Biography and Background:
Erna has more than 25 years of experience leading channels and alliances teams and initiatives. Prior to joining ZL, she was the vice president of Global Channel and Partner Marketing at Plantronics where she was responsible for developing Plantronics' global and strategic alliance marketing, channel strategies and go-to-market models. Arnesen worked in similar roles in channel sales, marketing, and alliance management at Cisco Services, Symantec, Fujitsu Softek, CyberSource, SGI, NeXT and Apple Computer. Erna is on the Board of Directors of Watermark, a women's leadership organization. She serves on the board of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (ASAP) and has also served as an advisory board member of Women in Consulting (WIC). Erna is an honoree of the Watermark Women Who Made Their Mark, and honoree of the Women of Influence Award by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. She has received the YWCA Tribute to Women in Industry (TWIN) award, and is a graduate of Leadership California. As a veteran channel executive/channel chief, Erna has been on numerous Channel Chief and Women of the Channel lists over the years. Erna has a master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
In my prior role I built out a unified global partner program, allowing the company to reach European and Asian markets and grow revenue more rapidly. Since coming to ZL Technologies, I've worked on driving clarity around a global business model for partnerships, including building visibility around our channel strategy. I've helped our company crystalize its vision for channel development, and have refined the organization's business proposition for partners. Leveraging our unique technology and the recent release of ZL File Analysis and Management, this proposition is based on a collaborative sales model designed for partner success, and partner enablement programs that include tools, training, and support. The significance of alliances and channel partners as they interrelate to one another has provided an incremental opportunity for ZL, as it extends our product and service innovation. By engaging a large ecosystem of companies that interact with our existing client base, I've helped the company gain access to relationships that provide a natural vehicle for reaching the customers to whom we are best equipped to provide software services. The partnerships we've created have helped us provide the best possible support to our large customers across all industries, including financial services, biopharma and manufacturing.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My biggest goals are to advance and continue to refine our business proposition to partners around our File Analysis and Management product line, as well as continue to build out a global partner strategy that makes it easier and more profitable to do business with ZL Technologies. As we improve our partner enablement programs, I hope to increase our recruitment of all types of partners - technology partners, consulting partners, services partners, as well as traditional channel reseller partners. An additional goal is to engage our alliance partners and their respective channel partner ecosystems to expand our collective reach.
What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
In 2016, I frequently placed in the Cloud Global Power 100 Influence List. Held by Rise, a social media tracking organization, the list is dedicated to recognizing inspiring social media profiles that provide value to the community. I was also included on a list of 50 Channel Marketing Leaders to connect with on social media, as selected by Leadtail, a social media insight and strategy organization. The list was compiled by analyzing Twitter data to valuate engagement and community involvement. I've highlighted these awards, because they reflect my commitment to fostering community and embracing the digital transformation within channel marketing.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Madeleine Albright is a woman I've always admired. She came from my alma mater and overcame countless obstacles to become the first female Secretary of State, which has been a vital inspiration in my life. I'm such a fan of how she uses personal style to symbolize her values, including the famous pins that she wears to represent her beliefs. At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, she wore a pin made of broken glass, emblematic of the glass ceiling that had been shattered by Hillary Clinton's nomination. This was a deeply powerful statement to myself and women across the country.
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Explore many options, and be flexible. There's a lot of opportunity early on for young women to move around and try different roles. Being able to move between different spaces or verticals, or between hardware and software is very valuable. It's also more interesting, more diverse, and you learn a lot more. Don't get stuck at the same position or company for too long. Of course you have to pay your dues, but once you've reached the point of maintaining or just making minor improvements at your current position, start something new.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I would love to live a day in the life of Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice, as well as the film based on it. She's smart and understated, and isn't afraid to challenge the establishment. In an age where marriage is treated as a matter of prudence and solidifying social standing, only Elizabeth is seemingly able to appreciate its true significance. Though she's remarkably self-aware and an exceptional judge of character, she also perceives her surroundings with a refreshing playfulness that mystifies the characters around her. Anyone could learn from a character like her.
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Visiting Istanbul is a personal dream of mine. It has such a fascinating history with its role in the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, and as the point where the eastern and western world meet. There are so many things to be enchanted by, from its positioning between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, to its cosmopolitan population, to its amazing architecture, yet it's hard to find a time when I could actually go long enough to fully appreciate it. It's a place I truly hope I'll be able to experience in my lifetime.
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