Biography and Background:
Annette Parker has been in the technology industry for 25+ years and began her career in distribution at MicroAmerica (later Merisel) and then later moved to the manufacturing side, joining US Robotics where she had retail responsibility for partners OfficeMax and Best Buy. In 2000, Annette took over the 3Com and CDW partnership, building out the networking business, along with the new NBX collaboration capabilities. After 3Com, Annette joined Cisco to lead the partner business from 2005 to 2016 and grew the business to $2B+ by 2014. Most recently, Annette joined VMware to lead the partnership with CDW.
How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
One of my favorite quotes is from Gen. Colin Powell who said, "Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand." I know my partner wants to grow faster than the market category growth. The formula I use is three simple steps of: enablement, engagement and alignment. Build your partner's plan collaboratively with the partner and socialize it within your own organization. In regards to socializing within VMware, it is critical to communicate not only CDW's reach here in the US, as well as internationally, but also their engineering value to VMware sales and engineering. My team worked diligently to ensure VMware understands CDW's value.
What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My top goals are to continue to move our channel business further into the solution conversation. VMware's portfolio evolved dramatically over the last few years, and we have to ensure partners are able to articulate VMware's value. As the channel team, we have to provide our partners with the tools to ensure they can solve the customer's problem.
What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
I was recognized by CRN's Women of the Channel in 2017.
Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist who took what could have been a devastating experience - demanding the Taliban that girls receive an education - and turned it into a world-recognized speaking platform. She has been vocal about the right for girls to be education from age 11 and has become a leading activist to educate children and women globally. At 17, she became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She inspires me because of her sheer will to make a difference in the world for herself and others.
What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Have your voice be heard. I learned an important lesson early in my career: "in a meeting with more than five people, be one of the first three people to speak, and make sure you say something with substance." If I had known that in my teens, I believe I would have been more vocal and participated in more activities, clubs, etc. in high school and college, than I already did. Perhaps debate would have been added to my activities. I believe that advice has assisted my career trajectory.
If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would like to be a part of industry events such as women of the channel as a speaker. I think it's important to share our story with the future channel leaders. I have begun reaching out to members of the WOTC board and look forward to being a part of that moving forward.
What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
"A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas" by Warren Berger. First, it was a recommendation from one of my customers, and I always appreciate a recommendation from within my network. I liked the book because it takes on questions, which in many cases have been looked at as "it's always been like that" and someone turned the question into their quest. I think that's how we should approach our careers every day.
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