2021 Channel Chiefs: The 50 Most Influential

In celebration of CRN’s 2021 Channel Chiefs, here are 50 leaders who drive the channel agenda and evangelize the importance of channel partnerships.

The Most Influential

Our 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs of 2021 are an elite group drawn from the larger pool of Channel Chief honorees each year that represent the cream of the IT channel crop—leaders who drive the channel agenda and evangelize the importance of channel partnerships.

All Channel Chief honorees are selected by CRN’s editorial staff on the basis of their professional achievements, standing in the industry, dedication to the channel partner community and strategies for driving channel growth and innovation.

The complete 2021 CRN Channel Chiefs list is available online on CRN.com and featured in the February 2021 issue of CRN Magazine.

ADT Cybersecurity

Jon Kabrud

Channel Director

During his first six months leading ADT‘s MSP channel, Kabrud launched a three-tier partner program with benefits, established field engagement and partner support processes, significantly ramped up partner recruitment efforts, built a Partner Advisory Council, implemented a CRM system, updated ADT Cybersecurity’s website and portal, restructured his team and launched several marketing campaigns.

Since June, ADT Cybersecurity has recruited and on-boarded 33 new partners, of which seven are transacting with consistent and increasing recurring monthly revenue. Since Kabrud‘s arrival, average revenue per partner has grown approximately 55 percent across the board.

Amazon Web Services

Doug Yeum

Head of Global Partner Organization

Spurred by the pandemic, AWS saw traditional systems integrators, MSPs, VARs and distributors in 2020 move to transform their businesses and become cloud-first. Yeum has focused on enabling the AWS Partner Organization through a new operating model to move faster in delivering globally consistent partner recruitment, enablement and management processes, and optimized co-sell support for partners by integrating the Partner Success teams into the AWS Field Sales teams.

Yeum and his team also have accelerated the time to value for AWS ISV and consulting partners by simplifying the overall partner experience and providing immediate access to tailored programs and benefits that align with their business objectives. AWS expanded the AWS Competency Program, which is designed to identify, validate and promote AWS partners with demonstrated AWS technical expertise and proven customer success in an industry, use case or workload. And ISV partners have benefited from the expanded ISV Accelerate Program.

APC by Schneider Electric

Shannon Sbar

VP, Channels

Sbar’s priority in 2020 was ensuring that APC by Schneider Electric’s partners were safe and profitable. She took steps to overhaul the company’s discount program, making adjustments to ensure partners were receiving the discounts they needed so they and their customers were getting the best solutions within their budgets.

Two significant projects Sbar oversaw included improving the company’s Opportunity Registration Program, increasing discounts and expanding the eligible product categories for partners, and creating the new Monitoring & Dispatch services. The latter allows partners to offer their customers monitoring and/or dispatch services on UPS solutions from the vendor’s field services organization.

Partners in 2020 stepped up their adoption of APC by Schneider Electric’s software and digital services offerings.

Area 1 Security

Steve Pataky

Chief Revenue Officer

Channel veteran Steve Pataky has served in channel management roles in a number of IT security companies including SonicWall, FireEye and Juniper Networks. In August Pataky joined email security tech vendor Area 1 Security with marching orders to build channel and managed service provider partner programs —including sales and enablement—through which Area 1 will sell its products.

As the company’s new CRO and Channel Chief, Pataky made a great deal of progress in transforming what was primarily a direct go-to-market strategy into a 100 percent channel-led business. The company launched new solution provider partner and MSP partner programs and rolled out a partner recruitment campaign, signing up a number of significant partners. He also launched a self-paced sales and technical enablement program for partners and established a Threat Assessment Report for partners to add to their standard assessment offerings.

Partners accounted for 80 percent of revenue in the second half of 2020. The company plans to add an additional 50 security solution providers in 2021, as well as two Master MSSPs to the program.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company

Donna Grothjan

VP, Worldwide Channels

Grothjan has led Aruba‘s efforts to transform the company’s partner base to enable the delivery of XaaS/NaaS offerings. That has meant transforming all aspects of the partner operating model, from partner go-to-market strategy to partner enablement and sales capabilities.

