Biography and Background:
Uma Thana Balasingam is Vice President of Channels & Sales, Asia Pacific & Japan for Riverbed. She is responsible for defining the region's go-to-market strategies including channel, service providers and alliances. As a key member of the leadership team, she plays an active role in shaping the company's growth strategy in the region. Uma has 17+ years' experience in business and strategic channels development in the APJ region. Prior to joining Riverbed, she served for more than seven years at EMC in various senior leadership roles, with a focus on product expansion, business development and channels development. She previously held roles in management at Brocade and field sales at IBM. Uma is the co-founder of Lean In Singapore and the founder of Lean In Women in Technology Asia & Women In Technology Singapore which has >700 members today. LeanIn.Org was founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to empower women to achieve their ambitions. Lean In Singapore, founded in 2016, is a community of over 2000 women that comes together to be inspired, empowered and educated with a focus on driving gender diversity in the workplace.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
My focus over the last 18 months has been to help re-define Riverbed's go-to-market strategies in APAC, which include channel, service providers and alliances; playing an active role in shaping the company's growth strategy. Key achievements include: • Consolidated all routes to market functions to better serve different types of partners • Drove incremental revenue contribution from the channel to the business's topline • Played a key role within a core team to envision and execute the rollout of a new, industry-leading partner program, Riverbed Rise; ensured relevance to region, catering to emerging markets and specific partners in APJ. • Championed advocacy: internally to create positive awareness for the channels organization through a sales transformation approach coupled with investment in team development and promoting channel-led wins; and externally with partners through the formation of the APJ Partner Executive Advisory Council • Contributed to global development of programs via best practices around Deal Registration, channel success metrics, new product introduction framework for channel, and building embedded and managed services business • Revamped distribution sales through new framework to focus on Growth Partners concept and set of metric and activities to drive incremental revenue; and designed new distribution APJ program, launched 2/1/18
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My focus in 2018 is to build on the strong foundation we've established over the last 18 months, driving momentum in a few core areas: • Team Development: Continue to have a high-performing channels team that is motivated and built on camaraderie • Channel Engagement: Building out a diverse, enabled and engaged channel ecosystem that will help fuel our portfolio business • Business Outcomes: Deliver on our incremental revenue targets
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Aim Kusuwan, a 24-year-old from Thailand who lives in Singapore. At 24, she's accomplished amazing things including working her way up to be one of the leaders I appointed for Lean In Singapore, founded Lean In Thailand and launched the country's first chapter this year. She secured herself a board of mentors and started her own Early Career Circle, bringing together women to provide peer-to-peer support. She started her own business, negotiated a new position at a new company and goes out of her way offer help to anyone who asks/needs it.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
That it will all work out in the end. There are many paths that leads us to different roads to where we end up, but without taking some real risks and getting uncomfortable being comfortable, you will not realize your full potential.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would love to have a deep understanding of finance that'll allow me to navigate and lead business conversation from a financial aspect beyond the basics.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
2017 was an extremely challenging year. I ended a relationship due to infidelity and my mother passed away suddenly on Mother's Day. I become an orphan and parent to my elder, dependent sister overnight. I also found out that she was terribly abused emotionally and physically for years unknown to me. I bought the book Option B (Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy) not imagining it would change my life. It gave me insight to coping with adversity, and some great tools to deal with these emotions and look forward. It helped me become "unstuck."
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