CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Joanna Sobran

CEO and Founder, MXOtech

Location: Chicago, IL


Number of years in current position: 13

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 19

Twitter Handle: @MXOtech

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse

Biography and Background:
Joanna Sobran began her career in the healthcare industry working for two successful women entrepreneurs and later moved into IT, combining her healthcare and technology business expertise. Her knowledge of these practice areas, along with her business development skills, became the foundation on which she built MXOtech. Joanna drew her true inspiration from her two mentors as she grew a successful woman-owned enterprise, created opportunities for career growth, and fostered a positive impact on her community and clients. Joanna is the visionary and driving force behind MXOtech, focusing on overall mission, solution development, marketing, and strategy. Her talent for taking ideas and turning them into applicable solutions that fuel a client's growth sets her apart from the competition. Joanna is determined to deliver a high-touch client experience through innovation and customer service. Whether it's providing education, improving company efficiencies, or crafting unique technology solutions, she embraces all aspects of her work and truly cares about client success. In addition, Joanna dedicates time and resources every year to support local nonprofits. Not only does she do pro-bono work, but she also partners with organizations like Upwardly Global and Year Up to offer their youth training and employment at MXOtech.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
My philosophy is to build long-term client and employee relationships, but to expect to re-earn their trust every day. As a result, I make it a point to analyze company strengths and identify opportunities for improvement. I brought on a sales coach to help us to develop an effective sales team, tools and processes for them to succeed, plus a procedure for tracking that success. I also led the continued development of our Leadership Team. I knew I didn't have all the skills needed to take MXOtech beyond my vision, so gathering professionals who each bring unique values and expertise was important. Despite different ages and personalities, we share the same goals: building a great culture, providing kick-ass-customer service and innovative IT solutions to help our clients grow. And the best part -- we live by our core values of Clarity, Inspiration, Trust and Accountability that we consistently deliver to our staff and clients. The last piece of the puzzle was crafting a 2018 Strategic Plan. It's a worthwhile investment because every member of our team will receive a copy, creating a clear understanding of the importance of his or her individual role in MXOtech's overall mission.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
To increase the number of clients that utilize both our Managed Services as well as our Technology Solutions departments. To grow our team to provide faster service to our clients. To broaden awareness of the value of MXOtech's unique Business Process Improvement Assessment, a low-cost engagement that allows a new client to experience how MXOtech is different than other providers. This assessment results in quantitative data on the client's current practices and a detailed proposal on how our personalized technology recommendations can increase efficiency and support the client's business goals.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
• One of Top 15 Business Women in Illinois by Illinois Diversity Council, due to impact on technology industry after overcoming several challenges that included not speaking a word of English when arriving from Poland as a child. • Partner Philanthropy Spotlight article by Microsoft Partner Network due to my desire to share the wealth I've been blessed with. • Annual MSPmentor ranking of world's most progressive MSPs. • Included among North America's most innovative Managed Service Providers on annual CRN MSP 500 list. Recognized on Pioneer 250 list of MSPs with creative business model; approach of high-level solutions.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
At 19 years old, I worked for two women who ran a successful company from their basement office, eventually growing to 100+ employees. While I didn't love the job exactly, I loved watching them dress up in expensive suits and high heels to attend business meetings. Most importantly, I learned the value of a strong culture of hard work and friendship. Seeing them succeed doing something they're passionate about stuck with me. Even though I've always had the dream of owning my own business, that experience showed me it was possible. And ten years later I started my own company!

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Have the confidence to try something new. Don't be afraid of the unknown! If I had known this at age 16, I might've started my company even earlier.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
Being the Sales Manager for my team. Mastering the skills to effectively teach my sales team the strategies that have helped me succeed would help us grow the company overall. After all, we all know that without sales there is no growth!

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Traction by Gino Wickman This book showed me how to find the value in each person in my business and to recognize the hard truth that if they are not adding value, then it is time to move on. It also reminded me of the importance of making sure our entire team is "rowing in the same direction." This helped uncover the need for MXOtech to create a solid leadership team, learn from each team member, and work towards a common goal utilizing everyone's different skills.

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