Biography and Background:
Sara Wilson is a channel executive with 14 years of cross-industry experience specializing in the Latin American market. Native to Atlanta and a graduate of the University of Georgia in Speech Communication and Spanish, Sara is tri-lingual in English, Spanish and Portuguese. She began her career in tech at OptimusSolutions (later acquired by Softchoice) in the marketing department as an intern. She later changed industries to medical devices and worked for many years for a $12M small business exporter, directing international distribution sales in 72 countries. She jokingly refers to this experience as getting her "hands-on MBA" because she had to learn every aspect of the business, from raw material sourcing and production, to export, marketing, sales and finance. Wilson joined Veeam in 2011 as the first employee for the Latin American Region, where she started development from scratch - uncovering and qualifying leads, hiring and enabling the channel, and driving deals to closure to achieve sales targets. Eventually she grew her role to focus specifically on channel management and was named MVP for LATAM in 2012. Wilson was promoted to Regional Channel & Distribution Manager, LATAM in 2013 and promoted again, to Regional Channel Director, LATAM in 2016.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
The Latin American region for Veeam experienced tremendous growth in 2017, and all of it was driven through our partners, as we are a 100% channel-focused company. I led my team of 20 channel representatives in the region, developing strategic approaches to increase pipeline and sales with our current resellers while evaluating the distribution landscape and managing strategies for the recruitment of additional resellers. In addition, I directly managed the Cloud & Service provider business segment, which experienced exponential growth both in revenue and number of partners, and I directly managed the alliance division for LATAM, developing go-to-market strategies that directly affected revenue, especially in the enterprise segment through solution selling with adjacent technologies. I also led the channel program initiatives, developing processes to activate our channel install base with new incentives and training. Furthermore, I was deeply involved in the channel marketing strategy to determine the best activities for channel enablement and demand generation with the highest ROI possible. Beyond that I made sure to communicate to our partner community the position of Veeam in the market through extensive travel in the Latin American region, press interviews with the IT media, and partner training.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My No. 1 goal is to help partners further grow their revenue, increase market share over our competitors, and positively affect the bottom line of their business. I plan to do that by providing our channel partners with a streamlined, programmatic approach to the business with many options for training, a solid deal registration program that gives them protected investment in the brand, and an even more simplified discount structure across many licensing options (capex/opex). I would also like to expand our ecosystem with more systems integrators now that we have the Veeam Accredited Service Provider program.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
Channel Leader of the Year, Americas, 2017 Women in Green - First 30 - Breakthrough Leader: This award was presented through Veeam together with Leading Women for being selected and participating in a 12-month leadership and mentorship program. The breakthrough leader category was for Director Level women in the company. President's Club: Selected among top sales executives as a President's Club nominee for 2016 sales.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Sheryl Sandberg. As a female leader in tech, she has been able to navigate the complex C-level suite of multiple companies, and she commands attention and respect. She is a passionate advocate for women in leadership and has inspired countless women to check their insecurities at the door and "lean in." She personally inspired me to ban the word "bossy" when talking about behaviors of my young daughters and instead refer to them as "future leaders." Aside from that, the way she persevered through a personal crisis (the unexpected death of her husband) makes her a relatable human being.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Soak up as much cultural knowledge and experience as you can. The career world is global, and it's imperative to be able to work with people of all different backgrounds and cultures. The best way to do that is to immerse yourself into another culture and learn their idiosyncrasies and language(s). I was fortunate to have these kinds of opportunities growing up, as my father lived in different countries as an international business consultant, and, though I did take advantage of it, as I look back, I didn't do so nearly as much as I should have.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I've been learning Portuguese over the last few years in order to better understand the Brazilian culture and work more effectively in that part of our region. I would like to become as fluent in Portuguese as I have become in Spanish. Additionally, I'd like to develop more technical/presales knowledge.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
The Corporate Athlete by Jack Groppel. I learned strategies for effectively balancing a high-intensity career through a similar approach to sports. As a competitive gymnast growing up, I learned many skills and routines/structures to enhance my athletic abilities in gymnastics, which is a year-round sport with no downtime. I had never thought to apply those same methods to corporate life until someone recommended this book to me. It was very insightful and left me feeling that I could manage a more balanced approach to my career and its impact across other aspects of my life.
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