CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

One of our "Power 100 Vendors"

Sandra Cheek

Vice President, Global Channels and Alliances, Ciena

Location: Menlo Park, CA


Number of years in current position: 1

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 20

Twitter Handle: @sgcheek

Fun Facts:

Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Instagram
Has climbed a mountain
Has written a song
Has studied abroad

Biography and Background:
Sandra Glaser Cheek is Vice President, Global Partners and Alliances and is responsible for the channel programs and enablement strategy and operational framework that enables carrier partners, resellers, service partners, development partners and technology partners to drive business with Ciena. With over 20 years of experience, Sandra is known for staying ahead of emerging trends in channel sales, enablement and marketing strategies. She knows how to blend traditional channel approaches with innovative strategies to help channel partners differentiate, drive demand and fuel sales growth. She is an active member of several industry advisory boards, and recipient of numerous industry awards. Additionally, Sandra is an advocate and active supporter of Ciena's Women@Ciena program. The mission of Women@Ciena is to create and establish a company culture that cultivates, inspires, and rewards the contribution of every individual no matter what sex, race, religion or gender. We thrive on creating an environment through active awareness that attracts, develops, and retains more women in our workforce and empower the voice of women in our organization.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
In 2017, I joined Ciena with the goal of eliminating silos of Ciena partners (MSP, Solution Provider, SI, Services, Cloud, Agents etc.) and to unify our "partner network" with a new programmatic framework that recognizes our partners' unique differences and makes partnering with Ciena more personal. We are in the process of piloting our programs and initiatives with the intention of launching the new program in the fall of 2018. We will deliver an innovative approach to how our partners learn, market, sell, support and service Ciena solutions. Through our pilot programs, we are initially seeing increased engagement and sales growth resulting from a more meaningful engagement model.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our new programs that are under development will be a significant departure from past programs. We aim to develop more personalized, relevant programs that are customized to each partner through joint business planning, bespoke enablement and market development initiatives that align with the business plan and partner's business model. With this innovative approach, we aim to increase our partner-led sales by 10 percent globally this year.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
2017 honors include: CRN Top 25 Channel Sales Executives, CRN 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs, CRN Power 100 Executive, Channel Visionaries 2017 Top 50 Channel Chiefs, Channel Futures Think Tank and CompTia Vendor Advisory Council.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Marie Curie broke down barriers for women in science and at the same time set a new bar for female academic and scientific achievement with her ground-breaking work in the field of radioactivity. She developed the practical use of X-Rays; she also discovered two new elements, Polonium and Radium. She did not patent her discoveries, but rather gave her discoveries away freely to advance science. Her pioneering scientific work (STEM of today) and Nobel Prize awards was even more remarkable given the lack of opportunities for women at the time.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
• Be yourself (unapologetically)! • Be kind and say thank you often • You may regret not taking a chance • Failure can be awesome - you can learn a lot from making a mistake and improving • Enjoy your journey

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
Acting! It's a skill I find myself needing more and more and more as we get creative and have fun with our corporate videos.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
"Scrum: The Art of doing twice as much in Half the Time" by Jeff Sutherland. A thought provoking book about applying Scrum methodology to business practices for a more efficient way to get things done. It has transformed my leadership/management process with immediate impact and greater collaboration. This book takes you on a Scrum journey with a system of deep accountability, team interaction, stakeholder collaboration, and constant iterative improvement. My entire team read the book and we jointly developed and applied aspects of Scrum that is enabling us to be more productive while maintaining a good work/life balance.

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