In 2020, under Grothjan’s leadership, Aruba introduced the new Partner Ready for Aruba MSP program and has continued to make enhancements to that program in the new year to address partners‘ changing needs. Aruba, for example, introduced the ability for MSPs to purchase hardware and software as a subscription so they are not tied to a lease, allowing them to free up capital for other critical investments. The company also drafted comprehensive partner training programs and sales enablement materials to help ensure that partners can bring the latest innovations to their customers.

Grothjan has seen “a definitive shift in the channel landscape” in the past year with partners providing more managed and “as-a-service” offerings. She said partners using multiple business models appear to be the norm today, as opposed to relying on a single go-to-market model, and they are evolving away from the traditional resale model.


Charlie Tomeo

Chief Revenue Officer

In 2020 Tomeo led the way as Axcient delivered a new partner portal, invested in the company’s partner program and launched Direct to Cloud (D2C)—a new system that joins appliance-based BDR (backup and data recovery) and image-based endpoint backup components in Axcient‘s x360Recover platform.

Axcient also debuted AirGap to enable partners to protect their customers‘ data from ransomware. AirGap, which the company calls the most comprehensive ransomware security solution in the market, enables MSPs to serve multiple customers’ needs through a single integrated platform. The technology also offers a more streamlined, lower TCO solution for business continuity and backup as work-from-anywhere became the new normal.

Axcient continues to grow its partner community in North America and existing partners are doing more business with the company. Axcient is also focused on growing its business in EMEA, recently announcing a new managing director in EMEA to focus on hypergrowth.

Check Point Software Technologies

Frank Rauch

Worldwide Head of Channel Sales

Rauch joined Check Point as its channel chief at the start of 2019. In 2020 Rauch led the design and launch of the Partner Growth Program, which the company said provides dramatic enhancements in predictability, profitability and clarity for partners. The program includes enhanced partner levels, new incentives, teaming agreements, service offerings, operational improvements and more.

Rauch also oversaw the launch of the Professional Services Certification Program (PSCP), which enables partners to deliver professional services globally in the critical areas of network and cloud security. This program expands the margin envelope and creates greater customer value for partners.

Check Point’s partner base expanded in 2020 due to a number of factors including increased partner adoption of the company’s CloudGuard and IoT Protect solutions and mobile security offerings.

Cisco Systems

Oliver Tuszik

SVP, Global Partner Organization

Tuszik spearheaded a number of initiatives in 2020 to improve partner profitability and the ease of doing business with Cisco. He also orchestrated tighter regional alignment for greater consistency, scale and impact for partners; sponsored partner growth initiatives around customer success and as-a-service/managed services; and mobilized Cisco’s partner organization to support partner needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under Tuszik’s management, the company created a new Cisco Partner Program that combined 12 existing partner programs into a single, cohesive framework structured around the roles partners play with their customers (integrator, provider, developer and adviser). The company also launched the Partner Experience Platform, a digital partner platform that provides a single gateway to everything partners need to co-innovate and co-sell with Cisco and improves partners’ ability to collaborate across a connected ecosystem.

In the past year the number of Cisco partners selling SaaS solutions grew 40 percent, their life-cycle practices grew 51 percent, and software enterprise agreement sales jumped 91 percent.

Citrix Systems

Bronwyn Hastings

SVP, Worldwide Channel Sales, Ecosystems

Hastings says channel transformation and expansion is central to Citrix’s success. The company has expanded its partner ecosystem to include cloud innovation partners, global systems integrators and ISVs, allowing the company to build on its existing strengths in the channel and accelerate customer cloud adoption and deployment of digital workspaces.

Citrix established a strategic ISV alliance with Microsoft around the Citrix Workspace product in 2020 and offered Citrix Workspace on Google Cloud— relationships that expand partner revenue opportunities.

The company also created opportunities for new and existing partners by being creative with subscription-based revenue models to deliver digital workspace experiences.

Comcast Business

Craig Schlagbaum

SVP, Channel Chief

Under Schlagbaum’s guidance, Comcast has grown its partner base by double-digit numbers in the last year, especially in recruiting partners that sell upmarket and services around fiber networks.

When the pandemic hit, Schlagbaum quickly shifted his team of 150 to an all-remote workforce while continuing to provide support to Comcast’s partners and customers. At the same time, the company made strides in increasing the number of opportunities for partners to team with the direct sales force to close more business.

