CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Heather McEwen

CEO, Saasam

Location: Auckland, New Zealand


Number of years in current position: 5

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 10

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss
Enjoys public speaking
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Spotify
Has a personal mantra
Can ride a motorcycle

Biography and Background:
Heather has over 30 years' experience in programming, business analysis, project management and executive management, having worked extensively in Europe, Australia, USA, and Canada. She led a variety of projects from large-scale integrated implementations to single-situation custom development projects. From 1987 to 1995, Heather was self-employed initially as a software developer and then as a project manager, working for clients in Australia and New Zealand including Digital Equipment and Oracle. In 1997, she partnered with her brother to found Xenacom where she managed software development projects as well as delivery and support functions until mid-2007. Having developed a formal product suite, Heather and her brother decided to separate his specialist consulting from the technical part of the business. As CEO, Heather focused on product innovation while overseeing maintenance and support. She led the company to win the Go Global Supreme Award from the Icehouse in 2004. Heather formed Saasam in 2011 specifically to be a reseller for Agiloft after discovering the product while searching for a flexible HelpDesk Application for a client. Since forming Saasam, Heather has grown the company from a start up to a business with more than $1 million in revenue, while growing her staff to 12.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Saasam is a channel business and, as CEO, Heather has driven the company's growth over the past five years. She has filled all roles, from pre-sales, sales, marketing, recruitment, training and more. In the past year, she has instituted a new marketing and strategy plan aimed at expanding lead generation. She has also focused on bringing on senior level staff to bridge the conversation with businesses around improving technology and processes to boost efficiency. This will help us engage with management at companies easily and credibly. In the past two years, Saasam has increased its staff by 300-400%. She also manages the relationship with Agiloft, which Saasam resells and implements throughout New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Saasam aims to be known throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia for delivering Agiloft, a top business process automation platform. Its goals for the next year are threefold: • To ensure we are delivering first-class service to our customers • Grow our customer base in Australia and Southeast Asia • Double our revenue

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
Heather belongs to the Institute of Directors, has been on the advisory board of Women in Technology, was twice nominated for Women in Business - Business Woman of the Year and has held the position of Executive Director of HortiTech NZ, being one of their 14 founding members. By growing its partnership with Agiloft over the past year, Saasam has also been recognized in the past year as a Platinum Partner, the highest level of recognition possible.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Linda Jenkinson, a New Zealand country girl who is behind the development of five businesses and a non-profit, WOW for Africa, and raised more than $300 million in investment. In 1998, she was the second Kiwi and first woman ever to float a company on the United States Nasdaq stock exchange. Her current appointments include being a director for Air New Zealand. She inspires, leads and proves that women can achieve anything they aspire to. I am extremely fortunate to count Linda as a friend and to have her on the advisory board for Saasam.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Tech is a great place for women to work. Don't be intimidated by anybody who tries to tell you that women aren't suited to it. They are most definitely suited and the industry suits women with good pay, generally flexible hours and a lot of companies allow you to work offsite, if desired. There are many avenues within the tech industry to explore, such as analysis, coding, web development, and project management. Ask questions until you get the answers you need. Find out what you are passionate about and go ahead and build the things you envisage.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Erin Brockovich - to stand up to corporate greed and give a voice to people who otherwise would have none.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Reykjavik. To experience the beauty of the Northern lights and to interact with people who are some of the most innovative, happy people on earth. To recharge my energy with relaxing in thermal pools and to discover the history of the Vikings and how it shaped the country of Iceland.

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