Location: Santa Clara, CA
Number of years in current position: 2
Number of years involved with indirect sales: 27
Twitter Handle: @ArubaNetworks
Biography and Background:
With over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, Donna Grothjan is vice president of worldwide channels for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. In this role, Donna leads and manages all aspects of Aruba's partnering strategy, channel sales, partner programs and partner enablement. In addition, she also has responsibility for go to market and sales for the SMB and OEM segments for Aruba worldwide. Previously, she was VP of worldwide distribution for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with worldwide responsibility for distribution strategy and sales for the Enterprise Group. Before joining HP, Donna held a number of worldwide channel and distribution-focused executive positions at Juniper Networks and before that, she served as senior VP of product management for Ingram Micro North America, where she was responsible for all product management roles including vendor relationships, business development and purchasing. Donna holds a bachelor of arts in business administration from California State University, Fullerton.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Over the past year, I've been focused on the design, development and launch of the new HPE Partner Ready for Networking (PRfN) program, which brings together the best elements from the award-winning Aruba PartnerEdge and HPE Partner Ready channel programs to create a best-in-class program featuring a single operating model across our edge networking portfolio and the integration of all channel tools and services into one innovative program. PRfN was designed to allow our partners to capitalize on the fast-growing mobile-first market opportunity by providing them with an industry-leading, comprehensive product and solution suite that is at the forefront of mobility and IoT, predictable profitability and an ease of doing business. A key part of my responsibilities in this undertaking has been helping our partners smoothly transition into the new program, so they can enjoy the expanded business, revenue and profit opportunities it offers. Additionally, I've worked on developing a true global program to support our global partners, who have unique requirements for partner programs. This has involved meeting with our global partners to discern their key needs and identifying, crafting and advancing initiatives that will enable them to provide the service types and levels necessary to support global customers.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our key goal is to fully transition our partners into the new Partner Ready for Networking program, so they can take full advantage of the many benefits it offers -- from front-end discounts and back-end rebates to new business opportunities. We want to increase the number of partners that hold competencies in the various components of our Mobile First Platform so they can help their customers make the transition to mobile, cloud and IoT. We want to help our partners 'see beyond infrastructure' and identify and pursue new revenue streams for their customers that will ultimately expand their businesses.
What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was selected to CRN's 2017 listing of the Most Influential Channel Chiefs, where I was recognized for my role overseeing the development and launch of the new HPE Partner Ready for Networking program, which brings together the best elements from the Aruba PartnerEdge and HPE Partner Ready channel programs and allows partners to capitalize on the burgeoning mobile-first market opportunity.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
One woman who stands out to me is Sue Barsamian, Chief Sales Officer & SVP, Marketing for HPE Software. Sue has an amazing ability to connect with people regardless of who they are, what their experiences are or their age. I deeply admire her work ethic, her ability to connect concepts in order to formulate a broader picture, and her ability to just listen. These are all skills and traits that I try to emulate every day.
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
I'd tell them, "Don't let technology scare you, simply because you think you aren't 'technical' enough. There's a role in technology for anything you want to do." Working in an industry that is constantly evolving is exciting and it will always challenge you. That's what makes it fun! As you start your career, find a mentor that can help you navigate through the personal and business challenges that may arise -- someone that can help you keep up with technology and business trends, and who can provide sound advice on situations that can impact you, your partners or your customers.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
My current favorite fictional character is Daenerys Targaryen from the Game of Thrones. Regardless of the loss of her family or the loss of her kingdom, she continues to remain strong, confident and courageous. I like her strong moral compass and how, once she sets a goal or identifies a target, she is committed to attaining it.
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Paris. I travel often to France for work, but I have never had the opportunity to fully explore this popular and world-renowned city. I have long been fascinated by its position as a global center for art, culture, fashion, and cuisine, and its historic architecture, and I would relish the chance to take it all in at a slow pace and enjoy it. In addition to climbing the Eiffel Tower and touring the Louvre, I'd spend time exploring the city's varied, celebrated restaurants, soaking in the city's 'cafe culture'. There's nothing like eating amazing food in an amazing city.
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