CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Sharon March

Senior Manager, Technical Operations, Comstor

Location: Louisville, CO


Number of years in current position: 1

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 20

Twitter Handle: @SharonMarchEdu

Fun Facts:

Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse
Has written a song
Has studied abroad
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
I've been in the channel for more than 20 years, supporting HP3000s, HP9000s, Sun, CheckPoint and now Cisco. I hold professional level EMC, NetApp and Cisco certifications, including CCNP-DataCenter and CCDP. I also hold a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from PMI. I am a Bronze Toastmaster and have been a featured speaker at my previous employer's technical conference. At my previous employer, I was one of the founding members of the Cisco business unit, serving as the pre-sales engineer and eventually managing the pre-sales team and driving Cisco certification and specializations with partners. I was selected to attend Women of the Channel-West in 2016, and have received both the company's highest incentive award and Cisco's distributor recognition award. I have been published twice on EMC's Knowledge Sharing site and was featured on Cisco's site for how Cisco certifications can advance your career. Currently, I manage the Comstor Cisco Pre-Sales Engineering team and develop and deliver technical and soft-skills training to Comstor's sales teams.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Understanding Cisco certifications and specializations and helping a partner choose the right path for their business can be challenging, especially when it changes regularly. That was my identity at my previous job. When I joined Comstor, the woman attempting this task was overwhelmed not only with understanding the Partner Specialization program, but how to stay current. I was able to mentor her through the process and resources available, and now she is able to craft and deliver current and relevant Comstor-unique training offerings to our partners so they can elevate their Cisco status. Over the past two quarters when most of the certification changes have taken place, we have been able to elevate more than 20 partners, and are now on track to elevate over 50 more partners. These partners were essentially being ignored by larger distributors because they weren't doing much Cisco business. But, because of the experience I brought to Comstor, those partners are now able to improve their partner status with Cisco, be eligible for rebates and other Cisco programs, and grow their Cisco business.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Comstor has a goal of doubling our Cisco business over the next few years. I think we can make that happen by focusing on longtail business and enabling their own digital transformation journey. If we can provide these smaller partners a simple, inexpensive way to move into a cloud-centric business model, whether it is offering their own cloud native application or some sort of unique service offering, I think we have great potential to build strong, lasting partnerships with resellers who enjoy being nimble, agile, and have the courage to be at the forefront of technology.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
It's not your typical honor or award, but our VP asked me to be part of our Ragnar relay race team after one month on the job. And I was asked to do one of the harder legs. It was an honor for me because it showed that Comstor quickly put their faith in me to perform on a team. It motivated me to train harder and not let them down. The Ragnar experience was invaluable in terms of appreciating how much I can depend on my colleagues at Comstor for support and teamwork, even in the tough times.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Sandy Lerner. She had three major reboots, all completely different. From founder of Cisco, to founder of Urban Decay, to farmer, to author. It's pretty impressive to reinvent yourself once, let alone three or more times.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Have the courage to be wrong, listen to your true self and go against the popular grain if you want. Sometimes your friends are doing what THEY want, not what you really want to do. You may have to go it alone for a little while, but your real support system will be there when you succeed.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
Coding. I think the more you know about coding and how to develop apps, especially for the cloud, the more control you have of your destiny and success in the twenty-first century.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Gregg's Shorthand Manual. My mother knows shorthand, and she used to write her Christmas lists with it. Nobody could read it, so she could leave them lying around the house without ruining any surprises. It's not exactly coding, but I love learning things that make my life easier and allow me to communicate better.

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