Biography and Background:
Michele Stern is an IBM Sales Leader with more than 20 years of experience in a variety of channel sales, channel strategy, and channel management positions. In her current role, Michele is the Managing Director for Arrow Electronics, where she is responsible for all aspects of the IBM and Arrow relationship, with a focus on Value Add Distribution of IBM Cloud, Storage, Servers, Software, and Services. She works with Arrow and their ecosystem of Business Partners to sell and deliver $2B in IBM technology to clients in North America, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. Prior to her role as Managing Director for Arrow, Michele was Vice President of Business Partners in North America. She led the North America One Channel Team, working with Business Partners of all types to deliver high value technology solutions to clients in all industries. Under her leadership, sales teams in the United States and Canada engaged channel partners to capture growth in the strategic areas of Cloud, Big Data, and Cognitive Solutions. Michele and her husband live in the Philadelphia area and enjoy spending time at the beach with their family.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
In 2017 I accepted my dream job as Managing Director with responsibility for our end to end relationship with Arrow Electronics, a top Global Distributor and Technology Partner. In this leadership role I have partnered with Arrow's Senior Executives to accelerate the transformation and to achieve the vision of delivering cloud based technology solutions to clients through a network of skilled Business Partners. Special focus in the areas of AI, IoT, Security, Analytics, and Data Management paid off and as a result, IBM's business with Arrow experienced significant growth in solutions and strong full year growth overall. IBM launched a new competency benefits program in 2017, and together with Arrow we saw more than a thousand of our joint Business Partners achieve Platinum, Gold, and Silver status, enabling them to enjoy expanded benefits of IBM's PartnerWorld Program. We established a new business model for Technology Partners to embed IBM cloud, software and hardware technology along with the Partners' IP in solutions for Cloud Service Providers and other commercial clients. Arrow was authorized as an Embedded Solutions Distributor and made fast inroads to enable their current channel and to partner with new CSPs to deliver these solutions in the market.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
(1) Help Business Partners take advantage of IBM's new incentive structure and accelerate growth in solution areas like Watson Analytics, IoT, Blockchain, and Security. (2) Grow the Core by helping traditional Business Partners expand their business with IBM clients by offering solutions that capitalize on clients' massive data to provide disruptive outcomes. (3) Expand to reach new ecosystem partners and optimize return on investment to those partners through IBM's embedded solutions and cloud offerings. (4) Recruit and Activate new partners and Reactivate quiet Business Partners to reach new clients and deliver valuable solutions, especially in small and medium businesses.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
CRN: Power 100 Women of the Channel IBM: Named as Campus Engagement Executive for University of Pennsylvania
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
This year there are more women to admire than I can remember in recent history. Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan and all of the other women who subsequently spoke up about sexual harassment in the workplace and raised this issue to a whole new level of awareness are certainly admirable. It takes courage to go first.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
It's a tie between " Don't worry so much - it doesn't help and things really do have a way of working out for the best" and "Don't forget to always wear sunblock".
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I am very interested in the Internet of Things and I see the importance of connecting OT to IT to deliver a complete and compelling solution to solve both social and business problems. Identifying and connecting the technology and those skilled resources who implement it is at the top of my list.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
The Underground Railroad, a Pulitzer Award winning novel by Colson Whitehead is a great read. It is the painfully descriptive story of a runaway slave, the brutality she escaped, the travails and horrors she encountered along the way, and the people who sacrificed everything to help her to freedom.
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