Biography and Background:
Andrea Whalen is a senior director within Cisco's Global Partner Marketing organization leading the Partner Experience and Programs team. She and her team develop communications and marketing strategies to create consistent experiences for Cisco's 62,000 partners globally. As part of her charter, Andrea is responsible for strategic partner communications, digital marketing enablement, and the marketing of partner omnichannel initiatives, and Cisco's Partner Programs and brand evolution. In her 13 years with Cisco, Andrea has held a number of leadership positions within Cisco's Global Partner Marketing and Corporate Communications teams. Before joining Cisco in 2006, Andrea co-founded a venture-backed technology company and led marketing and communications teams for software and Internet firms. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Creighton University.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
This year, my team is focused on three key areas to enhance how we communicate and market to, with and through our partners: -Amplify the benefits and value of our Cisco Partner Ecosystem through enhanced partner program and brand marketing, and development of a company-wide narrative articulating Cisco's unique approach to partnering supported by success stories -Deliver personalized, audience-centric content and communications through strategic omnichannel digital marketing approaches -Accelerate our partners' digital marketing capabilities through tailored education and training initiatives and programs This work has resulted in increased communication scores in our quarterly Voice of the Partner survey, and tighter alignment and integration within other marketing and communication functions in the company.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
1. Help partners capitalize on our latest networking innovations and shift to more software-centric IT business models that not only provide recurring revenue, but also provide profitable customer application and services revenue. 2. To unleash the value of software for customers and create additional profit engines, we're helping partners build their own customer success practices. With our assets and tools, partners are discovering how customer success leads to greater customer loyalty and profitability. 3. We are helping partners sell beyond traditional IT buyers and equipping them to bridge to new buying centers and selling solutions to drive business outcomes.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
My goal is to be the best leader possible at work and in my personal life. To me, success is measured by the impact I have on others. I mentor up-and-coming leaders at Cisco and in my community. It is wildly inspiring to spend time with someone who is embarking on their career. I truly enjoy sharing my experiences and helping young leaders find their paths. If I make a positive difference in one person's life each day that is the best award,
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
In the United States, women have many opportunities. I admire women who forged the road before me and made that possible. When I face challenges, I reread their stories. They teach me about bravery, purpose and impact. They remind me to keep their purpose alive. Kathrine Switzer's iconic photo of the 1967 Boston Marathon hangs on my office wall. She broke the gender barrier for women in sports. Thanks to Switzer, women were allowed to run in road races in 1971 and later in the Olympics. She has dedicated her career to creating opportunities and equality for women in athletics.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
To any young person, I would say: know what you want out of life. Not what your parents want; what you want. Have clear goals, dream big. If you make learning a priority, you can build the knowledge, experience, skills and mindset to make any goal a reality. It's your mindset that determines your success: how you talk to yourself, motivate yourself, and your philosophy in the face of challenges. Read about how the best coaches lead their teams, then apply that to you. Don't settle for anything but the best when it comes to the coach in your head.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I love to learn and I love technology. I push myself to learn new things every day. This year, one of my goals is to create an IOS mobile application with integration of Alexa voice skills. As technology changes our lives, I believe it's important to challenge ourselves to understand what is possible as a creator and a user of technology. It's easy to feel overwhelmed as technology rapidly advances. When you take the mystery away and get your hands on code, you turn the fear into opportunity. It's exciting and a fun way to expand your mind.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Reading is one of the most important things you can do to improve your life. Every once in a while, there is a book so meaningful that I want the world to know about it. This past year I discovered one of those books. Ray Dalio, an American billionaire investor, hedge fund manager, and philanthropist, released Principles. In it he lays out his life philosophy and five steps for getting what you want most from life. Step one: have clear goals. Step two: identify problems and don't tolerate them. Apply his systematic thinking, and you will be unstoppable.
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