Supporting and enabling our partners in the presence of continuous technical innovations and an ever-changing market requires art, science, knowledge and intuition. Our channel champions excel in this unique space, always advancing programs that move our partner community forward.
Each year, CRN recognizes pioneers who are not only leading the way in innovating sales, marketing, partner and corporate strategies, but also in nurturing the next generation of female leaders. We are proud to introduce the CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel, Citrix leaders who have moved decisively and creatively to differentiate Citrix, lead their peers and create a remarkable personal brand.
For the second year in a row, nine Citrix women have received this honor — congratulations to Neily Buff, Donna Buffett, Liz Fuller, Jennefer Power, Elke Ringler, Lindsay Sanchez, Christy Vega, Polly Weiss and Louise Wright.
It was quite a year for Neily Buff in her role as Senior Director, Education Solutions (now Senior Director, SMB Sales)! Her team has created a more unified learning experience across multiple development teams, re-engineered the way students learn and brought to market compelling offers and solutions. This 2018 Women of the Channel honoree and 2018 Channel Chief implemented a new and successful Partner Accelerator program as well as the Citrix Recertification Program, motivating students to return to the classroom to maintain their Citrix technical certifications.
Who does she look to for inspiration? “I truly admire Christy Vega (Citrix Director, Education Sales AMS and EMEA). She successfully balances her personal and work life and is always a joy to be around. I can always count on her to effectively follow through on any task at hand.”
While Neily has been busy hiring and building sales teams that consistently overachieve, she also actively seeks ways to help other women lead. As the founder and board member of the global Share the Stoke Foundation, she is instrumental in cultivating leadership, discipline, community and responsibility for children through the sport of surfing.
What advice would she give her 16-year-old self? “Keep trusting yourself!” she says. “Huge risks can also create significant opportunities and lasting positive impacts.”
Donna Buffet, Senior Director Worldwide Partner Enablement, has led the way in Channel program and relationship development, as well as team cultivation and motivation, earning her a spot for the third year in a row among CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel. Donna continues to help internal and external teams streamline how orders flow from end users through resellers and distribution to Citrix. She makes sure partners are not only well versed on the new simpler, profitable programs, but also on the benefits of newer programs.
Her incredible strides in improving the Citrix distribution model and productivity for the Sales Team — all while maintaining a high level of satisfaction — have earned her the Q3 2017 Customer Excellence Award and the 2017 Americas Leadership Award.
What’s inspired her lately? A fictional novel Trail of Echoes about a strong female character with personal challenges who still manages to solve the crime and bringing down the perpetrator. “It’s one of the best books I read this year,” she says.
Looking back, the advice she would give her 16-year-old self is to not take herself so seriously. “Smile more. Join clubs and sports and learn to really enjoy yourself and those around you. There is so much to learn and experience about life and about yourself.”
As a top-performing, creative, results-driven marketing leader with over 20 years of experience, Liz Fuller, Senior Director, Global Alliance & System Integrator, is a proven thought leader and a 2018 Women of the Channel honoree. Her specialty? Translating industry and customer insights into integrated business strategies that drive profitable sales, increased market share and brand equity.
Liz is responsible for driving global joint marketing strategy and generating strong pipeline results with top-tier alliances including Microsoft, Cisco and Google. Over the last year, she and her team launched and led the Citrix Ready Program, a “best of breed” partner program focused on supporting channel and customer choice in identifying third-party solutions for Citrix environments.
These best practices implemented by Liz and her team drove $40M+ in net-new customer engagements in the first year, and garnered an impressive roster of awards, including:
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) EMEA Alliance Technology Partner of the Year
- HPE Global Alliance Technology Partner of the Year—Intelligent Edge Solutions
- Cloud Infrastructure ISV of the Year Microsoft US EPG segment
- Microsoft US ISV of the Year Azure Quota Retirement
Liz admires other women leaders who are vocal when a voice is needed. She applauds Jennifer Lawrence for not only succeeding in a male-dominated environment, but also leveraging that power to uplift other women in her industry. “That is a hallmark of leadership that I strive to offer other women in my industry, in my company and on my team.”