Comcast has continued to enhance its partner program with more dedicated resources and financial investments that recognize strategic growth at the higher tiers. And inside partner sales managers were realigned to work directly with field-based partner sales managers for a more coordinated and streamlined support structure for partners.


Matthew Polly

VP, Worldwide Alliances, Channels, Business Development

Polly has led CrowdStrike through a multidimensional growth plan to expand how the company engages with channel partners, MSSPs, global systems integrators, technology alliance partners and cloud service providers. Indirect revenue now accounts for 92 percent of CrowdStrike’s revenue.

In 2020 CrowdStrike undertook a number of program innovations and operational improvements to its partner program to help partners sell, implement, integrate and deliver the company’s managed security services. The company continued to invest in partner enablement, training and demand generation to help partners identify high-quality leads and boost transaction counts for partners by nearly 40 percent.

Investing in MSSP support and in integration support with complementary technology alliances were also priorities.


Rob Rae

SVP, Business Development

Datto was in the spotlight in 2020 when the data storage and backup system developer went public in October under the ticker symbol “MSP.”

Keeping in touch with solution provider partners was Rae’s top goal in 2020: Throughout the year he did no fewer than 40 keynotes—both in person and virtual—and Rae and his team worked to coordinate partner engagement through hundreds of partner events.

Datto held an MSP Tech Day, a quarterly cross-department event to update the channel on MSP technology developments. And the company continued to conduct its MSP State of the Market survey that generates data used for Datto’s keynotes and marketing content.

Dell Technologies

Rola Dagher

Global Channel Chief

Dagher was named Dell Technologies’ channel chief in August. She joined the company after serving as president of Cisco Systems’ operations in Canada for three years. Before that she worked at Dell in various sales and management roles within Dell’s enterprise segment and Infrastructure Solutions Group.

Dagher rejoined Dell as the company undertook a significant restructuring of its sales and channel operations. The reorganization will allow the regional sales and channel organizations to operate as a single, more tightly aligned, sales team.

She has also overseen the rollout of enhancements to the company’s go-to-market partner model, the expansion of the company’s Partner Preferred program, and execution of a new channel and pricing strategy around Dell’s PowerStore midrange storage offering.

In the first half of Dell’s fiscal 2021, the channel globally drove 63 percent of the company’s new and reactivated buyers.

Dell Technologies

Cheryl Cook

SVP, Global Partner Marketing

Cook spearheaded Dell Technologies’ efforts to assist the company’s legions of channel partners as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and the economy sputtered. She helped partners maximize benefits via digital channels—including collaborating with Dell’s CMO and marketing executives—and pivoting the channel organization to create and provide digital enablement resources for partners.

Cook and her team, for example, launched the Digital First Initiative, a global, cross-functional project to develop training, enablement, best practices and more to assist partners in their digital marketing and virtual selling efforts. She also oversaw the creation of Digital Marketing Forums where the company provided best practices for virtual marketing and sales.

Cook’s organization also supported nine product launches in nine weeks, including PowerStore and PowerScale product debuts, with partner campaigns, marketing assets and other resources. The company reported increased partner adoption of a broader set of Dell’s product portfolio.


Curtiz Gangi

Sales VP, Midmarket, U.S. Channels, Data Center

Gangi says that learning from partners, prioritizing their challenges and adding value was his focus in 2020. He oversaw the creation of new programs and messaging for partners—including initiatives to help partners manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—and updating sales processes.

Gangi has overseen an 11 percent increase in the number of partners joining Eaton’s partner program and a 65 percent increase in the number of partners moving to the program’s top tier. Other initiatives included tying partner certifications to recurring revenue offerings and spurring partners to focus on edge growth opportunities.


Jon Bove

VP, Channel Sales

In 2020 Bove led the launch of Fortinet’s new Engage Partner Program, which the channel chief said resets how partners work with Fortinet and allows partners to choose the business model that best fits their organization and the specializations that best align with their go-to-market strategy.

The Engage Partner Program included new specializations in key customer buying areas and an improved FortiRewards program. Bove also managed the redevelopment of the program’s partner portal into solution hubs and the launch of Marketing-as-a-Service programs for managed partners.

