Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Number of years in current position: 6
Number of years involved with indirect sales: 22
Twitter Handle: @PlanetOneComm
Biography and Background:
As president of PlanetOne Communications, Lauren Shapiro is responsible for overseeing the company's business goals, sales, operations and vendor relationships. A respected and award-winning industry influencer with more than two decades of experience in telecommunications, Lauren joined Scottsdale, Ariz.-based PlanetOne as Vice President of Operations in 2010. In collaboration with Founder and CEO Ted Schuman, she has led the organization's rise to one of the nation's top Master Agencies and recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies for six consecutive years from 2011 through 2016. Today, PlanetOne Communications is the IT channel and telecom industry's preferred business partner for identifying and delivering connectivity solutions to small and midsize businesses and enterprises. In 2015, Lauren made her debut on CRN's Women of the Channel list as one of the Power 100, an exclusive list honoring outstanding female executives across vendor channel organizations prominently involved in the IT channel ecosystem for their achievements and the far-reaching impact they are having on the technology industry going forward. Prior to joining PlanetOne, Lauren held several sales leadership positions in the indirect and wholesale channels. She is a graduate of George Washington University and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
During the past twelve months we posted our highest-ever increase in sales in our 25-year history with a very significant percentage of that coming from cloud services. In fact, cloud comprised almost half our growth! We also continued to educate our partners on best practices to successfully sell new technologies, and broadened our portfolio of relevant cloud-based and connectivity providers. Additionally, we focused on better aligning our resources with our partners to enable their continued success. This includes helping them find or create sales opportunities, make the business case undeniable by architecting solutions that meet their customers' unique business requirements, and close the deal without compromising revenue and maximizing margin potential. One of our core principles is to be a passionate advocate for our partners, whether paving the way for closing more business deals, or representing them and their clients when escalations above and beyond normal channels are required. This "high touch" culture of accessibility and engagement allows us to assist in all aspects of the sale - from pre-sales strategy to post- sales implementation and project management.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our number one goal is serving our partners. We love helping them pivot from selling traditional telecom services to engaging in discussions around workflows and applications that bring more comprehensive and robust solutions. We will continue to earn their trust by helping them navigate through the unknown and boosting their confidence in having business discussions that drive digital transformation. We will also continue to forge successful alliances with IT solution providers, MSPs and VARs, supporting them with our tenured and skilled team of experts as they expand their service offerings to include telecom, cloud and related IT services.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I greatly admire Erin Andrews, not only for her accomplishments as a sportscaster in what is traditionally a male dominated industry but equally, if not more so, for her tenacity and grace during very difficult times. Through her tears she stood up for herself (and all women) during her stalking trial and peephole incident, then announced her battle with cervical cancer to encourage all women to get regular tests for this treatable disease. Taking a stand (literally in her case) for what is right is never easy especially when you're in the public limelight. Erin is a truly remarkable woman!
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Regardless of gender, I would encourage any young person to pursue a career doing something they truly enjoy. Technology touches almost every aspect of our culture today and will even more so as IoT and digital transformation take hold. Achieving success in technology means finding a path that nurtures your strengths and challenges you to learn constantly. Most importantly, surround yourself with people smarter than yourself - learn from them, ask questions, seek advice, be flexible and open to change, set your sights high and be disciplined enough to take steps to achieve your goals - both career and personal.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany's)! For so many reasons I just adore this character. She's a free spirit, living on her own in the greatest city in the world and just owns it! Holly and I may not share the same values about how to make a living but I admire her survival instincts and her contagious likeability! I'd probably choose almost any character that Audrey Hepburn played because she just enrolls you in loving her character.
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Sydney, Australia For starters, I want to hug a koala bear! I have heard so many wonderful things about the people and culture in Australia and though it's a painfully long plane flight I would love to visit someday soon. I'm a big fan of architecture and the Sydney Opera House has been on my list of places to visit since my college days. The only thing I would pass on is a Vegemite sandwich, nothing about it appeals to me!!!
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