One of our "Power 30 Solution Providers"
Biography and Background:
Kelly Ireland started her journey in IT right out of high school becoming an IBM RPG II/III and C++ programmer. It didn't faze her at the time that this wasn't a typical female role in IT. She transitioned into Sales and focused on supporting the world's largest Aerospace & Defense companies over the next several decades. Kelly opened CB Technologies in 2001 and has spent the last 17 years guiding the company from its start as a one client, transactional VAR to a technical powerhouse System Integrator delivering highly engineered solutions to global and commercial clients.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
With having set significant growth goals for 2017, I started by reorganizing the company to better align with our go-to-market strategy. With major emphasis on the creation of solutions based on eco-system partnerships, I worked directly with our Solution Development and Engineering teams to focus on solution development, delivery & deployment processes and managed support services. We established a Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast mentality around developing concepts, establishing POV/POCs, deploying and launch and then utilized this philosophy on an internal project to test the waters. Also sharing this approach with multiple customers allowed us to gain insights and validation that we were going down the right path.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our goals are simply to grow across our Practice Areas of ITSCO (IT Supply Chain Optimization); Hybrid IT; HPC & Analytics; and Asset Intelligence. Across these areas are all aspects of both transactional business as well as strategic solution sales. CBT achieved just shy of 16% YOY growth in 2017 and the expectation is to exceed that in 2018 along with a significant increase in margin due to integrated services, blended margin across solutions and integration of additional eco-system technologies.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was honored to receive for the second year in a row the WBEC-West IMPACT Award for providing mentoring and support in 2017 to fellow WBE's looking to grow their businesses. As a company, CB Technologies received the Boeing Company's Supplier Excellence Award for the 8th year in a row, something that has only been achieved by a very small number of Boeing's worldwide supplier base. We were also the recipient of The Channel Company's inaugural CRN IoT Innovators Award.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Slightly changing this to 'group of women' and that being those who came forward in Hollywood to finally blow the whistle on Harvey Weinstein and the status quo. We all know this has been long standing. What happened last year was the strength of women together to get the courage to make a stand, right a long standing wrong, and bring light onto a subject that in many cases has been taboo for decades. This group has started a ripple effect that is now reaching far outside the Hollywood industry. I thank them for their courage.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Loud and clear - don't sweat the small stuff. I have spent many years of my life sweating the small stuff which clogged my view and blocked thinking outside the box. The worries I had back then were minuscule compared to what I had to confront later in life. I'm now at an age where I have a very clear view and grasp of what is truly important and what is simply noise.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I am a complete geek at heart and if I had the time and energy I'd love to become a data scientist. One of my favorite jobs ever was as a programmer. Seeing the tools, capabilities and advancements that have been made over the last several decades is mind boggling from where I started. Changing the world is a simpler statement today (not simple, but definitely simpler) with the tools and ability to study outputs/information at incredible depths and gain insights that we've never been able to tap before.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I've been on a mission to read a book a week, mostly using it as an escape / mind distraction from email, texts, SLACK, IM, business in general. For some reason a large number of the books I picked covered very different aspects of World War II. The last one I read was a true story about a young Italian boy who was swept into war against his will but in a way that allowed him to contribute to the Allies. His story was profound, especially in how it affected him for the remainder of his life.
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