Bove also has overseen growth in the company’s base of MSP and MSSP partners who work with the company’s Fortinet Security Fabric.

Google Cloud

Carolee Gearhart

Global Channel Chief, VP, Global SMB Sales

Gearhart and Google’s channel organization pivoted quickly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, transitioning partner marketing plans and infrastructure to an all-virtual approach. Those efforts included a fully virtual Next conference and providing Google Meet for free.

Under Gearhart’s direction, Google established incentive models for internal teams to ensure they are successful only if partners are. The company launched local market MSP initiatives that brought certified MSP partners to emerging countries. And partners are now aligned with Google’s event, campaign, solution and product teams.

In 2020 Google saw a 13X year-over-year increase in new customers won by partners and an 85 percent year-over-year increase in partner-sourced deals.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

George Hope

Worldwide Head of Partner Sales

Hope, a 22-year channel veteran, was named the interim global channel chief at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in August when previous channel chief Paul Hunter was named to manage HPE’s North American operations. In October Hope was officially appointed to the channel chief post.

In his previous role as vice president of worldwide distribution at HPE, Hope established extended payment terms for distributors when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, benefiting 97 percent of HPE’s partners and customers worldwide.

Hope has overseen the continued rollout of HPE Greenlake Swift, making it possible for partners to offer HPE Greenlake to SMB customers. In 2020 HPE increased its stable of global partners to 100,000 from 80,000.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Leslie Maher

VP, North America Partners, Inside Sales, SMB

Staying connected with partners in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic was a key concern for Maher in 2020, who hosted roundtables with partners to ensure HPE stayed in touch with their needs, particularly during the critical early months of uncertainty. Support for the partner community during the pandemic also included suspension of revenue thresholds/status preservation into fiscal 2021 and MDF flexibility.

Maher has overseen the development of enablement and co-selling initiatives to help partners transform to hybrid cloud and consumption-based business models: The company achieved 70 percent-plus HPE GreenLake growth through the channel in fiscal 2020. And the company’s channel operations were expanded with a new dedicated channel development team that partnered with distributors.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Jesse Chavez

VP, Worldwide Partner Programs, Operations

Chavez drove the development of a number of tools to improve the partner experience, including no-touch/low-touch pricing tools that automate SMB pricing and the Genie AI-powered system that speeds deal registration.

Chavez and his team also created a wide range of digital and virtual enablement opportunities available to partners through the HPE Partner Ready Program, allowing them to continue sales momentum remotely. He also oversaw a number of virtual events during the year including the Partner Advisory Board, the Partner Growth Summit and the Distribution Partner Conference.

Hitachi Vantara

Kimberly King

VP, Strategic Partners, Alliances

King has put a priority on choice and flexibility with Hitachi Vantara’s partner engagements to make it easier for partners to do business with the company. She and her team, for example, have provided additional investment funds and incentives, accelerated deal pricing guidance and automated deal approval processes to speed up quote-to-close for partners’ customer deals.

Under King existing partners have expanded their engagements with Hitachi Vantara to include new solutions, new competencies, new markets and new business models. At the same time new partners have brought differentiated skills, capabilities, solutions and services to the company’s product offerings.

HP Inc.

Scott Lannum

VP, GM, Americas Commercial Channel Sales

Lannum, a 12-year HP executive, was named the company’s channel chief in late 2019 and in 2020 he and his team worked to expand HP’s channel footprint while working to help partners deal with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lannum helped manage the launches of the HP Amplify and HP Business Boost initiatives. Amplify, HP’s new partner engagement program, takes the best from the earlier Partner First Program and adds a revamped compensation structure, a bigger focus on services, collaboration around data and a strong digital presence. Business Boost is a new channel-led subscription offering that bundles devices (including personal systems and printers), supplies and support that help partners offer customers predictable performance and cost management.

HP Inc.

Luciana Broggi

Head of Global Routes To Market

Broggi started off 2020 having just implemented a new go-to-market structure for the company’s global channel organization in late 2019. She quickly found herself helping partners manage a surge in demand for PCs and print services caused by pandemic-induced work from home requirements.

To deal with the changed circumstances, Broggi worked with commercial and retail partners globally, providing a range of market- and country-specific incentives for partners and expanding virtual engagement options such as free access to cybersecurity support and on-demand training.

