CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Rebecca Thompson

Vice President Marketing, Avere Systems

Location: Pittsburgh, PA


Number of years in current position: 8

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 8

Fun Facts:

Enjoys public speaking
Has an advanced degree
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Is a mentor
Loves Spotify
Can ride a motorcycle
Had a lemonade stand

Biography and Background:
Rebecca brings more than twenty years of marketing and product management expertise to Avere Systems from technology companies that range from large public entities to small privately held firms. Prior to Avere, she was vice president of marketing at Vivisimo [now part of IBM], where she successfully positioned the software company from a niche player to a market leader in enterprise search by focusing on the development and promotion of Web 2.0 functionality. Before Vivisimo, Rebecca was vice president of marketing at FreeMarkets [now part of SAP], a pioneer in global spend management, and responsible for managing and developing the company's product lines and worldwide marketing initiatives after its successful IPO. Before FreeMarkets, she was director of corporate marketing at FORE Systems until its acquisition by Marconi. Prior to FORE, she built the highest-rated analyst relations program in the industry at Cisco Systems and was an industry analyst for Dataquest [Gartner Group], both in San Jose, CA. Rebecca has a B.A. from the University of North Dakota.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
At Avere Systems, Rebecca has been the executive champion behind building the company's cloud channel partner program. When Avere first launched in 2008, it sold products only to the on-premises data center. In 2014, Avere launched its first cloud-based product. Since entering the cloud market, Avere has experienced triple digit growth year over year, with 50 percent of new customer acquisitions coming from its cloud business. Rebecca saw the exponential growth of the company's cloud business as an opportunity to expand Avere's channel program, with one program focused on on-premise data center solution providers and the other on cloud solution providers. With the cloud involving its own degree of competency, Rebecca saw a clear reason for structuring Avere's channel program this way, allowing the company to broaden the reach of its cloud consulting expertise to new partners and add 20 new channel partners in the past year.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Currently, channel sales and direct sales equally drive Avere's revenue stream. In the next year, Rebecca and the team are aiming to increase channel sales by 10 percent by bringing on new integrators and partners into its cloud business. Rebecca sees cloud customers and partners becoming the dominant driver for Avere's growth.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
Rebecca did not receive any awards personally in 2016, however it is important to note that Dale Lafferty, Sr. Director, Worldwide Partner Program Sales at Avere was named a channel chief in CRN's Coolest Cloud Vendors; 2016 Channel Chiefs awards. Avere was also named "Google Cloud Platform Technology Partner of the Year," for which Avere was recognized for a culmination of the close technical collaboration and joint customer success between Avere and Google Cloud Platform.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Rebecca admires Jayshree Ullal, president and CEO of cloud networking company Arista Networks, for her fearless leadership and ability to take Arista Networks public in 2014 when the IPO market for technology companies hit a low point. Jayshree was able to build Arista Networks from the ground up while being a mother and a mentor to others in the Silicon Valley community. Jayshree's success as a woman in technology has influenced Rebecca's career since working together at Cisco.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Rebecca would tell young women not to be influenced by the media, which frequently discusses the disadvantages of being a woman in technology. Rebecca sees tons of opportunity for women in the growing technology industry, whether it's in engineering roles, supporting business roles, etc. Young women should look for companies where there are women on leadership teams or companies that have female technical leaders. This will be the biggest indicator for young women to identify a comfortable working environment.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
As her younger self, Rebecca would be Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. Hermione is a bright, intelligent and fearless character and these are the characteristics Rebecca exemplified while advancing in her career. At this point in time, Rebecca would be Queen Elizabeth, played by Cate Blanchett in the 1998 movie Elizabeth, because then she would rule the free world. Rebecca respects Queen Elizabeth's tough skin as she built an entire empire.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Rebecca would travel to Shanghai, China to visit where her spouse's grandmother was born and raised.

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