CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Vanessa Russell

Senior Sales Business Development Manager, Cisco

Location: Dublin, CA


Number of years in current position: 6

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 11

Twitter Handle: @LoveNeverFails5

Fun Facts:

Sits on a company board
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Instagram
Is an extrovert
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse
Has written a song
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
Vanessa is a Senior Sales Business Development Manager in Cisco's Global Partner Organization. She has responsibility for managing the global Low / No Touch GTM and supporting global partners who represent the company's primary route to market. Partners encompassing value-added resellers, distributors, direct marketing resellers, and system integrators utilize the Low / No Touch GTM to scale their business and exceed customer expectations while reducing cost. This is a new focus for Cisco that requires a pioneering leader that challenges the status quo. Over the last half decade she launched the first Commercial virtual engineering initiative and developed the UCS C-Series GTM which is now a $3B business with 350k servers in production. Russell lives out Cisco's mission to change the way we live, work, play and learn by driving new business models designed to make emerging partners profitable with Cisco. This spirit has also driven her to create a bridge between Cisco and diverse members who are often under resourced and underrepresented. She has done this by launching a nonprofit ( and an IT Academy, IT Biz, which provides an opportunity for Cisco certification to foster youth, homeless, teenage parents and survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Cisco is committed to empowering partners to capture new markets while simultaneously reducing the cost to serve customers. This is done by embracing simple messaging and business processes; creating customer satisfaction and ease of doing business. Over the last year Russell has empowered partners with Digital Transformation (Digital Marketplaces, Digital Sales Campaigns, etc.) strategies, new practice development and programs for small to midsize partners and enablement and sales acceleration strategies that utilize gamification and innovative incentive programs. These strategies are creating incremental growth for Cisco in all routes to market. One example is Direct Marketing Resellers (DMRs) which generated $113M+ of incremental growth in FY17. Another successful outcome was the launch of an Enterprise Networking gaming platform, used globally by 7k players who generated $2.7B in Enterprise Networking bookings. On average these players had larger deals sizes and 68% more new logos per quarter than those who did not play the game.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Over the next year, Russell will continue to drive Low/ No Touch sales motion across the business including Digital Transformation in all channel routes to market and continued innovation around partner enablement and incentives. She will also focus closely on evolution of profitability programs impacting 11,000 Select partners driving $2.4B in Cisco business.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
1. Cisco Hero (August 2017) from Dave West SVP Sales for work with Love Never Fails 2. Investigation Discovery and People Everyday Hero (August 2017) 3. The Hearts of Hayward (Oct 2015) for work with Love Never Fails from Mayor of Hayward, CA 4. Jesse Curtis Homelessness Advocacy in Action Award (April 2015) from Mayor of Richmond, Ca and Saffron Strand 5. Top 20 Dynamic Women Owned Nonprofits (2015) for work with Love Never Fails

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire Wendy Bahr, Senior Vice President of Cisco Channels. Wendy has set the bar (pardon the pun) high for leaders in her organization. She models the leadership and innovation she requires and inspires us to put our best foot forward even when it's difficult. I admire Wendy not only because she is an excellent business woman but because she does so while also prioritizing time with family and giving back to her community.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
You are a capable, innovative, resourceful, and resilient. You are valued and loved.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
As I create innovative solutions to Cisco's business problems I often envision pieces of art and/or images that relay my ideas with precision and creativity. Unfortunately I lack the graphic art skills to commit them to slides. I would love to learn how to capture them one day.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Quiet by Susan Cain was a good book. It helped me to appreciate the strengths of everyone on the team and not to assume that because someone doesn't speak they don't have an opinion or a really great idea to share. Junk Yard Wisdom by Roy Goble was also a favorite because it challenged me to consider ways to use my wealth to meet the needs of the under resourced and underrepresented in our community.

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