Though she feels fortunate to have had strong supporters throughout her career, Liz never received formal mentorship. She now aspires to help other women navigate the challenging rungs on the corporate ladder. “I am currently mentoring three women within my organization and strive to share my career experiences in a way that translates personally,” she says. “When you’re the leader, make sure to bring others with you on your journey. You can’t do it alone, nor would you want to.”
As a leader with over 20 years of cross-functional experience, Jennefer Power, Senior Director of Americas Partners, was doubly honored this year on CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel, as well as the Power 100, for her exceptional expertise and vision.
Jennefer is responsible for driving the strategy to grow Citrix’s partner business in the US, Canada & LAC in North America. Over the past year she has transformed distribution strategy by investing in rebates to focus distributors on the midmarket, networking and cloud — as well as created programs for solution providers to align with distributors. These changes led to the first joint multi-vendor solution driven by distribution for the channel.
In 2017, Powers was also among a small handful of people selected to participate in the Citrix pilot mentorship program for high potential employees. In addition, two women on her team were recognized for their achievements in supporting distribution strategy changes. “I am thrilled to see them succeed,” says Powers. “It showcases the strong talent that we have.”
Encouraging her team is central to how Jennefer leads. She recalls how earlier in her career, supportive leadership was modeled for her by Jean Hoehn Zimmerman, EVP of Sales & Marketing at Chanel. “She was quick to highlight accomplishments on her team,” says Powers, “and believed that those who did the work, should also present it to the executive team.” Powers says this fostered a loyal, family-like culture where people loved coming to work. “These are qualities I admire in a great leader and I hope to help others like she did for me.”
What are two directives that describe Elke Ringler, Senior Manager, Distribution? Be bold and aim high. Elke has made a daily practice of going above and beyond the call of duty — and it’s why she is honored on CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel for the second year in a row.
“In a cloud world, everything begins with the sale,” Elke explains. “Cloud-first requires a change of mindset and way of selling. Distributors play a key role in enabling, supporting and guiding partners to successfully transform their current business approach to a cloud-centric one.” She also anticipates opportunities to identify and recruit new “born in-the-cloud” partners for Citrix, and to use the broad market access of Distributors.
Among this year’s achievements: her implementation of a specific Partner Development model that segments the partner channel by taking mindshare and current skillsets into consideration. This model defines appropriate actions to help individual partners develop their businesses. The result? “Significant growth of the active partner base in Central Europe,” Elke says. “And a successful increase in Citrix reach across the Midmarket.”
On a personal note, she is inspired by activists like Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl whose defiance of the Taliban ignited a global women’s rights movement. Cultivating a vision that endures is crucial to Elke. Along that same vein, she was moved by Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. “We often start with what rather than why—and even forget to identify the why,” Elke explains. “But whether in business or personal matters, if you are looking to clear your thinking about how things work in life, I would suggest the book.”
With 18 years of experience defining GTM strategies for established multi-billion dollar high-tech companies and high-growth start-ups, Lindsay Sanchez, Worldwide Channel Marketing, Enablement and Microsoft Business Development, has brought her considerable knowledge to bear at Citrix, working hand-in-hand with the channel to design solutions and training that helps Citrix attract and retain partners and win together in the cloud-first era.
Now recognized among CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel, Lindsay believes success has its roots in listening and learning from others. “There are so many new ideas, new skills and new approaches you’ll miss if you don’t, “she says.
Lindsay has discovered that pushing boundaries leads to exceptional ideas and outcomes. Over the last year, she has developed easily executable content and programs, while also scaling global enablement activities for more partners and sellers — activities that ensure prospects turn into repeat customers. “The evidence is in the increasing number of training hours logged,” Lindsay says, “and the positive feedback we receive from our partner ecosystem.”
Despite her substantial success, Lindsay says her greatest honor last year came outside of work, in the form of a handwritten card from thirty 8 and 9 year-old girls. She says the lacrosse team she coached wrote down, in their own words, what they’d learned and what it meant to be part of a team. “It reminded me that winning only happens when you work together. This is one of the primary reasons I believe so strongly in the Citrix channel. Together, I believe we can do much more.”
