Location: Santa Clara, CA
Number of years in current position: 1
Number of years involved with indirect sales: 20
Biography and Background:
Michele brings over 25 years of in-depth channel and sales experience in creating, building and enabling partner relationships. She has a solid track record of both the design and day-to-day operations of a global channel model, with the ability to launch effective channel strategies and drive incremental sales. She has deep knowledge and experience in developing partner programs, enabling partner expertise, and building value-added strategies. Michele has launched award winning partner programs and enablement platforms at Juniper Networks, FireEye and now SonicWall. Prior to Juniper, Michele led Channel Sales and Alliances teams at Tripwire and Sun Microsystems, and has experience in leading field channel sales organizations focused on leveraging single and two-tier channel and alliance models. Michele joined SonicWall in June 2016 as the Director of Global Channel Programs and Enablement. During her brief tenure, Michele has launched the SecureFirst Partner Program and SonicWall University, and is now responsible for the newly formed Education Services team which will help drive the overall education strategy for employees, customers, and partners worldwide.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Upon joining SonicWall just prior to its divestiture from Dell, Michele led the effort to launch the new SecureFirst Partner Program, which was just awarded a 5 Star Rating in CRN. We took a fresh look at everything from program requirements, partner enablement, reward for value and partner support and services. SecureFirst launched in November, 2016, and the partner adoption has been wildly successful with over 9,500 registrations across 90 countries. In this short period of time, we've seen a 66 percent increase in deal registrations in North America alone. It really reflects the mutual loyalty SonicWall has with its partner community. On the heels of this launch is SonicWall University, an entirely new enablement platform designed to deliver role-based training to our partners and provide them with online and instructor-led accreditation and certification curricula. We know that partner profitability starts with enablement and we are investing heavily in this area. In conjunction with the launch of the new SecureFirst Partner Portal, these efforts are a great testament to our emphasis on systems, infrastructure and tools that will ensure our partners quickly ramp to revenue.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
We have many exciting deliverables on the horizon including the launch of a formal Managed Services Program, an Authorized Services Partner Program, and the continued development of role based training and certification in SonicWall University. Realizing partners have multiple business models and service offerings, we want to provide the best partner programs, processes and enablement to meet their business needs. Driving partner profitability is first priority. To that end, we will continue to evolve the Reward for Value components of the SecureFirst Partner Program to keep up with the ever-changing needs of our partners, their customers, and advanced cyber threats.
What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
My husband and I own a small vineyard - we source our grapes to two fantastic winemakers. Our vineyard designated wines have scored 92 points in Wine Spectator. The teamwork that comes from farming, managing and harvesting a vineyard is very rewarding, and receiving recognition from an industry publication is both validating and exciting.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Well, my mother is my ultimate hero but I also have a lot of admiration for Michelle Obama. In her eight years in the White house, she tirelessly supported her husband, kept her family first, and still maintained her own identity and voice. I think she brought tremendous empathy to her role, exuded grace under pressure, and drove critical programs and initiatives that emphasized health and education for youth, like Let Girls Learn. She is an inspiring role model for young girls everywhere. Plus, a FLOTUS who can Carpool Karaoke? Come on!
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Surround yourself with a strong network of professionals that you can learn from, both inside and outside of our industry. Understanding business models in other industries can often give us fresh ideas on how to tackle tough issues or create new avenues. Brainstorm often - don't be afraid to say 'I don't know' and find someone who does. Go with your gut - if something doesn't feel right, it's usually not right. Find passions outside of your career - living a well-balanced life brings so much energy and passion to your work life.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Oh, please put me in a Meryl Streep movie - any character would do. To be able to channel that talent for a day would be extraordinary. I'd even take Florence Foster Jenkins - a hilarious but still very moving story and Ms. Streep just loses herself in the character. I am constantly amazed at the breadth and depth of her abilities. What a gift.
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Probably Capri, Italy. I've never been there but just admiring the Slim Aarons photos tells me you really want to do it right. The gorgeous setting, the food, the shopping experiencing that on someone else's dime would be pretty fantastic.
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