CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Biography and Background:
In 1991, Elise was graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA degree in Business, Psychology and Spanish, and in 1996 she was awarded a Master of Business Administration in Management degree from Metropolitan State University, College of Management, St. Paul, Minnesota. Elise has over 30 years of technology sales, marketing and management experience, and over 20 years of government agency contract and project management experience. Elise began her business with a comprehensive marketing plan and analysis that was written as her final thesis paper to obtain her MBA. She researched methodologies; competitive and strategic analysis and economics of the technology field, and created her business plan accordingly. Her plan took into consideration the dynamics and requirement for flexibility in a continually evolving marketplace. At the time the plan was written, Elise worked for a Value Added Reseller in Minneapolis, MN and saw numerous opportunities to improve their business model and strategy. She realized all of her work would increase her earnings, but would not give her the necessary control to execute her plans and great a best in class organization where clients were centric and employees had an opportunity to grow professionally and personally.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Ideal has been very channel-centric for all of the 20 years we have been in business. Over the past few years, we have strategically made it our priority to strengthen and build our channel relationships as we add more capabilities to our solutions portfolio. Channel relationships allow us to complement and provide additional capabilities to our solutions portfolio. The relationships are as important as our customer relationships. Additionally, we have added a Vendor Relations Manager to focus on our channel partnerships and programs. Channel partnerships allow us to be more competitive, provide more value and capabilities to our customers and focus on our core capabilities.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our number one goal is to strengthen our channel relationships in order to strengthen our capabilities with an end result of increased sales. We will continue to focus on our channel strategy and development of our channel relationships. With an award of a major Government Wide Acquisition Contract, we have had to leverage the strength and resources of our channel partners, perform a gap analysis and add new vendors and relationships to our portfolio. This will be an ongoing process.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
CRN Magazine, Elite Power Women of the Channel 2016; Junior Achievement Upper Midwest Hall of Fame 2016 - excellence in business and philanthropy; St. Louis Park Senior High School Distinguished Alumni 2016 - contributions to the community and society through a distinguished career; US Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency Entrepreneur of the Month January 2016 - leveraging MBDA's programs; National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame 2016 - business achievements and philanthropic contributions worthy of historic acknowledgment; Twin Cities Business 100 People to Know 2016 - influence to grow Minnesota's economy

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Marilyn T. Bryant, a woman dedicated to philanthropy and women in the business field. I credit Marilyn with providing me the financial resources, through an endowed scholarship, that allowed me to receive an MBA. It was because of the thesis paper written to complete this degree, a business plan for a company called Ideal System Solutions, Inc., that I was able to take these written words and implement them into a business that still exists 20 years later.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
You go girl! You are entering a field that will provide you with so many opportunities for growth, advancement and success. Technology is everywhere and used in almost every business - it is always evolving. Technology is no longer about sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day and programming. There are so many different career choices in this field. The more specialized you become, the higher the demand, and salary, for your skill. For example, cyber security is hot and most likely will not be going away anytime soon.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I would love to walk in the shoes of Hetty Lange from NCIS Los Angeles. Hetty is the Operations Manager for the NCIS team. Hetty has unparalleled access to contacts throughout the intelligence and defense communities, which she does not hesitate to exploit when required for the success of a mission or to protect the lives of her agents. Her reputation has taken on an almost legendary aspect; it is such that the mere mention of her name is often enough to strike fear into those who have heard of her. She has an extensive list of aliases.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Paris! It looks so romantic. Its history, culture, restaurants, shops, artists - it all fascinates me and is a place I definitely want to visit in my lifetime.

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