Adtran Channel Executive Heading To Digium

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Conway, who was recognized by ChannelWeb as one of last year's 50 Most Powerful Women of the Channel, will join Digium, also based in Huntsville, at the end of the month as vice president of marketing, said Digium CEO Danny Windham.

"Leslie is one of the most talented industry executives who is currently working in this space," Windham said.

Conway has served as Adtran's vice president of global marketing for nearly seven years as part of her roughly 17-year career in the channel. With Adtran, she was credited with rolling out a new global channel program in 2007; launching a telesales effort to bolster support for SMB resellers; and implementing an opportunity-registration and management system, along with an automated lead-distribution system. She was also instrumental in expanding certification training programs for Adtran partners. Adtran representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

According to Windham, Digium hopes to tap Conway's marketing and channel experience and expertise to get Digium products into the hands of resellers. Currently, Digium has roughly 300 resellers, many of which joined the ranks in the past six months or so.

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Conway is the latest Adtran veteran to join the Digium team. In January 2007, Windham, who was then president, COO and director of Adtran, joined Digium as CEO, and Steve Harvey, Adtran's former vice president of enterprise networks and competitive service provider sales, was named Digium's vice president of worldwide sales.

Harvey and Windham signed on to drive Digium's channel strategy and business development as part of a plan to build a multitiered channel, much like they did at Adtran. When the pair joined Adtran, the company had a primarily direct-sales model and the duo moved that to a 95 percent channel sales model.

Adtran and Digium have strong ties and a reportedly friendly relationship, in addition to being neighbors in Huntsville. Adtran initially invested in Digium and holds an equity interest, and Digium founder, CTO and board chairman Mark Spencer once worked as a co-op student at Adtran.

Windham said Wednesday that Conway is the missing piece of Digium's channel puzzle. Since Digium acquired IP PBX maker Switchvox nine months ago, Digium has been focused on bringing the Switchvox products, which run Asterisk software, to market. Windham said the best way to infiltrate the marketplace is through the channel. To better facilitate the channel model, Windham said Digium's and Switchvox's channel programs have merged.

In her new role, Conway will be responsible for the traditional promotional side of marketing and will be tapped to build out and grow the Digium/Switchvox channel, including VAR recruitment, enablement and education. Conway will also be responsible for spreading Digium's wings internationally, where traction has been slow.

Digium has rapidly ramped up its number of channel partners since late last year, and Windham said Conway will be instrumental in continuing that strategic growth.

"It's still early, and Leslie's opportunities to contribute to the success of that are high," he said.

And while growing the channel is goal No. 1, Windham noted that Digium is not just looking to add massive numbers of partners, but to instead blanket the world with strategic partners. The goal is quality, not quantity, he said.

"Our goals are a lot more about effective coverage than they are about numbers," he said. "We are going to be very deliberate and set a goal for coverage and protect the interest of our resellers."

For her part, Conway will be charged with identifying appropriate reseller candidates and recruiting them.

"The underlying motivation is we feel we have a wonderful product in the Switchvox IP PBX that product has an opportunity in the market and that opportunity is through indirect sales," Windham said. "[Conway] is an excellent fit for what we need."