CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

One of our "Power 100 Vendors"

Michelle Accardi

President and Chief Revenue Officer, Star2Star Communications

Location: Sarasota, FL


Number of years in current position: 1

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 15

Twitter Handle: @1marketingmaven

Fun Facts:

Has a female boss (or is top executive at company)
Sits on a company board
Has an advanced degree (a degree higher than a bachelor's degree)
Has an MBA
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Can ride a horse
Has written a song
Has studied abroad

Biography and Background:
As President and Chief Revenue Officer, Michelle's mission is to inspire and maintain growth for the company and its partners, ensuring that customers get significant value from Star2Star's products and services. She was instrumental in the Star2Star-Blueface merger and now works with their combined executive leadership teams to define long-term vision and operational strategy to assure that growth and market potential are achieved. The group joined forces in order to become one of the top five UCaaS providers worldwide and offer the market's first and only Full Spectrum Communications Solution with options ranging from Hosted to Hybrid for every unique business need. In pursuit of this goal, Michelle sees engaging and listening to employees, partners, and customers as a primary function of her role in order to keep Star2Star on the optimal strategic path. In this way, customer success is assured as employees and partners are inspired to deliver an excellent product and experience with every interaction. In her previous position as the company's Chief Operating Officer, Michelle used these same methods to develop new processes and systems to streamline business interactions. She grew departmental leadership and expanded Star2Star's support capabilities to better serve customer and partner needs.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I championed the launch of our hosted product line, StarSystem™ Hosted, which provides our customers with an easily deployed, all-inclusive cloud communication solution. I am currently facilitating the early stages of the launch and coordinating efforts between Star2Star and Blueface leadership teams so that we rollout this new product seamlessly for our Partners and Customers. I am also leading the charge on making improvements to our Channel Partner Program which includes incorporating more training options, a better ordering process, and new and improved pricing strategies. Partners and Agents will enjoy more flexible training arrangements with on-site workshops provided by our representatives and online classes. Our new ordering process is streamlined for a more intuitive experience. And our new pricing system, All-Inclusive 4.0, provides even greater earnings to our Partners and bigger discounts for their Customers while reducing the complexity of previous systems.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Star2Star and Blueface have joined forces to become one of the top five UCaaS providers worldwide. Over the next year, we will focus on growing an international presence and continuing to enhance our Full Spectrum Communications Solution. We will also put an emphasis on growing our Partner base and improving our Channel Program with enhanced training opportunities, pricing strategies, ordering process, and end-to-end support services. We are automating our support efforts to help our Partners become more efficient and focus on what is important: building relationships and closing deals.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was named a 2017 CRN Channel Chief in recognition for my efforts in building Star2Star's partner programs, developing and executing effective business strategies, and helping to advance the channel. I was named to CRN's 2017 Power 100 List for driving vision, inspiration, and success for Star2Star. I was named a 2017 Top Midmarket IT Executive by The Channel Company in recognition of my dedication to the midmarket technology space.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Hedy Lamarr, for her pioneering work on some of the earliest uses for wireless technology. I admire her intelligence and analytical skills that led to the creation of spread-spectrum technology. I feel a kinship with Lamarr since we are both pioneering women in the technology space. In my career, I am pioneering the world's first and only Full Spectrum Communications Solution. Full Spectrum is providing truly complete solutions to businesses worldwide for every communications need.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I would tell my 16-year-old self that the path to success is more like a series of steps than a winding road. Some steps are so high that they take a leap of faith while others are small and short but you must take many of them to get to the next flight of stairs. The core message here is that every step in the right direction is important, regardless of how it may feel at the time.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would love to learn new languages since we will be expanding to international markets. It would be helpful to speak some Asian and native European languages for when we interact with these markets.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
"The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World" by Brad Stone. I found the stories of today's most disruptive Silicon Valley entrepreneurs inspiring; they have literally changed the world with their radical ideas and reshaped how people interact with their environments and utilize the internet in their daily lives. I was reminded of Star2Star's own innovative technologies in the Unified Communications space, which also is reshaping how businesses communicate, and can apply other technology leaders' wisdom to our business.

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