CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Laura Shafer

Director of Channel Marketing, iland

Location: Houston, TX


Number of years in current position: 0.25

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 15

Twitter Handle: @laurashafer

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Sits on a company board
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Instagram
Is an extrovert
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse
Likes playing video games
Has written a song
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
Laura's exuberant and passionate style permeates her life-whether she's rooting for her beloved Utah Utes football team, singing or enthusiastically strategizing the best ways to market technology to the channel. Laura's skill as a strategic communicator began with an entirely different kind of channel. She first began her career as a television news producer, then moved into technology marketing-for PowerQuest, StorageCraft, MRM//McCann and now iland. Her creativity and achievements have helped Laura win awards for her communications expertise, marketing and channel evangelism. She carries that enthusiasm into her spare time, where she is a board member for the Salt Lake Choral Society, and a semi-professional potter.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Laura is helping to revamp the iland channel program from the ground up, enabling existing partners while expanding our partner base. Her efforts have been key in communicating with our channel partners and aligning our partner program with our overarching sales efforts. She has worked to meet with partners one-on-one to assess their needs. In addition to her work helping to build sales collateral and providing partners with the tools and materials they need to help them expand their businesses, Laura also helped build the foundation for some needed partner marketing resource management. She is also spearheading efforts to integrate our partner communications systems and training. Laura was recently instrumental in iland being named a CRN Five-Star Partner Program, a prestigious honor that is helping iland draw attention to its partner program. She is also working with our global team to understand and address the unique channel challenges in each region.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Our focus is expanding the iland partner base strategically, and empowering existing partners to expand their offering with cloud services. The cloud has grown exponentially, but many solution providers are still hesitant to offer cloud. By leveraging cloud services that are easy to manage, we are showing our partners how to achieve their growth goals by offering cloud services: from backup and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and more. We anticipate tremendous sales growth for iland in 2018, and our partners will play an important role in helping us reach our goals.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Pamela Atkinson is a friend and mentor who has advocated for the homeless and disadvantaged while showing people from every walk of life how to volunteer in whatever capacity they are able. Pamela is kind to everyone and she gets stuff done: working with legislators to support social programs and working with people on the street to meet their basic, day-to-day needs. One lesson is to look people in the eye and smile. The difference a smile can make is tremendous, and that holds true on the streets and in business.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Be bold and brave. Try new things. We all do stupid things from time to time, but the people who can truly laugh at their embarrassing moments are also able to learn from them the fastest. They also make really funny stories you can share with friends over a glass of wine or a beer. And most important: buy Apple stock now and for heaven's sake, don't sell it.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would love to learn to speak and write as fluently in another language as I do in English. While technology is drawing us closer globally, our linguistic limitations are a barrier to understanding one another. There are limits to what we can do together through and with technology if we can't communicate beyond math and code. The ability to speak and write clearly in another language would help to bridge many barriers.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I originally read "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle when I was 10 and just re-read it (in advance of the movie release). Looking back I realize it profoundly affected the way I think and helped to inform many aspects of my character. Rereading the book was also nice to capture a glimpse of my younger self while understanding the inherent humor through a grown-up lens. For example, L'Engle begins the book with the often-mocked phrase: "It was a dark and stormy night," a joke that sailed right over my 10-year-old head.

Unedited Content Provided By Participants