Channel News

2023 Channel Chiefs: The 50 Most Influential

Rick Whiting

As part of CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs, here’s a look at 50 influential leaders who drive the channel agenda and evangelize the importance of channel partnerships within the IT industry.


Michelle Welch


Welch is responsible for the development and execution of WatchGuard’s global go-to-market strategy. And as a 100 percent channel-focused organization, WatchGuard’s go-to-market strategy hinges on the organization’s ability to attract, enable and build productive relationships with the channel, from traditional VARs and distributors to evolving and newly emerging MSPs and MSSPs.

Welch, who describes herself as operationally driven, has built emphasis on the channel into every go-to-market aspect for the company, from partner on-boarding to marketing program development and sales training.

In the last year she has overseen the expansion and modernization of WatchGuard’s approach to cooperative and vendor-led demand generation activities, including the integration and rollout of buying intent technology for WatchGuard and its partners. She also created a business development representative team for out-bounding new business opportunities to partners through WatchGuard’s new Partner Lead Dispatch Program.

Prior to joining WatchGuard, Welch served as vice president of marketing at SafeNet, one of the world’s largest information security companies, where she worked to rebuild the company’s channel program and partner enablement platform. She also served in a variety of product, field, sales operations and corporate marketing leadership roles, and brings more than 18 years of experience in security-focused B2B marketing to WatchGuard.

Learn More: Channel Programs
Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at

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