One of our "Power 100 Vendors"
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Number of years in current position: 3
Number of years involved with indirect sales: 28
Biography and Background:
With over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, Donna Grothjan is vice president of worldwide channels for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. In this role, Donna leads and manages all aspects of Aruba's partnering strategy, channel sales, partner programs and partner enablement. In addition, she also has responsibility for go to market and sales for the SMB and OEM segments for Aruba worldwide. Previously, she was VP of worldwide distribution for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, with worldwide responsibility for distribution strategy and sales for the Enterprise Group. Before joining HP, Donna held a number of worldwide channel and distribution-focused executive positions at Juniper Networks and before that, she served as senior VP of product management for Ingram Micro North America, where she was responsible for all product management roles including vendor relationships, business development and purchasing. Donna holds a bachelor of arts in business administration from California State University, Fullerton.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Our top accomplishment was realizing the results of our new Partner Ready for Networking program, enabling our partners to be recognized for their investments, sales and technical certification accomplishments and ensuring we continue to have a solid co-selling model that benefits our partners. PRfN allows our partners to capitalize on the fast-growing mobile-first market opportunity by providing an industry-leading, comprehensive product and solution suite that's at the forefront of mobile and IoT, predictable profitability and an ease of doing business. Another key accomplishment was the development of our overall SMB partnering strategy. A critical component to our overall go-to-market strategy and key enabler for growth, the strategy focuses on leveraging the right inside sales and partner coverage model and ensuring we have ongoing demand generation, lead management and partner enablement to drive overall growth. With a new product line focused on the small office segment, we've created a transactional selling model that enables partners to get the best market price without the need to request pricing, giving them the ability to sell and fulfill on the same day. Backed by the best channel team in the industry, I was responsible for overseeing the implementation of each of these strategies.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
First and foremost, we'll continue to be a channel-focused company. Our key goal is to enable our partners to realize their maximum opportunities, whether that's helping them optimize their business models, invest in new areas of TAM or further support their services businesses. In addition, we'll continue to increase the number of partners that hold competencies in the components of our Mobile First Platform so they can help their customers make the transition to mobile, cloud and IoT. We want to help our partners 'see beyond infrastructure' and identify and pursue new revenue streams that will ultimately expand their businesses.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was selected to CRN's 2018 Most Influential Channel Chiefs, where I was recognized for my role overseeing the development and launch of the new HPE Partner Ready for Networking program, which allows partners to capitalize on the burgeoning mobile-first market opportunity. I'm also a nominee for this year's HPE Women's Excellence Award, which recognizes extraordinary HPE women who embody HPE values through leadership excellence, outstanding achievement, and strength of character both inside and outside of HPE. One of the accomplishments I'm most proud of is receiving the 5-Star rating for Aruba's channel program in CRN's 2017 Partner Program Guide.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
One woman who stands out to me is Sue Barsamian, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Micro Focus. I admire her for a number of reasons, but a key one is her amazing ability to connect with people regardless of who they are, what their experiences are or their age. I deeply admire her work ethic, her ability to connect concepts in order to formulate a broader picture, and her ability to just listen. These are all skills and traits that I try to emulate every day.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Experience the world as early as you can and learn to appreciate all its differences. You can read about history in a book, but to experience historical places in person helps you really understand their importance. My first worldwide position was in 2004 and I learned on the job - such as learning how religion and culture affect the way business is done in a particular country or region. Had I had exposure to this earlier, it would've accelerated my ability to better respect and understand why differences exist and apply this knowledge for better outcomes earlier in my career.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
If I could master a new job-related skill it would be to learn a new language like Mandarin Chinese. The benefits of speaking a local language in a country is tremendous. It's not just about better communication, but the appreciation of language and cultural nuances that just can't be translated.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I'd love to say that I read an amazing book this year, but I didn't To be honest, if I have spare time these days, I'm more likely to be spending time with my children, my husband or furthering an initiative for my company.
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