Here’s How 20 Channel Chiefs Describe Their Personal Channel Philosophy

Channel executives on the CRN 2024 Channel Chiefs list were asked to describe their personal channel philosophy. From the role the channel plays in IT vendors’ go-to-market strategies to best practices for building vendor-partner relationships, here’s what 20 channel chiefs had to say.

Philosophical Approach

Channel executives set the tone and pace for how their company works with channel partners, both on a day-to-day basis and for the strategic long term. So how these executives think about the channel is critical. Truly effective channel chiefs go beyond “channel management” and ponder more deeply about vendor-channel partner relationships and what makes them successful.

As part of the CRN 2024 Channel Chiefs project, we asked the more than 560 channel executives that made the list to describe their personal channel philosophy. Here’s what 20 had to say.


Alex Ruslyakov

Chief Channel Officer

My philosophy is not only to support our partners, but also to become an extended business development unit for them, leveraging our leading position in the market and the extensive knowledge we've collected over the years in selling software solutions and services. The mission is to share the market knowledge, make joint business planning, facilitate proactive marketing and sales activities, help project [management for] joint initiatives, invest in growth, bring continued innovations and constantly educate.


Mark Taylor

North America Channel Chief

Focus and start with idea of success for the channel partner in mind, then build your program from there. I always find this delivers value to the end client and back to my own firm by doing so. It clarifies the topics of enablement, scale, profitability, services and winning together.

D&H Distributing

Anthony Graziano

Senior VP of Marketing

Be humble, build up your relationship capital, be assertively kind and an irresistible partner.

Dell Technologies

Diego Majdalani

President, Global Channel Sales

I love working with our channel partners across the world. I believe we are better together with our partner ecosystem in delivering digital transformation, critical solutions and business outcomes for our customers. Innovation is fueled by technology and power of partner ecosystems working together. Our partners help us innovate, localize and deliver outcomes to customers everywhere, helping them to move their business forward. I am a passionate partner advocate and am dedicated to growing our businesses together.

HP Inc.

Nick Tidd

VP, Room Solutions and Business Partner Program

Never settle for the status quo and always keep improving the partner experience. Listen to your partners and incentivize them to succeed by offering opportunities they can't get anywhere else.

Hitachi Vantara

Kimberley King

Senior VP, Strategic Partners & Alliances

With the tech landscape increasingly complex, partners are absolutely critical to our business. No one company can do it all. Therefore, to ensure that our partners can be successful, it is our responsiblity to provide critical data to them: on the market, our opportunities, our customers, etc. Not only does this making doing business with us easier, but it supports and accelerates their ability to transform and grow. Our job is to ensure they have what they need.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Phil Soper

VP, Partner Ecosystem – North America

My personal channel philosophy, which is also HPE's philosophy, is 'Partner first.' 'Partner first' is how we conduct [North America] channel business and it is ingrained in our team. I view our partner community as an extension of our own sales force. This means always putting ourselves in the position of the partner and seeing everything we do from their perspective. Our powerful partner ecosystem is the driving force behind HPE's edge-to-cloud strategy.


Brian Lanigan

VP, Worldwide Channels and Alliances

My personal philosophy is to leverage a data-driven methodology to identify partners whose practices best align to the value we can deliver to our joint prospects and customers. We invest in the partners that invest with us, which in turn builds a high-efficacy pipeline for each of our organizations and a profitable business for their Lacework partnership.


Steve Loeb

VP, Distributed Infrastructure Sales

Success in the channel is about education above all. The IT landscape is complex and changing rapidly, leaving many partners wondering about the best ways to create more value for their end customers. The brands who do the best job of educating their partners about the value they can bring – meaning, how their solutions deliver value for the end customer – are the ones who will be best positioned to succeed in the long-term.


Rob Cato

VP, North America Channel

Most importantly, I believe it's critical to constantly improve our products, programs and processes to deliver a superior partner experience. Listening to partner feedback allows the organization to best serve our partners and their customers, creating long-lasting relationships. It's also important to take a simple and consistent approach in how we work with and engage with our partners. We must remain nimble and agile while still delivering a high level of engagement.