In July Broggi led the launch of Amplify, HP’s new global partner program that is designed to drive dynamic partner growth and deliver consistent end customer experiences. Built on a single, integrated structure, the Amplify program provides the capabilities and collaboration tools needed to drive growth as digital transformation and customer purchasing behaviors continue to evolve.


Bob Lord

SVP, Worldwide Ecosystems, Blockchain

Coming off IBM’s 2019 Red Hat acquisition, Lord has guided IBM’s channel team and expanded its partner ecosystem around the company’s focus on hybrid cloud computing and the Red Hat OpenShift platform. A key achievement was the launch of the Red Hat Marketplace that sells OpenShift-certified software from ISV and service provider partners.

Lord also oversaw the introduction of industry-specific cloud programs, including IBM Cloud for Financial Services and IBM Cloud for Telecommunications, to help partners grow their cloud computing businesses.

As its business evolves, IBM continues to expand its partner ecosystem by recruiting more global systems integrators and ISVs, in addition to traditional VARs and VADs, and recruit partners with industry-specific expertise and solutions.


Jason Kimrey

GM, U.S. Channel, Partner Programs

Kimrey worked with partners in 2020 to help them navigate supply constraints and unprecedented demand, emphasizing transparency in the supply chain and flexibility to meet customer requirements.

The channel chief emphasizes collaboration in helping partners take advantage of opportunities in cloud, the Internet of Things, AI and other industry growth segments. Intel partners have especially embraced the opportunities around “XaaS” computing.

Through 2020 Kimrey was focused on development of the Intel Partner Alliance, the new unified partner program that launched in January 2021. The Intel Partner Alliance merges the chipmaker’s existing Intel Technology Provider, Intel Cloud Insider and Intel IoT Solutions Alliance programs with the goal of simplifying access to partner resources and making it easier for different types of partners to collaborate.


Todd Garrigues

Director, Partner Sales Programs

A key area of focus for Garrigues in 2020 was driving increased transparency for partners through the use of video, webinars and virtual event engagements—many dealing with such timely topics as pandemic impact and support, CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act implications, and Intel product supply.

Under Garrigues, Intel also stepped up its collaboration with OEM and MSP partners, engaging with more than 25,000 partners across the ecosystem. He also expanded Intel Partner University with more training and competency opportunities for partners.


Jonathan McCormick


With 2020 being such a difficult year, McCormick emphasized compassion and empathy for his team—which in turn demonstrated passion, resilience and care in working with Intermedia’s channel partners.

Under McCormick’s leadership, Intermedia provided higher levels of sales, marketing and service support to partners during the year when demand exploded for collaboration tools for remote workers.

Intermedia’s partner base selling Unified Communications as a Service grew about 150 percent year over year, driving 70 percent UCaaS net sales growth in 2020.


Matthew Courchesne

Head of B2B Channel, North America

As Kaspersky has broadened its product portfolio to include threat intelligence, Courchesne has managed an expansion of the company’s partner community to include new partners who provide threat intelligence expertise and other services.

Courchesne was instrumental in establishing a distributor relationship with Synnex, Kaspersky’s third channel distributor, to extend Kaspersky’s reach to more partners in North America.

Other accomplishments in 2020 included keeping partners engaged during the pandemic through a number of virtual events, completing the launch of Kaspersky’s MSP licensing management portal, spearheading the channel debut of Kaspersky’s new Endpoint Detection and Response Optimum product, and recording double-digit growth within the enterprise segment of the North American channel.


Rob Cato

VP, North America Channel, Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group

Cato has focused on transforming how Lenovo engages with and supports its channel ecosystem including improving the company’s coverage model, establishing partner communities, and investing in partner co-marketing and communications.

At the start of the pandemic and the resulting economic disruption, Lenovo introduced a Partner Stimulus Package designed to remove financial unpredictability and provide partners with solutions that aligned with rapidly changing customer IT budgets.

A key accomplishment for Cato and his team in 2020 was the launch of the new Lenovo Partner Hub portal, a one-stop shop where partners can get everything they need. The company also improved its pricing tools with the new Lenovo Bid Portal.


