girls is pleased to share more about Debbie in this edited excerpt from her award application.

What one example shows how how you have innovated in the cloud and next-gen tech space and shunned the status quo?

With IBM being such a big corporation, many people don’t believe that it is possible to be an “intrapreneur” who can innovate and create new things.

Leveraging my extensive strategic partnership experience and my passion for sustainability, I proposed to my executive team the notion of allowing me to cultivate a Sustainability practice with Blockchain-for-good initiatives. I worked with clients and ecosystem partners to facilitate building and amplifying sustainability solutions that leveraged IBM Blockchain technology that ran on IBM Cloud.

This was a completely new space, and I started out by working with one of our Business Partners and the IBM Cloud Garage Team to help me work with a visionary client. I ran a series of working sessions to bring together the right team to build a solution that leveraged IBM Cloud and IBM Blockchain to keep plastic out of the oceans while creating a livelihood for some of the world’s poorest neighborhoods. The client set up plastic collection centers; we built a mobile app to reflect the earnings of plastic collectors based on the weight of the plastic they brought in. Instantaneously, the collector could utilize this digital currency to buy food, fuel and other needs for their families at local stores. The solution provided a verified and trackable digital currency solution to pay the collectors and the local retailers. The Blockchain Cloud solution also provided consumer packaged goods companies with a verifiable and trackable solution to report the socially collected plastic purchased, recycled, and utilized in their manufacturing lines, that could be reported on their UN Corporate Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).

This was the beginning of other solutions that were developed with the ecosystem I developed. These Sustainability use cases were featured for new and expanded client prospecting for our Global IBM Cloud and Consulting Services teams. As a result, Sustainability is a thriving practice at IBM leveraging IBM Cloud, supply chain, asset management, data, and risk management solutions. We also won a UN SDG Impact Award for this cloud solution!”

Are there any outstanding achievements or compelling examples of your exemplary leadership that highlight your ability to inspire team members around cloud and next-gen technologies?

With massive layoffs in the IT industry, I quickly pivoted to open my own business to help others who needed expertise but couldn’t hire full-time staff. As a fractional Channel Marketing & Strategy Leader, I worked with several vendor clients and MSPs to assess and maximize business effectiveness.

I was sought after for thought leadership and as a channel and DEIB expert and was invited to speak on numerous panels, articles, and keynotes.

As a life-long channel champion, I am energized and excited to share my experiences and help others. I’ve met so many wonderful people as a result of all of these engagements.

How has your leadership elevated the position of women in cloud or technology? How have you “paid it forward” to create more opportunities for women growing their careers?

I couldn’t be more excited than to bring my professional and community service experiences to support amazing organizations like Cloud Girls,, and ACW. My parents were both teachers for underserved communities; my dad used to say: “If I help one person, I help a generation.” I have always carried that forward taking pride in helping others and seeing their success. Everyone should have equal access to education and career opportunities, providing them with the ability to pursue and achieve their full potential. We all benefit from untapped creativity and knowledge and ideas that an individual brings forward when given confidence and resources.

Here are some examples of places where I’ve paid it forward to help create educational and career opportunities for women:

  • Advisory Board: I began serving as a Strategic Advisor in early 2023.
  • Cybersecurity Defense Ecosystem (CDE): In 2023, I became a strategic advisor for CDE, which is designed to help MSPs and MSSPs to build and scale an effective cybersecurity practice.
  • IBM Corporate Service Corps (Team Leader for a highly selective Peace Corps type assignment in Chile) & IBM Emerging Leaders Program (Program Creator and Director)
  • IBM P-Tech MentorPlace for Middle School Students
  • President, Middlesex County STEM High School Academy Foundation

How have you mentored, championed, and/or supported other women in technology — above, below and at your level?

Having been a woman in tech for the bulk of my career, I have so many experiences to share and help others. I strongly believe that women need to support one another and help us to all feel more accepted, to feel confident, and be more successful.

Following are some additional areas where I’ve mentored, championed, and supported women in technology:

  • ACW Moderator of a Mentor Circle, Co-Chair of the Awards Committee, and ACW Connect
  • ChannelWise Coaching Café
  • CompTIA’s Vice President of Global Community Engagement
  • For Advancing Women in Tech community globally, during my time on staff, we grew it by 33% to nearly 8,000 members across 26 countries.
  • l launched a new approach to events ensuring speakers and panelists were of a diverse mix of backgrounds, genders, and perspectives for all virtual and in-person events.
  • I introduced a community service component to our initiatives, supporting organizations like “Share Your Soles” and local food banks and women’s shelters.
  • I facilitated a Workforce initiative to help students get certifications and apprenticeships to lead to greater job potential amongst member companies.”

Congrats, Debbie!!