CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Penny Thurnau

Director of Network and Carrier Services, Powernet

Location: Cincinnati, OH


Number of years in current position: 18

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 7

Twitter Handle: @pennytpowernet

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Can ride a horse
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
Penny has been with Powernet for 18 years, having worked in various departments at the company throughout her career. She has climbed the ladder at Powernet working as a Call Center Manager, Sales Operations Manager, Networking Planning & Carrier Relations Manager and now the Director of Network & Carrier Services. After attending Buffalo State College and receiving an associate's degree from Jamestown Business College, Penny was brought in to Powernet as a result of one of the company's acquisitions in which she primarily worked with agents. Currently, Penny is a leading force behind Powernet's MDU initiative in addition to bringing integrated product solutions to agents nationwide.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I have brought on additional agents that are successfully selling our newest products and services. One of the agents that I brought on is selling all of our offered services making him a Top Agent for new business offerings. I have also helped to outline and implement strategy with our marketing and sales teams to come up with our Channel communication and promotions resulting in successful relationship building in the Channel. I am leading an initiative to bring our PowerPlay bundle to our agent channel, as well as expanding the variety of Product bundles Powernet makes available to its agents.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
To add new channel managers that are diverse in the marketplace and have a focus on being complete solution sellers. This goes along with our new products that are more MRC (monthly recurring charges) based rather than minutes-based. I am also aiming to promote our bundled solutions to a variety of new and existing agents.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Our CEO Alli Stevens is a great role model. She has worked in every department of the company and truly understands how to run the business and create success for the company. She is an advocate for our community as well as our employees. I have learned so much from working with her during my 18 years at Powernet. Her ability to lead a technology company in a male-dominated industry is inspiring. She is a perfect example of female leadership in the workplace.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Take a break from technology. Don't let apps and phones run your day to day life. Go and talk to your coworkers/friends. Don't take things for granted and appreciate the people around you that want to help. Don't let your mistakes defeat you, learn from them and look at them as an opportunity to grow.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
Public Speaking- I feel that in order to further promote Powernet and the channel I should be able to do more public speaking and panel discussions I need to conquer my fear of speaking in front of a large group of people.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Same Side Selling by Ian Altman & Jack Quarles It puts the buyer and seller on the same side and the value and fit for the services/products that are being offered and are mutually beneficial. It also lets you know that you don't have to solve everyone's problems. Sometimes there is not a perfect fit.

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