One of our "Power 30 Solution Providers"
Biography and Background:
Chris Wolff has played a key role in growing Dimension Data from an early-stage company to a nearly $8 billion business. She and her team serve the company's multi-billion dollar Cisco products and services business, reporting to one of the company's founders and its Global CEO. She previously held VP-level roles in sales development, solutions marketing, and talent engagement for the Americas team. "Wolffie" is a member of the Dimension Data Leadership Forum and Leadership Development Program, NTT Group Senior Women's Leadership Program, and Cisco Empowered Women's Network. She likes to spend her free time cycling, golfing, mentoring women in STEM and cheering on the Duke Blue Devils.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
IOT and digitization are creating massive opportunities for organizations that think and act boldly to consume innovation. We've recognized the need to help our clients embrace disruptive technologies, think exponentially and manage the intensity that comes with running a digital business. This is especially true when it comes to automating security across the network, data center, collaboration platforms and access points. I'm helping to evangelize the value a digital network architecture can bring to our clients across our sales teams, including why they need to become fluent in the language, commercial models and best approaches to cybersecurity. I'm also helping to break down the silos between traditionally separate networking, data center and security practices. A highlight this year was teaming with Cisco marketing all-star Inbar Lasser-Raab to co-host a first of its kind Digital Network Architecture global engineering summit between Cisco and Dimension Data, and working collaboratively toward major announcements at Cisco Live and IOT World Forum.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
For more than 25 years, Dimension Data has been Cisco's largest and most decorated channel partner. As cloud and IOT disrupt and transform markets, together we're embracing software and "as-a-service" routes to market, and the extensive back office changes that entails. My goal is to continue to innovate with Cisco, making our quote to cash and data sharing processes run smoothly and growing our business in these new models.
What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in The Channel Company's Women of the Channel conference in December, moderating a panel on innovation. Following that, The Channel Company invited me to join the 2017-2018 Women of the Channel Advisory Board, which is incredibly exciting. The Women of the Channel Conference continues to gain momentum based on a foundation of bringing women executives together to build lasting relationships, promote the role of women in high-tech organizations and improve business skills and collaboration. Its board members are amazing leaders, and I know I'll learn a lot with and from them.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Ruba Borno joined Cisco two years ago as VP of Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff for CEO Chuck Robbins. She's been instrumental in transforming the way Cisco's Executive Leadership Team (ELT) operates. Together, we've helped Cisco and Dimension Data think boldly. Ruba has spoken about her amazing journey: she and her family fled an oppressive regime on a single day's notice. Ruba and her three sisters studied hard and thrived. She holds a Ph.D.in Electrical Engineering, loves Soul Cycle, and rocked the keynote at Cisco Live wearing couture leather from Paris. She's an awesome leader, sister and friend.
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Take heed liberal arts majors! We actually have more "non-techies" than technical graduates in our field. If you want to know what it takes to succeed in tech, look to the Women of the Channel stats! Our industry offers careers in every field: sales, marketing, communications, HR, corporate social responsibility, finance, accounting, operations, and yes, even computer science. Our industry also offers growth and compensation that will allow you to support yourselves, a family and even your parents as we get older.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I'd like to be Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies. She's smart. She's a loyal friend. She's bold, resourceful, and caring, and as one reviewer put it, "She doesn't fall into the stereotype of using logic exclusively at the expense of acknowledging her emotions." She's also the incarnation of two people I admire greatly: Emma Watson and J.K. Rowling. Then , there's the wand!
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Tokyo! I've grown to greatly admire the Japanese culture, making friends and collaborating with colleagues from our parent company, NTT. The population density demands that people treat one another with respect, and the Japanese have made courtesy an art, literally in the form of the Geisha and the Maiko (apprentice Geishas). That said, I have a healthy respect for the language challenge - my friends recommend you have your hotel write down your hotel and destination in Japanese characters because you will most certainly get lost. But anyone on the street will take pride in helping you. It's part of their culture!
Unedited Content Provided By Participants