Steve Biondi

North America Channel Chief, Lenovo Data Center Group

Biondi was instrumental in the effort to rebuild and deploy Lenovo’s new partner program and to restructure support coverage to provide partners with premium support regardless of their tier status. He also helped manage the launch of the new Lenovo Partner Hub portal.

Biondi’s organization acquired more than 100 competitive channel partners—first-time sellers of Lenovo Data Center solutions—in 2020 and his group’s Platinum partner base has grown by more than 80 percent since April. Partners generated more revenue and higher profits in the first three quarters of 2020 than in all of 2019, across all segments (global, corporate and SMB).


Gavriella Schuster

Corporate VP

Facing unprecedented disruption with the COVID-19 pandemic, Schuster focused on listening to partners, understanding their challenges and gaining critical feedback. That drove adaptations to Microsoft’s partner programs in 2020, providing partners with needed flexibility to meet customers’ needs.

Schuster also has overseen the addition of a number of advanced specializations that help partners differentiate themselves in the market, including specializations for threat protection, identity and access management, adoption and change management, and Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft’s programs and incentives have helped partners grow their sales and services revenue to $9.84 for every $1 of Microsoft product, up from $5.87 in 2016. The company’s co-sell program has generated $15.6 billion in annual contracted partner revenue. Average revenue per Cloud Solution Provider (90,000 partners) is growing more than 40 percent annually. And more than 13,000 organizations earned a Microsoft Gold competency in 2020.


Chris Lamborn

Head of Global Partner Go To Market, Programs

Lamborn and his team rapidly deployed a business continuity program at the start of the pandemic to help mitigate the business and financial impact on partners globally. That included extending payment terms to partners and launching an education program to help partners transition to virtual sales and marketing and better utilize social media

NetApp’s channel leadership worked with partners to meet the surging demand for hybrid cloud solutions and built new risk prediction capabilities into the Active IQ system to help partners identify when customer systems were reaching performance or capacity limits.

Lamborn also oversaw efforts to simplify many of NetApp’s incentive programs and fully integrate the company’s cloud partners into the Unified Partner Program.


Eric Martorano

Chief Revenue Officer

Channel veteran Martorano has been focused on expanding Nextiva’s channel operations, adding a channel development team to double down on new partner acquisitions and an enterprise solution team focused on driving growth in the midmarket and enterprise segments.

Nextiva’s partner ecosystem has expanded significantly and Martorano has made sure the NeXus partner program has the resources to maintain its growth. The company, for example, recently added new pre- and post-sale resources available to partners through the NeXus partner program. The company also has deepened its relationships with national master agents and established master partner director roles within the company to manage those critical partnerships.

Nextiva has set a goal of increasing average revenue per partner by at least 25 percent.


Christian Alvarez

SVP, Worldwide Channels

Alvarez spearheaded the launch of the new Elevate global partner program in 2020, designed to bring the Nutanix partner ecosystem under one, integrated program that will boost partner profitability and assist partners with their transformation to become multi-product, multi-cloud businesses.

In response to the pandemic, Alvarez helped lead the rollout of tools and services to help partners deploy technologies faster and led the development of the Nutanix Special Financial Assistance Program that offered extended payment terms for partners, increasing financial flexibility and alleviating cash flow concerns.


Craig J. Weinstein

VP, Americas Partner Organization

Weinstein has led Nvidia’s “vision, strategy and execution” model that helps partners build practices around artificial intelligence and accelerated computing. He and his team created a partner enablement strategy that helps solution providers understand, engage with and take to market Nvidia’s AI and accelerated computing platform and software.

Those moves have helped partners develop AI consulting practices and capture new market opportunities by positioning them to help their customers across multiple industries transition to next-generation data center architectures.

While Nvidia partners have generally started out selling a specific Nvidia product or solution, Weinstein has overseen an evolution in the company’s partner base where solution providers are more often delivering complete AI infrastructure and software solutions utilizing Nvidia’s entire hardware and software portfolio.

Palo Alto Networks

Karl Soderlund

SVP, Worldwide Channels

Based on partner feedback gleaned from Palo Alto Networks’ annual partner satisfaction survey, Soderlund focused on increasing the company’s investment in partner sales enablement, including building a dedicated team and launching a sales enablement program called Amplify.