Over the past year, Christy Vega’s motivational leadership has been instrumental in providing new opportunities for channel partners to help them grow and excel like never before. In her role as Director, Education Sales AMS and EMEA, she is responsible for aligning channel and market needs to technically enable and verify skills for Citrix customers, partners and employees. Vega and her team have answered the call, working to expand the current Authorized Learning Center program to develop a quarterly incentive rebate program, launch targeted growth programs for Premier-Tier partners, and develop a Recertification Program for Partners. She also moved from 1 to 4 global Partner events per year — each one focused on Partner growth and instructor enablement.
She didn’t stop there. Christy also cut the ribbon on a new Partner Accelerator Program designed to reward partners for meeting defined quarterly targets. The Citrix Education Channel organization also hired a new instructor coach whose mentorship contributed to an almost 30-point rise in instructor-led training NPS scores.
For her achievements, Christy was awarded the Jack Welch Award for H215 Achievement, and now is honored by CRN among CRN’s 2018 Women of the Channel.
She recommends Jeffrey Gitomer’s The Little Red Book of Selling as a helpful resource with real-life examples and insights into understanding sales opportunities. “It highlights how anyone can be successful in sales,” she says. “The best practices intersect common sense.”
Polly Weiss, National Partner Manager, has been a frequent honoree on CRN’s Women of the Channel list, and 2018 is no exception. Over the past year, she has spearheaded the switch to an active selling model, outlined a plan for accelerated growth and advocated for the addition of a US Public Sector Business Development Manager. She also outlined a specific action plan around on-site enablement and sales — ultimately driving impressive Y/Y revenue growth.
For her exceptional leadership, Polly was honored as National Partner of the Year and National New Business Partner of the Year. “Our partner was willing to take positive steps forward as we invested in additional resources and programs,” Polly recalls. “Together, we changed the approach. Trust is the best indicator of success. Trust took a leap forward in 2017 as we overcame challenges, measured results — and celebrated success!”
Best book this year? Pachinko, a novel about a family living in occupied Korea and Japan during and after World War II. She says the story invites readers into the mindsets of women striving to overcome enormous challenges in a world with limited freedom. “It speaks to both individual and family adaptability that drives change in the world,” Polly remarks. “We need more of this!”
To girls who might be struggling, Polly recalls how overcoming obstacles in her own young adulthood helped foster the resiliency she relies on today. “Don’t panic!” she says. “Things will work out!”
Louise Wright was once again named to CRN’s Women of the Channel in her role as Principal Channel Marketing Manager. This energetic, outcome-driven B2B/B2C marketing professional knows how to help partners promote their uniqueness and tell their story. She is the engine that continues to drive preference and engagement for Citrix in the partner ecosystem with winning strategy, messaging, and delivery content for partner-led campaigns.
Louise has built and delivered scalable, end-to-end demand generation campaigns that don’t just enable partners, but empower them to execute the most impactful campaigns possible to really drive revenue. Over the last year Louise was tasked with completely overhauling and integrating all partner marketing automation systems and tools to deliver a single, consolidated platform for all lead and demand generation content, processes and automation — in less than 60 days. “By launch day we had seamlessly migrated more than 2500 partners into an all-new system,” Louise recalls, “arming them with 250 demand generation activities to execute from the get go.”
Her team successfully built and delivered first-class content with a partner-first lens focusing on voice, tonality and areas of expertise. This focus on customization “enables partners to execute campaigns with greater impact, spanning across the buyer’s journey with top, middle and bottom of funnel content,” she explains.
Louise encourages younger women to always follow their instincts, no matter what. But it’s okay to lean on others for knowledge and support when you need it. If you don’t know the answer? “Ask,” says Louise says. “And guess what? It’s okay if you’re wrong. That’s how experience grows. So ask ‘Why’ — but also ask, ‘Why not?’”
Looking to implement a world-class virtualization, mobility or networking solution? Find a Citrix partner in your area.