Sits on a company board
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Can ride a horse
Likes playing video games
Has written a song
Has studied abroad
Biography and Background:
With 25+ years of IT experience, Gravel's expertise in creating rich channel ecosystems contribute directly to Cyxtera's strategic development initiatives. Prior to Cyxtera, Gravel served as GM/VP for Dimension Data's Cloud Services Business, responsible for the development/execution of cloud strategy in the Americas. Before that, she was VP Worldwide Sales/Marketing at Nirvanix, leading sales/marketing and indirect channel programs. Previously, Gravel held key roles at Terremark, a Verizon company, including VP Global Channels/Alliances, Managing Partner IT Outsourcing and VP/Central Region Sales. As a member of the original management team, she helped guide Terremark from $400,000 in sales (1999) to a premier entity achieving acquisition by Verizon for $1.4 billion (2010). Gravel's experience is rooted in business development with senior positions at NetGravity (owned by Google), SAS, Sybase (owned by SAP) and CSC. As a consultant, she had a passion for empowering start-up technology organizations to increase revenue, monetize intellectual property and secure funding. In 2004, Gravel was a top 10 "Women in Black," an honor given by the City of Chicago and IStreet Magazine for her leadership in technology. She serves on the Executive Board of the Illinois Technology Association and has served on the Channel Partners Advisory Board since 2014.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
My team realized a significant achievement with the Cyxtera Partner Network launch in 2017. Starting a Channel program from scratch requires enthusiasm for the indirect organization and the support of Cyxtera's senior leadership and Board of Directors. All were highly engaged in this effort and as a result we are building a world-class Partner Network, allowing partners to sell into our global data center footprint and offer Cyxtera's security solutions; an entree into the exploding cybersecurity market. Creating 'new' partnerships involves countless hours of contract reviews and face to face meetings so it's important that I be present for our partners. When dealing with something as critical as establishing a new relationship, I don't simply rely on a phone call. As a result, I've gotten to know a great majority of our partners personally to understand their goals. I believe in enabling partners to have conversations with their clients about security. This means having a working knowledge of the threat landscape and understanding how to talk about this important topic with customers. To that end, I am constantly working to help partners identify opportunities where they can add customer value by integrating Cyxtera's security solutions into the mix.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
It's critical that Cyxtera educate, mentor and develop a cadre of sales professionals that understand security concepts and products within the cloud sales community. While there are security sales specialists in the VAR and reseller community, those that sell cloud services and those that sell security services are different. In 2017, a personal and professional goal is to bridge the gap that cloud sales teams have with regard to selling security products. As we advance, we will see confidence in the cloud sales channel grow and security services sales grow.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
In May 2017, I was recognized by CRN as one of 2017 Women of the Channel for my leadership and vision. Women of the Channel honorees are selected based on professional accomplishments, demonstrated expertise and ongoing dedication to the IT channel. I was also the recipient of the Cloud Girls 2017 Trail Blazer Award, and most recently, the 2018 Channel Chiefs Award from CRN.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I've always admired Jane Goodall. She is a woman that represents the best in all of us. She forged her own path and introduced a narrative to the science community that was not popular at the time. She was rightfully stubborn in her beliefs because they were driven by her own real experiences and observations. She is a marvelous example to me and scores of women on pursuing your passion. Remember, Jane Goodall wasn't "Jane Goodall" for many years. She fought for her beliefs in a male dominated field and in doing so became a leader in that field.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Nothing is ever as good or as bad as we think it is. There is no reason to get too upset or too excited about any single event in your career because things change so fast. A mentor shared this advice with me early on and it was profound enough to stay with me. I recall it often in great times and tough times and I have shared it with my team (men & women) as well as young women who are just starting their careers that I am lucky enough to mentor.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
With the amount of time I've spent engaged on the topic, I am fascinated by the cyber threat landscape. I think learning how to "hack" would be an amazing way to understand the mind of a cybercriminal. It would allow me to serve as a "white hat" to the customers I work with every day. It's an absolutely fascinating world and whenever the topic comes up, I'm sure to lean in if I'm talking to an expert and always keen to share my experiences with our customers as they think through security strategies.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I just read Astro Physics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson and loved it. deGrasse is a brilliant mind and has a knack for making subjects like quarks, black holes and quantum mechanics accessible to the masses. It gives me an appreciation for the wild card factor. For instance, earth was formed in what is known as the "Goldilocks zone." Had it been closer to the sun, the oceans would have evaporated, further away, they would frozen and we wouldn't be here! When you think on that scale - it keeps your day job in perspective.
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