Long before a person working in a company—large or small—sees their life and business transformed by the vast benefits of a beautiful, seamless virtual solution, somebody has listened to their needs, analyzed the market, enabled and mobilized a field of technical and sales experts—and inspired them with what’s possible.
Bridging the complex and dynamic gap between Citrix innovations, partners on the ground, and uncharted territories of ever-evolving market demand are all part of why channel leaders have one of the most challenging of roles.
You need more than tenacity, dedication and vision. You need the sharpest tools in the shed.
Meet our secret weapons: the eight Citrix leaders honored as CRN’s 2016 Women of the Channel.
Each year, the Channel Company recognizes executives for their outstanding achievements in driving channel growth, introducing cutting edge market strategies, and advancing partner enablement programs across the ecosystem.
The fact that so many Citrix leaders were named is no surprise. Shaping the future of IT is what they do every day, usually before lunch.
Say Yes to the Adventure
Woman of the Channel honoree Kimberly Martin, VP, Worldwide Partner Strategy & Sales, was also named this year to the prestigious Power 100 for overseeing dynamic transformation at a dramatic pace. Through Kimberly’s careful leadership and analysis, partner-facing field roles were strategically evolved to focus on partner success programs. New incentive models were built, landed and adapted. A massive internal and external re-alignment was forged at record pace.
Her advice to leaders-on-the-grow.
“Say yes to most new adventures, seek the big roles and challenges. Stretch yourself. Be ok with failing, as failure is where we grow wisdom.”
You can’t be a dynamo without a lot of quiet time.
“I believe in ebbs and flows of work: you push hard to deliver a project, but then it’s important to slow down, regroup for the next big adventure.” Solitude and sleep are important, as are stretches of unplanned time to herself. “Remember not to take yourself so seriously—it makes us more authentic and real as women and as leaders.”
Kimberly is proud of the inclusive leadership culture at Citrix, where it’s not unusual to see men getting involved in the Women’s Inspirational Network. She credits CEO Kirill Tatarinov for setting an example by identifying women and diversity as a top focus area.
Connect with Kimberly on Twitter: @_KimberlyMartin
Simply the Best
For the third consecutive year, Woman of the Channel honoree, Tammy Richards, Managing Director, Worldwide Partner Success, has also been recognized on CRN’s elite Power 100 for her proven insight, influence and success in driving growth.
Tammy’s talent is in ensuring that Citrix is, quite simply, a partner’ best company to do business with.
Her focus is on new solutions that address expanded markets, maximizing their profits via delineated, stackable incentives, and exploring new ways of rewarding partners who focus on key areas of growth.
To that end, Tammy streamlined the existing incentive structure, oversaw new mid-market campaigns with both horizontal and vertical focus, and expanded new flexible proposal-based marketing development fund to help partners offset the cost of high-ROI demand and enablement activities.
Part of being the best is keeping perspective.
Tammy continues to keep her priorities straight, put family first, and give back to those in need.
And while finding a balance between work and life is a daily challenge, she says family time at home makes her a happier colleague and a better leader—she sets clear boundaries with both work and with family.
Connect with Tammy on Twitter: @tlrichards99
Speaking of Sharp
Meet Jennifer Krystofiak, Senior Manager, Worldwide Channel Development, a rising star whose initiative and innovative thinking earned her a spot on the 2016 list of Up & Comers. Jennifer’s ability to develop best in class partner enablement programs, tools, and resources has led to continued growth and profitability. Over this last year, Jennifer focused on guiding partners to source and qualifying opportunities in untapped markets, including an extensive boot camp for Partner Account Managers.
How did she do it?
“I believe in sharpening axes. Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, ‘give me six hours to chop a tree and I’ll spend the first four hours sharpening my ax.’ In order for our partners to be successful with their Citrix business, my job is to make sure their axes are as sharp as possible.”
For Jennifer that means working hard, investing in people, paying it forward, and deciding for herself what a work/life balance looks like. “Find what works for you, and accept that it will likely be completely different from anyone else’s.”
Connect with Jennifer on Twitter: @JAKfiak
Louise Wright, Principal Channel Marketing Manager, is all about simplifying complexities—a key asset in an industry where things can get convoluted pretty quickly. Louise spearheaded the first-of-their-kind marketing initiatives designed to deliver a more user friendly end-to-end experience for our partners.
After developing the first-ever dedicated marketing “curriculum” at Citrix last year—packed with need-to-know content, industry perspectives and tips for how partners can excel with their marketing efforts, this year saw the delivery of a cross-collaborative day 1 Citrix Summit launch of the hugely successful Mid-Market Success Kits—a series of comprehensive, ready-to-go campaigns purpose built to help partners identify demand and drive easier conversations in the mid-market.
