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What ITA Means to Tina Gravel, SVP Global Channels and Alliances of Cyxtera

Monday, October 21, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gary Hotze
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Tina Gravel, SVP Global Channels and Alliances, Cyxtera



Over ten years ago, while I sat out an airport delay in NYC (doesn’t everyone end up sitting around LaGuardia at some point in their lives?), I ran into a former boss of mine Don DeLoach, a former CEO of several Chicago companies. He asked me why I was there, and I shared that a company was recruiting me in NYC. He asked me where I was living, and I told him: Chicago! He then replied, “if you are looking for a new opportunity, you should connect with ITA, they know of every opening, for every major job in Chicago.” I had just moved to Chicago after a divorce and had a position that took me around the world; I did not know anyone locally. I had a severe connection deficit in Chicago, and over the last seven years, ITA fixed that. 


During my first three months as an ITA member, I was given introductions to Chris Gladwin and Joe Jablonski of Ocient, both of whom were local entrepreneurs that had already done exceptionally well. Gladwin was about to sell Cleversafe to IBM. Jablonski had already sold his business and was in the early stages of creating another. I learned an incredible amount being connected with both of them. I started to enjoy and build real friendships with many others I met through ITA, like Jim Gagnard, former CEO and Chairman of Smart Signal. Gagnard was the first one to see that I could make a difference for ITA, too, and asked me to join the board. 


Being a member of ITA means that when you need a business lawyer, you can choose several within ITA’s Service Network, such as Craig Bradley of Much Shelist. If I need an opinion about funding or credit lines, I can pick up the phone and call Ryan Milligan at ParkerGale or Dennis Grunt at Silicon Valley Bank. Chris Morgan, Founder and Managing Partner of Lantern Partners, is my go-to person when I need an executive recruiter. Eric Wasowicz, a former board member, just took my call to introduce me to a CEO he had been connected with through ITA. In this era of not answering solicitation calls and deleting all the emails before anyone has a chance to read them, the ROI for continuing my membership is never in question.


Not only have I been able to contact these people, but I have had the absolute pleasure to witness several women CEO’s in action through my board work. That has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of ITA to me. Amanda Lannert of Jellyvision, Stacey Kacek of OnePlus Systems and Kelly Manthey of Solstice are just three of the incredible and talented women I have gotten to know through ITA. Julia Kanouse, CEO of ITA, made sure to create a council specific to women’s needs. The Women Influence Chicago initiative presents pertinent and useful content every quarter for women at the start of their careers to those that have been at it for a long time (like me). 


I met the former Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner, at an ITA event and discussed my concerns about taxation (not sure he was happy about me asking that in a social situation), but he was there, and I was interested. Jeremie Bacon, ITA’s current chair and one of the most connected Chicagoans I know, has never once missed my call or offered to assist me regardless of the business need. I recently ran into Fred Hoch, a founder and General Partner of TechNexus Collaborative Incubator at CityLIGHTS, the annual event ITA holds to honor those in Chicago Tech. Hoch is another person who has significant connections throughout the private and public sectors in Chicago. I asked Hoch about a friend who was looking to meet someone at another Chicago firm: Relativity. Within a day, I had an email with an introduction to one of their leaders.


Am I name dropping? You bet I am! ITA is a very inexpensive way to get yourself on the list of who’s who in Illinois technology and build your brand or your firm’s brand, or both.


ITA was there for me when I need a way to launch a new product for Cyxtera in Chicago. The 30,000 subscribers to their newsletter helped me to guarantee that I would have the right attendees at my launch event.


When I need to hire, ITA is the first place I go to, as well. Their job board is second to none, and through their association with IIT and the University of Illinois Research Park, some of the members have found developers and coders before non-members of ITA have had a chance to interview them!


As I end this post, I want to shout out a thank you to Unitas Global, Amazon Web Services, Protera and Avant Communications for joining ITA at my recommendation and enjoying their membership. Why don’t you call Derrick Davis at ITA and explore what ITA can do for you?



 Tina Gravel is an award-winning executive, board member, public speaker and media/analyst source with 26+ years of IT outsourcing, cloud, security and SaaS industry experience. Gravel is sought-after for her ability to take complex cybersecurity topics and make them accessible to those that are not cybersecurity experts. As SVP of Global Channels and Alliances for Cyxtera (a security infrastructure company and one of the largest co-location providers in the world), Tina is the key for channel partners and hyper scalers to unlock the power of innovative cybersecurity strategies (Software Defined Perimeter, Zero Trust, etc.) for their benefit and that of customers worldwide. A particular soft spot for those with great ideas and ambitious start-up technology organizations, Tina dedicates countless hours mentoring others on how to increase revenue, monetize intellectual property, build productive teams and secure funding. Before Cyxtera, Tina served as GM/VP for Dimension Data’s Cloud Services Business Tina Gravel is currently a member of the Executive Board of Illinois Technology Association. You can find her sharing her ideas on twitter @tgravel.


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