Biography and Background:
In her role as Principal Director, EMEA Channels for Sungard Availability Services, Karen Falcone is responsible for building and managing the EMEA Channel Program and Sales organization. Sungard Availability globalized its Channel Program in early 2016. Karen was brought in to build and grow the EMEA Channel organization to support aggressive growth targets in the UK, France, Ireland and the Nordics. Karen has an extensive background in building channel programs and developing relationships with alliance partners to drive joint go to market (GTM) activities. Prior to her post in EMEA, she was Global Director Service GTM at Dimension Data where she was responsible for creating, managing and driving GTM strategy, programs and regional enablement for Dimension Data's portfolio of Services in its System Integration Unit across 5 geographic regions. Before this she spent 19 years at Sungard AS, most recently as the VP of Strategic Alliances with responsibility for the global management of Cisco and NetApp Alliances. Karen recruited, on-boarded and enabled Cisco and NetApp's ecosystem of partners to drive revenue for Sungard AS services. Additionally, Karen has a background in the Finance sector, derived from working as a VP - Middle Market Lending at a large regional bank.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Sungard had a direct sales model in EMEA for over 20 years. In a period of less than a year, I have established the channel organization in EMEA, upgraded the channel team with experienced channel sales executives, established channel practices, and programs and recruited key partners in each region. Additionally, I led the effort with our channel strategy group to develop strong value propositions for our industry leading recovery services business to differentiate ourselves in the market with partners on all regions of EMEA. Also, we are working with key Alliance partners such as EMC , Cisco and AWS to drive our solutions based on their infrastructure. Sungard AS has a differentiated secure Gov't cloud in the UK and we GTM exclusively with partners in the public sector which continues to be a growth sector.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My primary goal for the EMEA channel business is to grow revenue through channel partners with a material impact on new logo business. More specifically moving from single digit percentage of revenue influenced by partners to double digit percentage of revenue influenced by partners in 2017 with an eye toward closer to 30-50% in 2018. From an awareness view, our value proposition for partners is very strong in the DRaaS space and our goal is to establish Sungard as the preferred Resiliency Partner in EMEA.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Arianna Huffington . I admire her for starting the Huffington Post at 55 years old showing that if you are passionate about something and committed, nothing can stop you. She was also brave enough to shine a light on the issue of not getting enough sleep and how that impacts productivity and health with her personal story. She also shared her personal story of a child with an addiction problem. So many people can identify with her and she has probably helped more people than she knows!
What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
My advice would be to get some sort of accreditation or degree in engineering or other technical space. A lot of women start in other industries in sales or marketing and move into technology. Having more of a pedigree increases differentiation and credibility. Even taking courses or starting in a product development role helps provided more well rounded experience to climb the ladder. Having the technical foundation is key.
If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I would be Lisa Fremont from Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window". Lisa (Grace Kelly) was on the outside one person but had something more inside. The way her real and adventurous side surfaced was when she wanted to show her partner what she was really made of and ended up impressing him. It took her leaving her comfort zone for something she wanted. LB Jeffries, the love interest(Jimmy Stewart) discounted her as not being able to survive in his world of being a wordly photographer. She proved him wrong!
If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Tel Aviv, Israel. It is an ultra modern city built out of the desert in 1948, when Israel became a nation. I admire the rich history and strong allegiance of the Jewish people to a country they always have to defend. This, coupled with the aspect of it being the Silicon Valley of the Middle East, is hugely interesting to me.
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