One of our "Power 100 Vendors"
Biography and Background:
Michele brings over 25 years of in-depth channel and sales experience in creating, building and enabling partner relationships. She has a solid track record of both the design and day-to-day operations of a global channel model, with the ability to launch effective channel strategies and drive incremental sales. She has deep knowledge and experience in developing partner programs, enabling partner expertise, and building value-added strategies. Michele has launched award winning partner programs and enablement platforms at Juniper Networks, FireEye and now SonicWall. Michele joined SonicWall in June 2016 as the Senior Director of Global Channel Programs and Enablement. During her tenure, Michele has launched the SecureFirst Partner Program and SonicWall University. In addition to the formation and launch of all global channel programs, she is now responsible for the newly formed Education Services team which will help drive the overall education strategy for employees, customers, and partners worldwide.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
The launch of the SecureFirst Partner Program has had a significant impact on SonicWall in the past year with over 21,000 registered partners, 8,000 of those partners are new to SonicWall. This kind of explosive growth has solidified SonicWall's position in the cyber security market and validated its 100 percent channel model. The launch of SonicWall University resulted in a widespread adoption of training and enablement, with over 120,000 learning achievements passed, resulting in over 60,000 man hours of training in 10 months. Furthermore, our data indicates that partners who have successfully passed assessments in SonicWall University have seen a 20 percent increase in sales over partners who have not. To augment this, we launched the Partner Enabled Services Program, a program focused on providing SecureFirst Partners the tools and support needed to build a robust professional services practice around SonicWall. In addition, the momentum on the Reward for Value framework in the SecureFirst Program continues to grow, with a 35 percent increase in deal registrations resulting in over $450M in registered opportunities in the past year.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
This year has already seen exciting announcements from SonicWall. We launched our new Managed Security Services Program which provides our partners everything they need to build, grow and enhance their managed security services business. To augment this, we're launching our Technical Masters Program, a program intended to recognize and reward technical champions in our Partner Community. In addition, we've undergone a refresh of our Technical Certification content, and will be releasing new courses and certifications the next year. These align with the significant launch of our new product announcements, including Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI) on our Capture Cloud Platform.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was honored to be recognized in 2017 for CRN's Women of the Channel and "100 People (in the Channel) You Don't Know but Should." It is always rewarding to be acknowledged within a group of peers I have worked with and have so much respect for. On a personal note, my family's vineyard was awarded #63 in the Top 100 Wines of 2017 in Wine Spectator and we were very excited to achieve that recognition.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I'm very lucky to work with many intelligent and supportive women - no more so than Donna Grothjan, VP of Channels at Aruba. Donna is a fearless channel executive, advocate and leader, and has taught me about navigating the tricky waters of this business. She has a great deal of knowledge to share and yet she asks as many questions as she answers, which results in a two-way dialogue about what's working and what's not. She is a tireless supporter and champion for me and I'm very lucky. Plus, she just received the 2018 50 Most Influential Channel Chief award!
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
My 16-year-old daughter just happened to be sitting with me as I write this submission, so I asked her what advice I give her. She said, "Enjoy being a teenager, trust in yourself, be confident, don't care so much about what everyone else thinks, don't stress - you're only a teenager." Easier said than done, but in retrospect, that's exactly the advice I would give my 16-year-old self. Don't grow up too fast, believe in yourself, don't succumb to peer pressure, don't believe the naysayers, stop and take a breath. And laugh. A lot.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
Finance - every day I learn more about SonicWall's business from a financial perspective, but I certainly have room to grow. We tend to shy away from skills we're not good at, and math is certainly not my strength. I'm determined to change that so I'm diving right into EBITDA, cost envelopes, depreciation, you name it. I learned at last year's WOTC event that people tend to maintain a level of expertise about their job function without branching out and understanding the business as a whole. I took that as a personal challenge to dive into the world of finance.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Every January I kick off the year reading "It Starts with Food" by Melissa Hartwig. It's a great reminder of how what we eat affects every aspect of our life. With a year of business travel, off-site meetings and work dinners in front of me, it grounds me and reminds me to be thoughtful about my choices. I should probably pick it up again in July for a mid-year check, though. ;)
Unedited Content Provided By Participants