Keeping it simple isn’t always easy.
Louise states that many of her turning points were achieved in the face of adversity, acknowledging that with every great opportunity comes a steep learning curve.
“I spent many years feeling too shy to ask questions but have long since come to the decision that ‘you only know what you know’. Ask the question and be sure to listen—more than you talk.”
And while it’s good to set ambitious goals, setting the bar too high can be a pitfall—and leave you feeling like you’ve missed the mark. She encourages women to “be kind to yourself.” And when it comes to taking risks, be bold. As one of her favorite songs says, ‘your choices are really half chance – but, so are everyone else’s.’
Connect with Louise on Twitter: @louise_rm
Donna Buffett, Director, Channel Enablement & NA Distribution, was the mastermind behind developing and delivering a wide range of clear learning paths, methodologies, best practices and use cases—all of which empowered partners to not just identify customer need but to have a real discussion around client issues and Citrix solutions.
A keen strategist, Donna encourages other aspiring leaders always to think about how your current move affects not just your team, but the company as a whole. “Know the level of contribution the other players on your team are capable of contributing, and always learn from those around you—whether they are twice your age or half your age.”
Lose the guilt.
Donna has made peace with bringing her personal life into her work life and vice versa. It’s all part of embracing flexible work environments. “I can participate in notable times in my son’s life during the work day such as an early baseball practice or an award ceremony, yet will answer emails late at night or on weekends.”
Who she admires: When it comes to a person with wide-ranging talents, strength amid adversity and a highly strategic mind, Donna says Condoleezza Rice embodies it all, and continues to inspire her. “Because in the corporate world, you need to think strategically.”
Follow Donna on Twitter @dlbuffett
Faster Than a Speeding Bullet
Meika Darville, Director of Worldwide Partner Operations and Productivity, is well on her way to spurring double digit growth in partner sales. How? By removing the speed bumps.
Over the last year, Meika revitalized the global incentive platform for 10,000 partners. She drastically improved responsiveness to partner system issues and reduced the sales cycle by creating actionable dashboards and lower turnaround times for rebate delivery—cutting delays in half for tens of millions in payments. Meika also led the Global Partner Operations plan for the multi-year transformation project, which includes the newly launched Net New Partner Sourced incentive program.
Advice to other aspiring leaders: “Seek out opportunities to do more than what is asked of you,” she says, “and you will end up with an opportunity to both learn something and show others your capabilities.” And when problems arise that are out of your control, keep your cool. “Your attitude will often be remembered more than your response.”
Want to work faster? Protect your time.
“Decide what is most important to you in terms of how to use your time. If you don’t, everyone else’s calendar will control you. Establish boundaries and communicate them to your co-workers, friends and family.”
Connect with Meika on Twitter: @mdarville
Public Sector Powerhouse
Nancy Binnie, Director, Partner Account Managers, U.S. Public Sector, singlehandedly designed specialized programs to help partners gain expertise selling into State and Local agencies, and facilitated relationships between public sector partners and Cisco, Microsoft and Nutanix—a solution that maximized partner profits and has expanded coverage into all 50 states.
How can others follow in her footsteps?
Nancy believes that education is not an option for women—it’s a must. And while setbacks are a part of life, she learned early to be resilient: “My mother is and always will be the most important role model in my life,” Nancy says, “first, for showing me the value of positive thinking. Through her guidance, I learned to take away valuable lessons from my mistakes and move forward accordingly.”
On balancing private life: “Do what you’re doing when you are doing it. It’s not easy to do because our minds are racing and we want to multi-task. Focus on now – be at work when you are at work and be home when you are home. Staying in the present and being mindful of our priorities can help us actually do a better job and get more enjoyment from life.”
Connect with Nancy on Twitter: @nancybinnie
An Eye for Detail
Patti Lewis, Director, Systems Integrators, relied on her 15 years of experience to develop the Strategic Engagement Model—a focused initiative aimed at driving profits and providing differentiated value to clients through better teamwork, increased executive support, and tactical joint opportunity development.
How she’s made her mark?
Paying attention to the details. “It’s hard these days with so much information coming at us, but with employees, with family, friends and clients—it’s always the little things that they remember. Get your data right, build a story and make it personal.”
Seeing the big picture: “Understand that you won’t get balance in every day or every week but you have to view it on a macro level. A five-minute meditation every morning before you start can center yourself for the day.”
Her female role model
Patti says her older sister Linda is strong in so many ways that she admires. “She makes everyone feel heard and understood when she engages. Not an easy task and something that I hope to acquire.”
Connect with Patti on Twitter: @pattilewmannel