Biography and Background:
Katie Bensten is Untangle's Director of Sales and has been with the company since the beginning, adapting to the challenges and growth opportunities. Katie earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where she was involved in Greek life as a Pi Beta Phi. When she's not running the sales team, Katie spends her free time volunteering at her church.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
One of my core duties as Director of Sales is managing our more than 1,000 channel partners. We have a 3-tiered program that allows our partners to move up within the tiers to enjoy higher revenue. Our tiers are called "Authorized", "Select", and "Star", and are structured to increasingly reward partners that excel at promoting our products across their client bases. I have helped to develop our partner program to include not just Value Added Resellers (VARs), but also Managed Services Providers (MSPs) and Managed Security Services Providers (MSSPs). Under my guidance, our team has created resources to assist our partners on how to properly position and sell the Untangle NG Firewall solution. I often help our partners close deals to ensure their customers are receiving the right product, and the partner is getting the best deal.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
One of my goals over the next year for the channel partner program is to, of course, add more partners. Another goal is to provide more partner-friendly resources that can be easily utilized by all the types of partners we have. Ideally, I would like to create a welcome kit that provides all the resources they need in one place. I also would like to create an open forum for the partners to discuss their experience and ask questions.
What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I truly admire Oprah Winfrey, not just because she worked her way up to build an empire, but because she is did it with such grace and charisma. She has inspired so many other women to go after their dreams. Her generous disposition inspires me to give back to those in need.
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
The IT world is dominated by men, so to be successful as a woman, you need to develop a thick skin. Having your voice heard while also taking constructive criticism is an art that women need to master. Keeping on top of the latest technology is a requirement to stay ahead of the game. Finding a mentor is crucial not only to help shape your career, but also provide guidance through company changes and situations.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I would be Erin Brockovich. Erin is a strong, independent women living in a male-dominated world, much like I find myself in the IT sales world. She tackled adversity, and people questioning her ability to perform everyday, which is something I can relate to as I have grown into the Director of Sales role here at Untangle. I also love Julia Roberts as an actor and person, and think her portrayal of Erin was remarkable.
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
I would travel to Thailand. I have always dreamed of visiting Thailand and indulging in the street food, island hopping and relaxing in the gardens filled with Buddha statues. The beaches are exquisite and seem to offer the perfect place to rest and read a good book. Not to mention, the culture, people and day-to-day shuffle is exactly what I would love to explore.
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