Location: Crofton, MD
Number of years in current position: 5
Number of years involved with indirect sales: 16
Biography and Background:
Simone Feldman is currently the Vice President of Strategic Sales and Capture at Force 3. With a BA in International Relations, Simone speaks 5 languages: French, Portuguese, English, Spanish and Japanese, respectively. She began her career in the industry internationally in 2003 at a small, woman-owned company. Simone joined an 8(a) in 2005 as the fourth employee and over her 11 year tenure there she built a $1.8M business to $165M in annual revenue with 72 employees. As an executive leader of the company, Simone had a direct influence on all facets of the operation. She built and designed the sales structure, including the go-to-market strategy and capture efforts. Joining Force 3 in 2016 as Director of Inside Sales, Simone swiftly impacted the business by unifying the inside sales team, providing contracting knowledge and building a small business program. Simone was an integral part of the transition process when Force 3 was acquired by Sirius Computer Solutions in March 2016. Simone has a passion for developing and mentoring. She proactively seeks opportunities to provide mentorship to women who show ambition but perhaps lack guidance. Simone has a contagious energy and has been a valuable asset to the federal IT industry.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Diversifying Force 3's solution portfolio has been a key priority of mine over the past year. Historically our team has been laser focused on the larger, more strategic aspects of an opportunity and they would oftentimes be remiss in submitting registrations for smaller components of a deal. By leveraging the transactional OEM relationships I've built throughout my career we have been able to grow our topline revenue and capture an increased market share within the federal segment. I've also helped to advance our channel business by better leveraging our existing distribution partnerships. We are now working with distribution integration teams to help meet certain contractual requirements. Furthermore, I've served as the central liaison during negotiations with select distribution partners to maximize margin for specific opportunities where it makes sense. I really get energized by bringing together different parties and coming to a common agreement with a win-win outcome. Having the ability to take a step back and be strategic about parts of the business that aren't as obvious on the surface is an ongoing challenge that serves as a powerful motivator in my daily life.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My real passion is to identify and align OEMs and small businesses that strengthen our CEO's vision for the company. It is my goal over the next year to continuously build those relationships as well as further develop Force 3's mentorship program for our small business partners in the federal space. Since Force 3 is no longer considered a small business, it's now more important than ever to collaborate with our partner community to achieve mutual success.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I am honored to be a Force 3 Summit 2017 awardee, where the top 10% of the company is recognized for our contribution toward growth and overall profitability of the company.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I had the opportunity to hear Melanie Spring speak at a Women of the Channel event and since then I've admired her methodology of everyone having a personal brand. She refers to herself as a Chief Inspiration Officer and has branded herself as an "approachable badass." This is very uniquely her and she doesn't try to fit into a mold. I love the idea of inspiring women to live their own brand.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Instead of worrying about what you don't know, spend that energy learning. I used to embody the imposter syndrome and it took me a long time to shed that self-perception. I got very caught up in what other people thought and didn't want to let them down. Not every choice that you make is going to ruin your life; it's going to enrich your life. Even your mistakes will be a far greater learning experience than your successes. When you fail it's a chance to learn and will make you stronger.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
If you ask three different people what "executive presence" means, you will undoubtedly get three different responses. What it means to have an executive presence changes from year to year, day to day, industry to industry and team to team. You aren't able to bottle it and pass it along to somebody, so the ability to master an executive presence would mean that I have mastered the understanding of my current team and have truly figured out the best way to bring value to my team.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
This past year, "Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck" by Carey Lohrenz resonated with me. Carey was the pioneer female fighter pilot for the Navy and she recounts landing her first jet fighter in the dark along with the fear that came with that experience. I spent a lot of time throughout my career trying to maintain composure, but I've learned sharing fears with your team helps because oftentimes others are feeling the same way. You're not really leading if you're pretending those fears don't exist; you're leading if you show how to overcome those fears.
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