Fortinet Hires Channel Marketing Veteran Tierney

Fortinet has hired Luanne Tierney, a channel marketing veteran, to spearhead its corporate communications strategy.

Tierney, formerly the vice president of global partner marketing at Juniper, left the networking vendor in April to co-author a book on best practices and strategies for young women entering the workforce. She told CRN that her role at Fortinet also will include involvement with digital and social media strategy. Tierney begins at Fortinet on Monday.

"Fortinet is a high-growth company with great products and, for me, this is a great opportunity to parlay my experience in a new role," Tierney said. "When you work for a smaller company, you have an opportunity to own more things and see the impact of your work even more."

[Related: Juniper's Tierney Speaks Out On Her Successor, Next Move]

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Tierney is seen as a strong advocate for the channel who led social media efforts and adoption of modern marketing tools to help resellers reach customers. She said marketing has become much more challenging for solution providers because client expectations are higher and need nurturing throughout the buying cycle.

"Marketing is getting as complicated as the technology nowadays," Tierney said. "You have to tap into all the different vehicles and platforms, because customers want engagement and a deeper relationship."

Channel partners said the addition of Tierney is a good one for Fortinet.

"Anything she does is really top-grade," said Jeffrey Hewson, a national sales director in the data networking group at Carousel Industries of North America, a Fortinet partner. "Fortinet is known as a great engineering company and now it can be great at engineering and marketing, so the sky is the limit."

Tierney, who is on CRN's annual Power 100 list of the most influential women executives in the channel, said she is still mulling over a title for her new book, which will provide advice to women in their 20s entering the corporate workforce for the first time. The goal is to empower young female college graduates with ways to get established as they work their way into leadership positions.

"It's all advice that I wish someone would have told me after I graduated," said Tierney, a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

Fortinet has been investing in channel training and support as it faces competition from Dell-SonicWall, Sophos and WatchGuard in the midmarket, and Palo Alto Networks, Check Point, Juniper and Cisco Systems in sales to larger enterprises.

Joe Sykora, Fortinet's vice president Americas sales operations and national channels, told CRN in May that the company saw a double-digit increase in partners over the last year. Sykora said Fortinet is investing in its training program and recently introduced a network security expert certification to bolster the partner knowledgebase and improve customer engagements.