Soderlund presides over a healthy channel operation. In fiscal 2020 Palo Alto Networks set records in partner-initiated bookings and pipeline growth (both up 40 percent) and new customer acquisition: NextWave partners accounted for more than 80 percent of new customers.


Joe Sykora

SVP, Worldwide Channels, Partner Sales

Channel management veteran Sykora joined Proofpoint at the end of 2020 as the fast-growing email security vendor’s first ever global channel chief. Sykora moved to Proofpoint from security vendor Bitdefender, where he was global sales leader and channel chief until last September.

Sykora had worked at Bitdefender since December 2017. Before that he served more than seven years at Fortinet where he was responsible for inside sales teams, distribution teams, reseller engagements and enhanced technology groups in the Americas.

Proofpoint says that a large number of partners are looking to join the Proofpoint Partner Program: The company attributes that interest to the growing number of customer searches for solution providers who can help them address their people-centric security issues.

Red Hat

Mark Enzweiler

SVP, Global Partners, Alliances

IBM acquired Red Hat in 2019 and 2020 was the year of integration between the two companies—even as Red Hat maintains its neutrality.

Enzweiler, meanwhile, oversaw the debut of the Renewals Intelligence platform, part of Red Hat’s Partner Renewals Engagement Program (PREP) that provides distributors and resellers with data, tools and enablement to manage their own customer renewals.

Enzweiler also has presided over an increasingly skilled partner base. In 2020 the company had more than 12,000 new sales, technical and delivery partner accreditations—many around Red Hat’s OpenShift hybrid cloud platform that has been rapidly adopted by the company’s channel partners.

RSA Security

Brian Breton

Sr. Director, Global Channel Strategy, Americas Channel Sales

Breton and his team quickly developed new processes and procedures to handle the spike in orders for RSA solutions through the company’s channel partners, demand created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to secure remote workforces. The channel organization stepped up channel communications, added resources and extended hours to expedite orders and support partners.

Breton also oversaw a number of enhancements to partner incentives including rebates, rewards and co-op marketing payouts. The company increased the percent of its revenue being generated through the channel and grew the number of partners completing sales and technical training.

Scale Computing

Scott Mann

Director, North American Channel

Mann has continued to grow his channel team while the company’s partner community nearly doubled in size in 2020 and generated revenue growth from both existing and new customers, despite the pandemic and the resulting economic slowdown.

Under Mann’s leadership Scale Computing, a fast-growing company in the hyper-converged infrastructure arena, expanded and improved its MSP program in 2020 while increasing revenue per partner and average selling price per partner.


HoJin Kim

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales

Kim has led the way in driving channel adoption of SonicWall’s Boundless security platform, which became a critical technology for many businesses and the public sector as the pandemic took hold and workforces became remote.

Kim also made sure channel partners remained closely connected to SonicWall during the “new normal” as requests and need for partner education increased.


Kendra Krause

SVP, Global Channels, Sales Operations

Krause managed a significant revamp of Sophos’ partner program in 2020, consolidating 17 different programs into one foundational global partner program in a move to streamline processes and rules of engagement and provide additional benefits for partners.

Krause also oversaw the addition of a number of significant enhancements to the Sophos partner portal to simplify access to the new partner program and help partners utilize its services and content.

Sophos also invested heavily in its MSP Connect Program in 2020, which now supports more than 12,500 global and regional MSP partners, and expanded the available portfolio of managed service solutions.

StorageCraft Technology

Andy Zollo

VP, Worldwide Sales

Zollo’s key accomplishment in 2020 was to refocus StorageCraft Technology’s North America sales team on the company’s channel partners. The effort included a redesign and redeployment of the sales organization to ensure that 95 percent of sales personnel were directly targeting channel success.

The sales executive also doubled the number of channel account managers within the North American sales team and built a global partner success team to ensure partner satisfaction. And, using the management by objectives model, Zollo empowered the company’s technical presales team with channel success metrics for training and certification.


Kevin Rooney

VP, Americas Channel Sales

Rooney has been focused on ensuring that Veeam, which utilizes a 100 percent channel model, is providing the right incentives to help partners build their business with Veeam, encourages them to sell Veeam solutions over those of competitors, and attracts partners from competing providers.

