CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Mary Piehler

Director, Northeast Public Sector, Lenovo

Location: Fairport, NY


Number of years in current position: 1

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 38

Twitter Handle: @MaryPiehler

Fun Facts:

Enjoys public speaking
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has a personal mantra

Biography and Background:
IT industry veteran, having spent over 20 years at Global IT providers Lenovo and HP, 5 years in the Security Software Industry and 8 years in the VAR community. Known as a channel advocate, Mary experience working in the channel provides a very realistic perspective of the challenges, the rewards, and most of all the importance of a solid, clear channel strategy that leads to profitable win-win relationships. Mary has served on the Global Advisory Board for Symantec, the North American Partner Advisory Board for Lenovo, and previously was an active member of Ingram Micro's Venture Tech. She is also a previous recipient of the "IT Woman of the Year Award" sponsored by the Association for Women in Computing. This award honors sustained contributions to the IT field, while advancing the status, opportunities, and employment for women in the technology profession. As a finalist for the New York "Athena Award", her nomination honors her professional excellence and community service. A passionate STEM advocate, Mary looks forward to continuing her role, helping US students pursue a variety of careers using their technology skills. Mary holds a BS in Management from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Our business is very partner led. We depend on the value added reseller community to assist us in uncovering opportunities and most of all in delivering quality deployments to our customer base. Our channel program continues to grow company wide. Supported by our senior leadership, we invested and expanded the programs that encompass both product and services for our national and regional VAR's. There is a unique opportunity for VAR's who are building or strengthening their mobility practices. I enjoy spending time with VAR's and showing them new products and solutions that help them gain more share of wallet from their customers. Proving our value to VAR's is key to our success. This is a combination of social interaction, margin improvement through bundling solutions as well as providing product and industry training. I'm very committed to successful partnering, lead sharing, and strategizing to win new business. Having worked for a VAR in the past, I am also mindful of the VAR's business requirements, and our need to become a vendor they want to partner with!

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Simply stated, channel growth. On a regional level we are consistently reviewing the partner base to identify where we can use more help, and how we can widen the solutions we offer. Our prospects and customers are looking for expertise and direction, so we will work to educate them on specific vertical solutions, new product and services introductions, and changing market trends. This is not just a company initiative, it is a regional effort to understand how we best serve customers with the best partners, on a consistent basis.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
None in the past 12 months.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Carly Fiorina is someone I admire for several reasons. It's not about politics, it was reading her book "Tough Choices" that made me see her differently. Carly is the subject of endless analysis, debate, and speculation, but her tenacity is never questioned and is often admired, even by those who disagree with her. Facing a difficult career, personal challenges with cancer and family issues, she gets back up and tries something new. "Not afraid to fail" defines her. I admire her courage and related to her description of this industry in the 1980's when we were sales reps.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Just do it! It's a fascinating industry in which you will learn something every day. It's never boring. I get asked all the time what has changed since I started in the '70's and the answer is EVERYTHING. Naturally, the products have evolved, but the industry itself has grown to impact everyone, not just IT people. A PC in every home, on every student desk, mobile devices we depend on to function, and now with the emergence of the Internet-of-Things, we see technology touches every aspect of our life. There is not a better industry to be in right now!

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I don't usually think about things like that! Seeing the movie "Hidden Figures" made me proud and disappointed. Proud of how these women carried themselves, despite the challenges and sad that the contribution of these women was overlooked for so long. It made me ask myself - how have I handled the challenges I have faced? If I could be any one of them for a day, I can only hope I would be as driven, dignified and committed as they were, knowing that my effort would make a difference. It's not about the accolades, it's about my contribution.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Rome, Italy. It's on my bucket list. Although I do love Italian food, having attended Catholic School for 16 years has also certainly tweaked my interest. I've been fascinated with the history in Rome. The architecture and culture, ancient ruins such as the Forum and the Colosseum, learning about the Roman Empire and seeing Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica and the masterpieces such as Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel frescoes.

Unedited Content Provided By Participants