CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Susan Biddle

Senior Director of Marketing, Fortinet

Location: San Diego, CA


Number of years in current position: 2.5

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 3

Twitter Handle: @HLSgirl

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss
Has an advanced degree
Has an MBA
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a personal mantra
Always wanted to be an Olympian

Biography and Background:
Susan is a high technology and healthcare marketing executive with over 15 years of experience driving new solutions from concept to market, managing diverse cross-functional teams and developing highly-effective marketing programs. Her expertise in strategic planning, market segmentation and research methodologies, along with a strong background in product & solutions marketing, demand generation, and key IT infrastructure solution areas for the health and life sciences industry enable Fortinet's channel partners to drive business and profitability. A self-proclaimed soccer mom extremist, Susan lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and three children and enjoys fine wine, running and spending time on the pitch.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
To effectively market and sell in the healthcare industry, it's important to be able to connect with customers and prospects. It is a must for the channel community to have a basic understanding of the industry such as health IT challenges (infrastructure, Security, Regulatory), how healthcare organizations operate, and speak the industry language (EMR, PHI, HIPAA etc). At Fortinet, we offer a set of free online industry onboarding modules so partners have a basic overview of the US healthcare industry and how to effectively position Fortinet solutions to address complex security concerns like medical device vulnerabilities, securing distributed healthcare enterprises, and mitigating advanced threats. We also provide a set of "channel-friendly" network segmentation and advanced threat protection marketing toolkits to help our partners execute healthcare-specific campaigns for thought leadership and demand generation. To help our partners establish thought leadership in healthcare, in 2016 we offered industry-relevant articles for content syndication that Platinum partners could subscribe to for their own customer newsletters or blog programs. These articles covered security-relevant topics in healthcare like medical device vulnerabilities, ransomware, security-aware internal training, sensitive human data threats, micro-segmentation, cloud security and PCI and HIPAA compliance.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our channel is critical to the success of our business. We will continue to build tools in 2017 that enable partners to better position themselves in the industry. We'll do this with campaigns, training, thought leadership, and programs that partners can leverage to drive their healthcare business and profitability.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Shannon MacMillan, retired US National soccer player. Her childhood was not the greatest and her journey to success fraught with adversity. Many told Shannon she would never make it as a professional athlete. She chose her mentors/friends wisely and never lost site of her identity, character, and sheer will to build a career doing what she loves, soccer. This motivation resulted in a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics, 1999 FIFA World Cup Championships, and professional career with the San Diego Spirit. She now coaches and hopes to inspire young female athletes to chase their dreams and never give up.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
The technology industry is fast-paced and exciting, but competitive. Pick an interest area and consider ways to market and differentiate yourself from your peers. Form that 20-second elevator pitch about you. Practice it. Own it. Believe in it. Take the time to listen and learn from industry veterans. Network, network, network, and build positive business relationships, not adversarial ones. The industry is big, but not that big and you never know when you may work with these people again throughout your long career. Most importantly, enjoy what you do. If not, move on. The tech industry is forgiving that way.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Shelby Eatenton, from Steele Magnolias. Although the character has a tragic ending, I love her passion for life. One might consider reckless her determination to live life to the fullest despite her debilitating disease and her loving mother's attempts to protect her. But I view it as inspirational. She refused to give up and compromise on her dreams, and she had a profound impact on everyone who knew her. I admire how much she selflessly cared for and loved her family and friends, even though she couldn't care for her own physical self. I hope to leave a similar legacy.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
I'm a little embarrassed to say I've never been to Paris, France. I have always wanted to experience the culture, history, art, and energy of the "City of Light", not to mention drink some amazing French wine. A photo from the top of and in front of the Eiffel Tower is a must.

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