CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Kerstin Demko

Regional Director, North America Partner Marketing, Sage

Location: Reston, VA


Number of years in current position: 3

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 10

Twitter Handle: @ksdemko

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Has an advanced degree (a degree higher than a bachelor's degree)
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has climbed a mountain
Can ride a horse
Likes playing video games
Has written a song
Has studied abroad

Biography and Background:
Kerstin Demko is a highly accomplished and motivated channel marketing executive that has successfully managed all facets of strategic marketing operations for industry leading channel organization's products and brands. She started in the Sage Payments division and worked her way to lead the largest channel group in the company. Currently she leads the North American partner marketing organization for Sage. Prior to Sage, Ms. Demko led channel marketing organizations for global companies such as Verisign and Network Solutions. She has helped companies adapt cloud products to new markets with GCE and helped companies enter new markets at Cloudlinux and Latista. Driven by a commitment to growing organizational success through the provision of world-class marketing management, she demonstrates the leadership skills needed to streamline and optimize marketing, sales and business development operations, while consistently meeting and exceeding performance goals and targets. With strong technology background, Ms. Demko grew her career as digital marketing was taking off and has adapted and has mastered all facets of marketing from classic product marketing to social and web marketing. She holds a master's degree from Georgetown in Technology and Communications and an undergraduate degree from George Mason University in international relations and Russian.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I have a passion for working with channel communities and have been working with Sage during a very transformational time. As Sage adapts to the new realities of the cloud market and develops the product and go to market strategy, it is my job to help our channel to adapt, grow and thrive in this new market. This is at the core of what I have accomplished for this year. The acceleration of cloud adoption has had a huge impact on our channel strategy. According to IDC, customers are driving cloud solution growth 5.5x higher than perpetual license, and partners are working to adapt their businesses to the demands of subscription and the cloud. I am helping our channel partners to become profitable cloud partners we are investing to help them develop the skills, services, specialization and digital marketing expertise they need to be successful. I have created many ways for partners to better train, to invest and to better market to claim more market share and grow. My goals also include attracting new partners who are ready to sell the cloud - this new crop of partners is unencumbered by legacy products and processes and can find success quickly.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
In 2017, we put in motion a bold plan to help our channel partners increase their ability to sell cloud, to market in a digital world, and to create new commercialized solutions to go to market. In 2018, I plan to expand this strategy to extend to more channel partners by developing a marketing certification program, improve our partner enablement programs and accelerate our channel partners ability to differentiate their organizations and grow their market share. We have modernized many of our programs and will continue to support our partners as they create new solutions and navigate a new course.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
As a leader, my award is building other leaders. As a big fan of Simon Sinek, who says that creating leaders is the greatest contribution a leader can make. It is important to me not only to coach my team but to create new channel leaders. This year, I created a new award, the Sage Partner Marketing Partner Star Award. It is awarded quarterly to a partner marketing manager who shows passion and dedication to our partners and goes above and beyond the call of duty to help them find success.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
As a tennis fan and player, I have always admired Billie Jean King. Not only is she a world-class athlete but also a champion of equal pay for women. With strength and dignity, she pushed the issue of equal pay into the limelight in the 70s and founded the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) to develop talent and establish the sport for future generations. It is through pioneering women like Billie Jean that women today appreciate our advancements. We owe a debt of gratitude to them and must pay it forward and continue to pave the way for future generations.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Be yourself - don't listen to the doubt and disbelief that creeps into your thinking. No one can define who you are or what success looks like except you. Follow your passion - be steadfast and fearless in what you believe and know you can do anything you set your mind to. Also, study French, not Russian. To speak Russian, you must go to places that are cold - Moscow and Siberia. If you speak French, you can go to Paris, Montreal, Geneva, Luxembourg, Monaco, French Polynesia, East Africa, and the Caribbean. So many more warm places speak Frenchstudy French.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
My next job will be in business development, so I can bring all the skills I've learned in my career together. Early in my career, I was a program manager for international non-profit. It was very fulfilling to work for a mission-based organization helping others and defining success through the purpose of the organization. I want to bring all these skills together and believe that business development, the creation of new opportunities and relationships, into one role would allow me to hone all I bring to bear and could be master of all my strengths.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
I just finished reading A Wrinkle in Time - again! I read it in 4th grade and it was such an impressionable book. I am excited this book is finally being made into a movie - I know so many women my age who found this book a classic from our childhood. Madeleine L'Engle shares a great sci-fi story starring a heroine who is real, strong, doubts herself but tries to do the right thing, even in the face of fear and danger; the same way many of us manage our lives and careers every day.

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