Biography and Background:
Karen Kukoda manages global cyber risk partnerships and is responsible for driving FireEye's cyber thought leadership agenda in the risk management, legal, and insurance marketplaces. She developed these partnerships from inception to provide a new channel, generating $19M+ in revenue. This new and innovative route to market and partners has transformed FireEye's sales engagement strategy with prospects and customers. The cyber risk partner ecosystem Karen built illustrates the teamwork needed to holistically address all aspects of enterprise risk. Her contributions include helping Mandiant (part of FireEye) design and develop two new pre-breach assessments. She built the sales pipeline for the Mandiant M&A Risk Assessment and Cyber Insurance Risk Assessment and helped Mandiant win 2016 Advisen Cyber Service Vendor of the Year award. Karen helped create Cyber Simulation Events with key partners, resulting in executive level sales opportunities. As FireEye's cyber risk authority and spokesperson, she has been published in the ABA Journal, "Managing Cyber Risk", Insurance Business Australia "What can Australia Learn from the US on cyber insurance?" and Legal Management, "Taking Control in the Era of Cybercrime". Karen's sales career has spanned more than 20 years at MobileIron, Hewlett-Packard and AT&T Mobility.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I created and developed the global Cyber Risk partnerships, which have created a unique way for FireEye's sales team to align at the executive level and shorten sales cycles. A full 70% of sales from my partners are new customers. There is a unique joint value established with each partnership, and my partners trust me and rely on me to understand their business and align it with FireEye's strategic initiatives. One of my law firm partners won 2017 strategic partner of the year, by bringing in over 30 sales opportunities. A representative from one of my top partners, Chubb, had this to say about my work: "Karen Kukoda is a trusted partner who has been instrumental in helping our clients navigate the cyber security landscape. She is a security and technology specialist whose expertise and knowledge - and her dedication to educating others - is highly valued by both our organization and our clients. I highly value her persistence and professionalism, both traits that help to differentiate her as a proven leader in the technology marketplace." -Michael Tanenbaum, EVP, Chubb
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
FireEye will continue to innovate with its cyber risk partnerships, and plans to drive recurring revenue with new customers and continue to expand current customers relationships with these partners involvement. We know that global expansion is a must, and we expect a 50% increase in all regions outside the US based on these partnerships. We will also develop joint offerings with these partners that benefit our customers.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
After I rebuilt some of FireEye's key partner relationships - resulting in repeatable sales pipeline dollars for the coming years - I was honored as a member of the 2017 FireEye President's Club. I was the top performer when it came to the company's strategic partnerships, exceeding my quota and goals both in sales and in Management by Objective (MBO). In addition, FireEye promoted me to Senior Director of Alliances based on my partnership strategy and development, as well as my revenue contributions.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Ivonne Valdes, with whom I worked at both AT&T and Sun Microsystems. Each of us sold to each other's companies. Ivonne was a terrific coach and mentor to me early in my sales career. She is passionate, intelligent, approachable, supportive, honest and one the hardest working people I know. She knows how to create and build success, forming allies along the way. On top of all this, Ivonne is an amazing mother - and I am fortunate to call her my friend.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Find an industry you are passionate about (who realistically could do this at age 16??). Learn as much as you can about a topic or work issue that you care about Make learning and asking questions a passion. Even though it wasn't cool in 1984, know that STEM career paths are extremely viable for women in 2018 and explore this! Take advantage of all opportunities available like internships and mentoring programs. Make sure you do a college semester abroad study! Learn to ask for what you need and or want and don't be afraid of no.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I am fascinated by the dark web, so I would become a white hat hacker and learn as much as I can about threat groups, intel, tools, tactics, and procedures. There is so much opportunity in cyber security. I have always prided myself on being a bit of a technical geek, and I'd love to further integrate the techie side of my business life into my skill set.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
"Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived" by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. Peter's cancer journey and confrontation with mortality reminds me to celebrate life. His career achievements are impressive, and his mindfulness and gratitude gave me reason to pause and ponder life.
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