The Divas from Diva Tech Talk recently interviewed Jane Sydlowski, Founder and CEO of AMI Strategies (www.amistrategies.com). Jane is quite unique. There are a handful of women, who created and continue to lead successful technology companies, thriving over 20 years. The number of those women becomes minuscule, when you examine tech companies in the Midwest vs. Silicon Valley or Route 128 in Massachusetts. Jane’s Michigan-based company is exceptional, approaching its 25 year anniversary, having carved out an innovative technology niche, serving clients all over the country.
Jane founded AMI Strategies to help the business community make intelligent decisions when it comes to telecommunications expenditures. One of the company’s breakthrough products, temNOW™, is a cloud-based solution, saving Fortune 1000 companies, and smaller businesses, millions in costs.
Jane says "[her] brain is wired that way", as she refers to her love for math/engineering, her personal mission, and the path she pursued in college. When she was an engineer at a major telecommunications provider, she observed the “fat” in the invoices and network architecture, and knew there was a better way to manage expenses and communications infrastructure. AMI Strategies was born from Jane’s personal conviction that applying technology and rigorous, honest business practices to that problem would help companies significantly save, succeed and thrive.
Over 24 years, AMI Strategies (staffed by 60% women), survived two recessions, with 50% of the largest clients filing for bankruptcy at some point in recessionary periods. “Our labor costs doubled, because clients needed us, but funds coming in were delayed,” Jane says. Nevertheless, AMI carried on, and Jane attributes that to the fact that she is guided by a higher power. She also says that many of her life lessons have emanated from what raising her three children has taught her. Jane’s advice to women leaders is to deploy what she calls her learned “football skills:” be competitive, unemotional, and fearless.Her AMI team is very important to Jane. “I look for people who are willing to take risks, and move forward with conviction.”
To lead a company, she shares some pragmatic observations:
· It is easy to lead in good times. But make sure you are at peace with your higher calling in life to survive the bad times. Faith, family and enterprise are the three things that inspire Jane, in exactly that order.
· When you get bad news, inculcate it for 24 hours. Then, learn and move on. No dwelling allowed.
· Don’t “live in the gap.” While there will always be someone to whom you can compare yourself, and some other levels of success to which you can aspire, don’t pay attention to any of that. Live for today, knowing that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Choose joy.
When it comes to women pursuing technology careers, Jane also offers some excellent advice:
1. The technology field is filled with men. Don’t worry about that. Be yourself.
2. Never be defensive.
3. Always be professional.
4. Win on competence.
And, above all, practice fearlessness.
Jane is the Founder of AMI Strategies, a Telecom Expense Solution: http://amistrategies.com/
Jane mentions and recommends the following women in technology organizations throughout this episode:
Michigan Council for Women in Technology - Women in Technology Organization - http://www.mcwt.org/
We Build Character - Mentoring Organization - http://www.webuildcharacter.org/
Midwest Technology Leaders - Technical Leadership Conference - http://mtlevent.com/
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