In 2020 Veeam launched the Veeam Availability Suite v10 and Rooney’s priority was ensuring that partners had everything they needed to make the new product a success in the marketplace and gain market share from legacy data protection providers.


Peter Klanian

VP, Americas Channel

Klanian spearheaded the development of a national sales team, with both inside and field sales coverage, to sell Vertiv solutions with partners and support Vertiv’s channel partners nationwide. He also oversaw the launch of a new partner portal and enhanced the company’s deal registration program to provide 20-point margin opportunities for partners on deals as small as $7,500.

Partner recruitment was a major focus for Klanian in 2020. He drove a recruitment program that doubled the monthly number of partners joining the company’s partner program. He also has been adding more regional resellers to Vertiv’s partner base.


Sandy Hogan

SVP, Worldwide Commercial, Partner Organization

Under Hogan’s leadership, VMware successfully realigned its Partner and Commercial Organization in just over six months to ensure that partners play an expanding, critical role in delivering customer-for-life value across the connected ecosystem. The effort included an extensive cultural shift within the company to embrace a VMware-wide “partner-first” mentality and positioning partners as the company’s go-to-market lead.

VMware‘s partner organization achieved many accomplishments in 2020. The company held conversations with traditional VARs/project-oriented partners to identify their capabilities around driving VMware’s SaaS transformation. VMware identified, recruited and activated numerous service-based partners with unique capabilities around cloud migration and modern application development. And the company put increased emphasis on leveraging its channel partner community to drive success within the commercial customer segment.

In 2020 VMware acquired cybersecurity company Carbon Black and Hogan oversaw the integration of that company’s rich partner ecosystem, including VARs, MSSPs and incident responders, into VMware’s Partner Connect program.

Wasabi Technologies

Marty Falaro

EVP, Chief Operating Officer

Falaro expanded Wasabi’s channel team with a new North America channel sales director, new national channel managers and a 50 percent increase in the size of the channel sales team.

He also signed specialized value-added distributors to work with large national VARs and customers in government, education, and media and entertainment. The company also struck its first partnership with a new class of partner—data center service provider.

Under Falaro Wasabi has increased channel-related revenue from 30 percent of total revenue to 45 percent. The company’s authorized channel base has exploded from 1,300 partners to more than 3,500 as the company adds more VARs and systems integrators to its partner roster, in addition to the thousands of MSP and CSP partners it already has.


Michelle Welch

SVP, Marketing, Channel

Welch was instrumental in managing WatchGuard's acquisition of Panda Security and the subsequent efforts to integrate the companies’ channel programs and make the newly combined product portfolios available to all partners.

Immediately upon closing the acquisition, Watchguard launched an early access program to get Panda’s Adaptive Defense 360 product into the hands of partners for rapid evaluation and training. Within a few months more than 25 percent of WatchGuardOne partners had deployed the product internally and had begun integrating it into their product portfolios.

Just four months after the acquisition Watchguard made the entire combined product portfolio available to all partners and developed an endpoint security specialization within the WatchGuardOne program, giving partners the training and expertise they needed to sell complete network-to-endpoint security solutions.

Under Welch, WatchGuard increased its active partner ecosystem by nearly 50 percent in 2020, both organically and through the acquisition of the Panda Security partner base. The WatchGuardOne program also recorded double-digit growth in year-over-year partner participation with an increasing number of partners turning to WatchGuard to fill more than one security need within their portfolios.


Jason Macias

RVP, North America Sales

Macias has led efforts at Zix to become a channel-first company, creating the company’s first unified, global partner program and structuring the company’s sales organization to better support channel partners.

Macias managed the launch of Secure Cloud for partners to offer their customers. Zix also has seen more of its MSP partners selling the company’s software including Advanced Email Threat Protection, Email Encryption and Information Archive.


Todd Meister

SVP, Global Partners, Alliances

Meister spearheaded the development and launch of the Zscaler Summit Partner Program, as well as a number of partner-focused initiatives in 2020. Those included Summit Partner Track that helps partners maximize yields from their sales efforts, the ZScaler Partner Services Program, the Renewal Incumbency Program and a revised deal registration program.

In its fiscal 2020, 90 percent of Zscaler’s business was done through partners. Partner profitability rose 20 percent and average deal size grew significantly.