Jenni Flinders

Senior VP, Worldwide Partner Group

My personal channel philosophy is that as the channel evolves so will partner programs. It is important to make the partner program a transparent process that helps us align with our partners and add value to their organizations. I strive to empower our partners to be leaders and help them easily engage with our customers by providing them with the tools and learning opportunities that will help them thrive selling our products and solutions.

Palo Alto Networks

Tom Evans

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales

Ecosystem partners are integral to our success and are critical in bolstering our customers' overall security posture. Because of the immense value partners provide, my philosophy revolves around fostering collaborative, value-driven partnerships that transcend a purely transactional mindset. It is about building ecosystems where we jointly navigate challenges, innovate together, and collectively thrive in a rapidly evolving global marketplace where the success of our channel partners directly influences our collective achievements. It also involves investing in their growth through tailored programs and providing strategic guidance and ongoing support. In doing so, we strengthen our most competitive advantage: our partners.


Rob Rae

Corporate VP, Community and Ecosystems

MSPs are the heart of everything SMB technology. As vendors our responsibilities should be to build programs, campaigns, roadmaps, etcetera, with the MSP in mind.


Joe Sykora

Senior VP, Global Channels

My channel philosophy is keeping it simple for our partners and allowing them to build practices (margin) with our solutions. I believe in treating partners fair in every situation, providing protection, and rewarding them for their contributions in the sales process. If something does not go as planned, we will have a discussion and provide an outcome that is fair for all parties.

Red Hat

Stefanie Chiras

Senior VP, Partner Ecosystem Success

For me, the ecosystem is a community of innovators, much like the open source communities Red Hat is deeply engaged in. The end goal of the community, as a collective, is to drive new capability and deliver value to customers. The end goal of each member is to maximize their impact to that goal and to thrive. This is not about Red Hat being at the center. Our partners and customers, alongside us, are the essence of the ecosystem. Success depends on multiple partners working together to meet the unique needs of customers, by co-creating together and by closing deals.


Erica Volini

Senior VP, Global Partnerships

Partnership is more than a transaction. It is an equitable value exchange that drives business forward. To me, partnership needs to be an intimate experience. One where there are no walls between the parties, where transparency underlies every interaction, and where trust is the foundation. Intimacy is the standard to which we aspire [for] all of our partners to feel when they work with ServiceNow. Whether engaging through our portal, interacting with our partner managers, or engaging with our field, there should be a sense that we are in it together for the benefit of our most important stakeholder: our customer.


Tyler Prince

Senior VP, Worldwide Alliances and Channels

Secure support from the executive leadership team and ensure you have the right talent that can cut across sales, product, marketing, professional services, etc. Build a strategy that allows you to focus both on customer success and growth, harnessing the power that comes from connecting your ecosystem. Don't overcomplicate it – simplify measurement and success metrics for the ecosystem to allow for innovation.

Veeam Software

Kevin Rooney

VP, Americas Channel Sales

It's important that channel programs that organizations put out to their partners are consistent and reliable. It should be clear to your channel community that you bring a passion and understanding to your partnership that you are working together because you've chosen to do so. What's more, it's extremely valuable to communicate to partners that we're one team and we want to help their business grow, just as much as our own, to be more successful and profitable.

WatchGuard Technologies

Michelle Welch

CMO and Senior VP of Business Strategy

Channel partners are not a route to market, they are our market. It is our responsibility to deliver products, people, and tools to enable them to thrive. Every dollar we spend, every service we deliver, and every WatchGuardian we hire is dedicated to empowering the channel to bring enterprise-grade security to the masses.


Karl Soderlund

Senior VP, Worldwide Partner and Alliances Sales

I am a firm believer that the channel is more important than ever. In today's highly competitive market, the success of a company is heavily reliant on the strength of its partnerships. I believe that partners play a critical role in the customer lifecycle, and it is our responsibility to empower them with the tools and resources they need to succeed. Ultimately, a company's success is directly tied to how successful it makes its partners, and I am committed to fostering strong, mutually beneficial relationships with our partners at Zscaler.