CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Dawn Marie Ruszel

Sr. Director of World Wide Enterprise Channel Sales at HGST, HGST, a Western Digital Corporation brand

Location: Boulder, CO


Number of years in current position: 3.5

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 10

Twitter Handle: @HgstStorage

Fun Facts:

Is fluent in another language
Enjoys public speaking
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Spotify
Has a personal mantra
Has completed a marathon
Had a lemonade stand
Always wanted to be an Olympian

Biography and Background:
Dawn Marie (DiPonio) Ruszel graduated from Alma College in '97; while at Alma, she was an active member of a sorority, competed on the track team and coached local middle school sports. Shortly after college, Dawn Marie started her career in storage in Professional Services, managing large storage refreshes. After several years in the Data Center world, she found a passion for Partner Sales and working with the channel, where she spent the bulk of her career at EMC managing the channel in the Midwest. She later moved to join VCE at its inception, where she was responsible for on-boarding partners for services to assemble, deliver and consume systems for faster sales. Next she pursued a career at the startup, Virident; which four years later was acquired by HGST, a Western Digital Brand. At HGST, she launched Western Digital's first ever VAR-facing program for the newly formed enterprise sales team. Dawn Marie also helps drive the integration of all Western Digital partners via acquisitions.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Dawn Marie continues to leverage an ever-growing portfolio under Western Digital, focusing this year on the seamless integration of the InfiniFlash product family. Adding InfiniFlash to the Data Center Systems portfolio has greatly expanded the high-end capabilities to address the massive capacity and performance needs for big data and hyperscale workloads. Dawn Marie has been working with enterprise resellers to further broaden their storage solution offerings to customers, while giving Western Digital an extended reach into the market to span all enterprise storage needs. Dawn Marie constantly challenges the EPP team to think of the end goal, including marketing, when recruiting resellers by solving the resellers' challenges first, then focusing on their clients' challenges. The EPP team engages resellers who have the desire and the ability sell a scalable platform solution, thereby focusing on delivering a full solution to ensure a client's long-term success rather than fulfilling an immediate need for a component -- creating a win for resellers, partners and Western Digital.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Dawn Marie's goal is to enable partners' success. Selected partners receive warm leads, share in MDF, and co-sell on opportunities. Her team focuses attention on partners who lead with solutions and engage customers in focused verticals that help to achieve revenue targets. The EPP team wants to engage VARS who are invested in emerging technology and want to partner with a company that focuses on quality to help customers protect data. The team is committed to building the Western Digital storage portfolio and growing the program. WDC continues to strive for ease with on-boarding, enablement, deal qualification and incentivizing partners.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
In the past year, Dawn Marie was recognized for her extraordinary efforts with EPP by being inducted into Western Digital's Presidents Club. Outside of work, Dawn Marie is an avid runner and often participates in marathons where she was awarded medals in the Boulder 10K and Triple Bypass 120-mile ride with 10,000 ft. climb.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Dawn Marie surrounds herself with many inspirational women, who continuously encourage her to be her best self. Dawn Marie's best friend of 21 years courageously fought cancer, held high positions in technology firms and together they competed in their first Ironman. Her best friend is her constant source of encouragement and is a truly unbiased sounding board, both professionally and personally.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Be authentic, know yourself, and know your business. The most successful, engaging, and charismatic women have confidence that comes from knowledge of their businesses and of themselves. Set clear goals for where you want to go with your career and life. While the paths to attaining your goals won't always be the shortest or the smoothest, still try to find something positive in even the most difficult parts of life's journeys.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Dawn Marie admires Erin Brockovich; a passionate, self-confident woman who is a steadfast and straightforward heroine. Dawn Marie admires the determination Erin exhibited when she went up against the energy giant Pacific Gas and Electric Company, especially when she went head to head with the corporate giant and was unwavered by their team of lawyers. Dawn Marie would like to live one day in Erin's shoes to see how she could further help and inspire anyone that is facing a corporate "Goliath" and protect their best interests.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Cape Town, South Africa has always been a dream destination for Dawn Marie. It would be an exhilarating, once in a lifetime experience to go on a safari and see animals in their natural habitat in such close proximity. Dawn Marie would continue her trip with wine tasting in a famous South African wine region called Cape Winelands. Then she would end her trip at the Kruger National Park where she would stay at Lion Sands Narina Lodge and enjoy the beautiful views of the river, landscape, and not to mention the amazing wildlife.

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