Biography and Background:
For more than 10 years, Maria Ardila has worked in the IT sector with different multinationals, leading strategy focused on the definition and planning of profitable and valuable businesses for the channel/distribution ecosystem. Her first experience was with Microsoft Colombia, working with local and multinational vendors, developing initiatives to market PCs and Servers, integrating Microsoft Solutions for both end users and the corporate segment, identifying areas of opportunity and developing partnerships between channels and manufacturers. At Dell Colombia, she was responsible for the development of Microsoft in South America and Central America and the Caribbean region for medium and small businesses as well as for large entities. Working closely with the sales team, they achieved sales growth of 300% year-over-year. Maria later joined Symantec managing the distribution channel initially for Central America and the Caribbean, later for all Latin American region, demonstrating her knowledge in business development, marketing and account management. At Sophos, Maria has led specific projects in the development of the channel, defining the strategy and growth of Sophos in the region, where the channel program has been successfully launched, and different tools implemented that allow the growth of the channel itself and the business.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Over the last year we have really listened to the channel to understand what they need, and adjusted accordingly. This goes back to our roots as being a 100% channel company. In the two years I've worked with Sophos LATAM and watched it evolve, we defined a plan and measured what we needed to achieve it step by step. Some of the most important projects I've worked on recently include: • Defined ATCs for LATAM to support our Partner growth Strategy • Created RMA process to accomplish Partner/End User response • Updated Partner Program to align to LATAM strategy, which is "channel first" like the rest of Sophos As part of this, we have had obstacles, but obstacles allow us to learn, and that is what we focus on. We've also been very transparent with the channel, because they know that at Sophos our commitments and values are not negotiable. We truly believe that we must lead by example.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My goal this year is to consolidate the strategy, continue our growth and maintain the great team of partners we have. We are also starting our Partner Advisory Council in LATAM, to ensure partner feedback is always taken into consideration. In addition, the enablement pillar is fundamental for us to grow, so the goal is to double certifications in LATAM. Lastly, one of the main messages that we share with partners in the region is to enable them to be an Integrated Security Service Provider. We work with them to make sure that they're showing their expertise through services.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
CRN Women of the Channel 2017
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
During the Colombian revolution, a woman named La Pola participated in the struggle for independence against the Spaniards, but she did it as an informant of the Patriots. She was betrayed and executed, and at the time of her execution said, "Indolent people! How different your fate would be today if you knew the price of freedom!" But it is not too late. I have enough courage to suffer death and a thousand more deaths, do not forget this example!" I admire her for her courage, for the passion with which she continued her mission despite how dangerous it was.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Dream big, define your goal, discover yourself and enjoy yourself. I assure you that on the way you will discover many things, some better than others, but there is always time to revise the plan and give it a new twist. The opportunities are there, and it's up to you how much of them you want to take.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would like to increase my Financial Skills. I consider that important to better understand some situations and to plan for the business. I understand it at a high-level a little bit, but I would like to go deeper.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Cuentos de Buenas noches para ninas rebeldes - Goodnight Stories for rebellious girls. I liked it because it is a book for girls that shows a real side of fairy tales, where women have different facets and we can enjoy happiness without having to follow the fairy tale. They are short biographies of successful, real women and in the language of girls, they are excellent.
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