CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Cecilia Lessard

Sr. Director, NA Distribution & Channel Sales Operations, Kaspersky Lab

Location: Madeira Beach, FL


Number of years in current position: 8

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 25

Twitter Handle: @N/A

Fun Facts:

Has worked for a solution provider organization
Is a mentor
Has a personal mantra
Can ride a motorcycle

Biography and Background:
As Sr. Director of Distribution and Channel Sales Operations, Kaspersky Lab North America, Cecilia Lessard is responsible for all aspects of B2B channel distribution including alignment and execution of Kaspersky strategic objectives through marketing, operations and sales enablement, ensuring the highest levels of service for Kaspersky partners. Cecilia brings more than 20 years of IT channel and industry knowledge with distribution experience in product marketing, logistics, strategic project leadership, technical education and partner marketing. She is especially skilled at creative marketing strategies for distribution sales environments and partner profiling, as well as contract negotiation. Prior to joining Kaspersky Lab in 2008, Cecilia was a Director of Software at Tech Data Corporation responsible for business development in support of a broad range of manufacturing partners. Outside interests include reading, boating, cooking, family life and volunteering in her local community.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
As my primary responsibilities include working with North American distributors, I have found that the greatest channel benefits come from strategic engagements with resellers and improving efficiencies to provide an outstanding customer experience. I have participated in a number of key initiatives over the past year with distributors to promote new, targeted products in areas far beyond 'security at the endpoint' to finding resellers operating in verticals that the company hasn't previously been exposed to. Strategic recruitment is a component of Kaspersky Lab's overall plan while continuing to engage and support our existing partners. Additionally, I've played a role in key channel operations improvements, such as process and automation enhancements to ensure timely service to partners and ultimately to our mutual customers. Through analyzing the overall process and gathering feedback from stakeholders, we were able to identify and drive a number of modifications for short and long-term benefits in our channel business.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
This year, Kaspersky Lab has implemented a channel structure with smaller sized geographic territories to enhance reseller and customer partnerships. I'd like to focus in on strategic partner recruitment to take the Kaspersky Lab MSP Program to the next level. This is important in order for us to meet financial and product goals for 2017. Additionally, I'd like to complete launches on distributor cloud platforms and build out the cloud portfolio. This is also critical to our channel business and will be largely focused on over the next year.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
My admiration goes to a special colleague and friend. She has exceled in the workplace, maintained the highest ethical standards, showed positive leadership and coaching skills and is very involved in volunteer efforts - all while facing substantial challenges personally and with close family members. From a more generic perspective, I get inspiration from the women serving in our U.S. military and see these women as strong role models for young women to admire.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Technology is a fantastic career for young women and my advice is to build a strong network, read everything possible in the technology area of interest, and seek out a mentor. Reading should be a high priority whether focused on sales skills, management, marketing, or other areas of interest.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Elastigirl (aka Mrs. Incredible) is part of an amazing team and she is able to save the world while raising a family at the same time. Eugene Kaspersky touts that the mission of Kaspersky Lab is to "save the world", making Elastigirl an even more fitting choice.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
Selecting a single city as my top pick is difficult, as there are many places I would like to travel to! Experiencing Singapore with its culture and history that differs greatly from that of the U.S. makes this exotic city intriguing to me. Preparation to be a tourist and make the most of this unique adventure would be a great investment as I am quite the novice.

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