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Get to know #TeamIntermedia’s female leaders: Part 2

We recently celebrated some of Intermedia’s respected female leaders by sharing their professional advice. Part two of this series examines what motivates and drives them to succeed. Roundtable participants include:

  • Gina Hayes, Director of Strategic Client Services Managers
  • Melanie Lombardi, Director of Communications
  • Nancy Sandstrom, VP of Core Operations
  • Nicole Scalese, Manager of Partner Development
  • Irina Shamkova, SVP of Product Management
  • Deborah Stroud, Account Manager for Customer Success
  • Susan Tait, Director of IT

What female leader has been your greatest inspiration and why?

Irina: Jane Goodall. She knew early on what she wanted to achieve, and she struck out on her own to become an influential world leader and a new voice in redefining the relationship between humans and animals. Her drive and passion for her work have been a source of inspiration for me and many other women that have followed in her footsteps.

Gina: I know it may sound corny, but it would be my Mom. When she first started out in her career, working as a budget analyst for the federal government, there were many “grenades” tossed in her path, but she never let it stop her from pursuing and achieving her goals. She exhibited the traits of a true leader by not letting others deter her. She exemplified the qualities of a true leader, and I have tried to live up to her example.

Nicole: As a child, I was lucky enough to be on a field trip where Anita Borg spoke. Not only was she an advocate for women in technical roles, she was a highly accomplished computer scientist who valued skill and innovation. I loved computers and was in awe of this woman who said it was not only okay that I did, but that I could pursue IT as a career. This experience gave me the permission to dive into Computer Science – a hobby that eventually became a career.

What do you think makes someone a good manager?

Deborah: Someone that facilitates excellence in their employees. You hired them for a reason. Give them all the tools and support they need, and then step out of their way. The best managers know how to guide their employees by truly understanding what’s needed to get the job done.

Melanie: Every individual is different. The management approach that works for one may not for another. It’s about taking the time to understand the people you work with. Get at the heart of what motivates and frustrates them, and what they need to be successful. Form genuine connections. If people don’t feel like you’re real with them in the more difficult moments, that trust you’ve worked to build can just as easily be broken.

Form genuine connections

Is there an inspirational quote or motto that you live by?

Deborah: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

Melanie “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” – Oprah Winfrey

Susan: “Pass on what you’ve learned.” This quote is a reminder that someone had to show you and teach you. Always share that information with others – don’t be a knowledge hog.

Nancy: The Starfish Parable really resonates with me. To paraphrase, a person is walking down the beach and sees tons of starfish. Someone is throwing them back into the ocean. The person asks what they are doing. There are so many starfish, why bother trying? They still toss one back and say “I made a difference to that one.” The message is, you don’t have to make a difference to everything to still make an impactful difference.


Take part in the action! Share quotes, feedback and pictures of the female leaders you admire with the hashtag #TeamIntermedia.

About The Intermedia Team

Intermedia helps over 135,000 businesses connect better – through voice, video conferencing, chat, contact center, business email and productivity, file sharing and backup, security, archiving, and more – from wherever, whenever. And, as a partner-first company, Intermedia goes to work for over 7,300 channel partners to help them grow their revenue and maximize their success.