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Sandy Carter Leaving AWS’ Public Sector Partner Program For Outside Startup Role

Under Carter’s leadership, the program grew 45 percent to 2,100-plus partners from 2020 to 2021.

Sandy Carter is leaving Amazon Web Services for a new role at an unnamed startup after serving more than two years as vice president of the cloud provider’s worldwide public sector partner program.

The dynamic Carter, an advocate for diversity and women in technology, helped grow AWS’ public sector partner business to more than 2,100 partners, with 45 percent growth from 2020 to 2021 alone. Jeffrey Kratz, who has been general manager and regional head of AWS’ public sector partner sales in Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean, will step into Carter’s role as a general manager.

Public sector partners, by far, drive the majority of AWS’ public sector revenue, Carter told CRN in an October interview at AWS headquarters in Seattle. And public sector organizations are much more dependent on partner plays than commercial enterprises, she said.

“Over 70 percent of our (public sector) business goes through a partner in one way or another in public sector,” Carter said. “A lot of times (public sector organizations) don’t have builders on their team, so they need to hire builders. The partner and the partner strategy are much more important in that avenue than a lot of commercially owned companies.”

Carter is credited with introducing a number of new AWS public sector partner initiatives. They include a joint global COVID-19 partner campaign, new competencies such as the independent software vendor version of AWS’ Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency, and Think Big for Small Business, a program for small, medium-sized and minority-owned public sector partners. Carter expanded AWS’ Partner Transformation Program to more than 248 public sector partners globally and created the AI/Machine Learning kick-starter initiative to help public sector partners with artificial intelligence/machine learning projects.

She also expanded the Authority to Operate (ATO) on AWS program to help partners meet security and compliance authorizations beyond FedRAMP, the U.S. government’s Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program.

Last year, with the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, Carter took a virtual trip around the world to talk to public sector partners. Since she couldn’t get on an airplane, she talked to 100 partners globally in 100 days.

“It was probably one of the most powerful things that I’ve done, because I talked to so many more partners in such a short period of time,” Carter told CRN last November. “I really developed a strong sense of what it would take to help our partners differentiate themselves, add more value and really deepen their specialization.”

A former IBMer, Carter joined AWS in April of 2017, Prior to her public partner program role, she was vice president of AWS’ Windows and enterprise workloads team that focused on migration and modernization through containers and serverless.

“She led the team to overall growth, with AWS now hosting nearly two times as many Windows Server instances in the cloud as Microsoft,” her official AWS biography states, referring to a stat from market intelligence firm IDC.

Girls In Tech

Carter also works to get more women involved in the tech industry. She is chairperson of Girls In Tech, which is dedicated to eliminating the tech gender gap. The San Francisco-based nonprofit organization gears its work to women in college and three to four jobs out of college.

More than 125,000 women participated in Girls In Tech’s “Hacking for Humanity” initiative last year, and the group has trained more than 90,000 women globally on coding through boot camps and workshops.

At AWS’ Public Sector Partners Forum in September in Washington, D.C., Carter announced AWS was partnering with Girls In Tech to launch the Next Generation of Public Sector and Service Leaders initiative to provide education and raise awareness of career opportunities in the public sector technology arena. Under the program, AWS public sector partners can mentor potential next-gen tech leaders.

“I always want more diversity — I think any woman or minority always wants more diversity,” Carter told CRN at the time. “Amazon is extremely supportive of diverse talent, and I would say…we all can raise the bar even more. The whole industry needs to improve. This is what I believe, and this is what I fight for all the time.”

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