CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Michele Lee

Director, Global Partner Program, Tata Communications

Location: Singapore, Singapore


Number of years in current position: 3

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 26

Twitter Handle: @MicheleLee3108

Fun Facts:

Can code
Has an advanced degree (a degree higher than a bachelor's degree)
Has an MBA
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Instagram
Is an extrovert
Has climbed a mountain
Likes playing video games
Has written a song
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
I have helped companies build award-winning partner programs to multiply the revenue of their channel business. And it did not end there. Engagement with partners through marketing, 2-way communication and feedback processes are important to build the loyalty among partners, necessary for the growth. By bringing 20+ years of experience in partner program management, partner marketing, communications and channel business development, I have supported and influenced channel strategy development and execution for ICT market leaders such as Tata Communications, EMC and Sun Microsystem. By taking an 'outside-in' perspective and applying a unique combination of skillsets and knowledge, I have helped ensure partner needs and pain-points are factored into program and engagement design for maximum business impact. ICT markets, go-to-market models and the technology to enable partners are rapidly evolving. To ensure the opportunities and challenges these changes represent I apply my passion for learning to ensure best-in-class practices are adopted. As a Doctorate researcher in Marketing, I apply the knowledge I have gained to real business scenarios with in-depth research and analysis, to identify new marketing trends and develop theoretical frameworks which will benefit marketing practitioners in the field.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
Digital transformation has created many challenges, and at the same time many opportunities for the telecommunications services industry. The industry needs to change the way it reaches its customers. The channel will become increasingly important in influencing, selling and supporting these services. I helped the team identify the different partner types, partner business models and business needs, to build a structured, yet flexible program to grow our business with partners globally. Since the program was launched 2 years ago, the contribution of partner business to the overall revenue has almost doubled. To support engagement with partners, I oversee the development of program assets, marketing programs and overall governance model for the ongoing development of the program and partners. Recently, I have focused on building out a robust partner recruitment and development framework, and alliance program to grow the breadth and depth of the partnership models. New platforms for partner communication, marketing support and social media were developed to provide stronger engagement to partners. Finally, I drive corporate-wide initiative to deliver ongoing education to all functions on the importance and key considerations in building successful relationships with partners, and how our partner program supports achieving our and our partners' business goals.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
The goal is to continue to double the business with partners through the program and by increasing the number of strategic partners and alliances. By continuing to advocate partnership as part of the company culture, develop our engagement and relationships with partners to a more strategic level. Through the communication platforms and support infrastructure for partners, our ambition is to improve the value and experience that partners will gain from partnering with us. Ultimately, our goal is to become the partner of choice in the telecommunications industry - delivering superior customer experiences and value together across the next year.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Women of the Channel 2017 from CRN. Whatever It Takes Award from Tata Communications' VP of Global Partnership Group for executing the Partner Satisfaction Survey with 500+ partners and developing the infrastructure, platform and communications framework. Emerging Leader Program selection in Tata Communications based on the thought leadership applied to our business transformation. Guest Keynote Speaker invitation to the Channel Symposium Asia event to speak on channel marketing and program best practices, based on my channel experience. Recognized as an exceptional graduate by Edinburgh University where I pursue my Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire Angelina Jolie. She is an influential woman who has been challenging the status quo to change the world for good. The actress's extensive humanitarian work over the years has served as an inspiration. That humanity led the actress to be promoted to the Special Envoy of the United Nations. Her generosity is also demonstrated in the donation she has made to various charity organizations and the three children she has adopted. In addition, the courage she has displayed when she had the double mastectomy to prevent the onset of breast cancer due to family history was commendable.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
I would tell myself - "keep learning and venture into anything that you feel passionate about". Ongoing learning can sharpen one's mind and broaden one's horizon. Whether or not the subject of interest is related to academic study or work, to keep learning something that you feel passionate about would create positive drive for other things you work on and eventually, drive success. To meet and adapt to expectations and requirements have become part of daily life and work life, it is essential to become a 'lifelong learner'.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
If I could master a new job-related skill, that would be 'coaching'. In senior and leadership positions, it is important to help individuals, be it our team members or others, improve their own performance and help them to learn. In Gallwey's book, the Inner Gamer of Tennis, he suggested that the biggest obstacles to success and achieving potential were internal and not external. Coaching can unlock a person's potential to maximize their own performance and motivate a person to achieve results.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
The best book I have read in the past year, during my doctorate research on digital marketing was 'Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective' by George Belch and Michael Belch. A book that discusses the hottest marketing topics of internet, social media and mobile marketing, it was extremely interesting to see how digital transformation has changed marketing. Through many examples of successful offline and online marketing campaigns past and current, new perspectives on and ideas for marketing can be generated. It is a good recommendation for the aspiring marketers who are looking for new ways to revolutionize marketing.

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