Women in GIS: Shawana Johnson & Susan Sinclair of Global Marketing Insights

By Joe Francica

Women in GIS
Shawana Johnson & Susan Sinclair of Global Marketing Insights

As part of Directions Magazine's continuing series "Women in GIS" we present the women of Global Marketing Insights.Shawana Johnson (pictured on the left), President, and Susan Sinclair, a senior associate, have been around GIS for a long time.Both served time at EOSAT, where Dr.Johnson was Director of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for nine years, and Ms.Sinclair was Managing Director of Worldwide Distribution for ten years and had been the Director of Oracle Corporation's Global GIS/Land Management Group.Directions Editor, Joe Francica (JF) conducted the interview.

JF: How did you come to start Global Marketing Insights?
Shawana Johnson (SJ): In 1997, I was with Space Imaging EOSAT and several of our distributors asked me for help in their business management processes.I was in the last year of completing my Doctoral Thesis and decided I would start my own company and the rest is history.

JF: What kind of project do you do? Companies you serve?
Susan Sinclair (SS): Strategic growth planning which means finding new markets, expanding revenue streams, and growing companies based upon markets and internal characteristics of geospatial organizations.Sales and marketing work is an outgrowth of this overall plan.
SJ: Our clients are the GIS Industry-data, hardware and software providers, Mapping Companies, Aerial and Satellite Data Companies and range anywhere in size from $6Billlion to under $2million in revenues.

JF: What does your typical day or week look like?
SJ: A typical week consists of either preparing for the delivery of our Strategic Plannin and Sales and Market Planning sessions or completing specific market research.Other than completing our project work we spend time marketing and selling our services directly to companies in the industry or via industry conferences such as, GITA, GeoTec, ESRI, ASPRS, etc.

JF: What involvement to you have with GIS professional groups or organizations?
SJ: We are MAPPS members and we sit on several committes there and all writers for several industry publications such as EOM, GeoWorld. We are also waiting to hear if we have qualified to be an ESRI Industry Partner in the Consultant program.

JF: What is the most important "next thing" that will happen in GIS?
SS: The inclusion of GIS technology in many mainstream applications - we see this happening especially as GIS is the main infrastructure technology for wireless networks.
SJ: In our opinion "wireless" is the next big move in GIS as is the movement of GIS into the full interoperability of companies. We believe more and more GIS type functions will move into the mainstream of businesses and become another major sector of the IT component of the company. Business executives want the solutions they don't want to know about the backroom mechanics. We beleive you will see a lot more of activity such as what GE has done with incorporating Smallworld into GE Power Systems division as the full service and solution provider in the power industry for data and transmission markets.That group is now called GE Network Solutions and not only will they complete projects for GE Power Systems but GE can offer their capabilities to their Power Industry clients. We beleive you will see a lot more of this type of activity in the acquisitions of GIS companies to enhance the offerings of a large corporation into their niche markets.

JF: What is the accomplishment of which you are most proud?
SS: Working internationally - starting with being on staff at the US Embassy in Spain at the start of my career
and later serving in Asia with both Oracle Corporation as the head of Oracle's Global GIS and Land Management Solutions Group as well as with Space Imaging EOSAT.

JF: Before you came to GIS, what did you think your career would be?
SJ: I as most of my associates have made a career in marketing and sales so must of us thought we would always be involved in marketing and sales and we are. Most of us have been involved in GIS since 1988. GIS technology is so fulfilling because it provides useful applications for the entire globe.Now we can do what our careers have always been focused on but in an extemely fulfilling industry which is always changing.

JF: Would you recommend GIS to other women? Why?
SS: Yes, it is an absolutely fascinating area - everyday there is something new to learn. This means that there are alot of opportunities.
SJ: We would definitely recommend GIS to other women for several reasons, it possesses some of the latest advancements in technology, it is not overflowing with a great deal of women, it is a fun and exciting industry to be involved in due to all the helpful applications that GIS provides the entire world. You can have fun, and help others at the same time - which is a natural for women.

Published Friday, May 17th, 2002

Written by Joe Francica

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