2012 Channel Chiefs: My Greatest Teacher

Who's Influencing The Channel's Influencers?

CRN asked the 270 channel executives on the 2012 Channel Chiefs list to tell us about the person who has had the most influence in their lives on them as a person and as a professional. Many stuck close to home, citing parents or spouses as the person who has most shaped them. Others touted personal heroes or professional mentors. Here’s a look at some of the people who are influencing the channel’s influencers.

Matt Hutchinson

Director of Channel Marketing

I have had many mentors but the person who taught me the most about business is a fellow named Pat Delaney. He is an entrepreneur who has been extremely successful developing businesses and leveraging the channel. The greatest lesson he ever taught me was "Always focus on what rings the cash register. When you do that, you will focus on the right things and build a profitable business." He predicted the bubble bursting in 2000 -- way ahead of the analysts. He is now semi-retired but I have taken the above lesson and many others that he taught me and have applied that knowledge to building successful channel programs. At the end of the day a channel partner needs to be able to make money with your channel program. Moreover, the channel program cannot be burdensome. It should be a warm and pleasant experience full of new but effective approaches and tools. Pat has been a great influence on my business life and life in general.

Ted Cole

Vice President of Channel Sales, Enterprise Networks

My father had a severe stroke at the young age of 48. With the right side of his body paralyzed, leaving him unable to speak, working was no longer an option for him. Mom had never driven, worked outside the home or balanced a checkbook, but with six kids still at home, she was forced to step up. Without hesitation, she learned to drive and leveraged her homemaker gifts and skills to earn enough money to fulfill the basic needs of our family. She baked bread and made hand-dipped chocolates in our basement, all sold through our family sales force. Marketing was handled by word of mouth and during Christmas and Easter she single-handedly made in excess of 1000 pounds of candies. Her ability to undertake such significant initiatives, outside of her comfort zone, left me with a work ethic based on her example -- "If you care at all, you’ll get some results. If you care enough, you’ll get incredible results." She cared enough.

David Kenyon

Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Channel Marketing

Early in my career, I worked under a partner from my old consulting firm who was a very tough boss, but extremely effective. He was particularly good at building high performance work teams and getting excellent results from them. I’ll never forget his advice, ’high performing teams are comprised of members who collectively care more about winning together than they do succeeding individually.’ This statement may appear seemingly obvious, but very hard to find in practice, especially in large corporate environments. He made sure we were aligned in our purpose, prepared to work hard each and every day, and that we were there for each other when something went wrong. Suffice it to say, he wasn’t easy to work for, but I learned a great deal and the experience was very beneficial. Much like, I would assume, playing for a demanding coach in sports.

David Roberts

Vice President, Americas, Data Management Business
CA Technologies

Jeff Raikes at Microsoft had a tremendous impact on me. Jeff taught me how to think in terms of the partner winning and how to ask the question, ’How do you measure success?’

Theresa Caragol

VP Global Alliances & Partners
Ciena Corp.

The person who has had the most influence on my work and in my life is Karen Slatford. She is my mentor, my coach, and my friend, who most notably ran worldwide sales/marketing for HP. Karen has deep knowledge of channels, alliances, and also how to motivate people. She has coached me, as well as a select group of team members, on how to gain more buy-in from executives within Ciena on the value of partners. Most importantly, she has supported me and my team through a year of great change and challenges and for that I am truly grateful.

Mark Conley

Senior Director, North American Channel Sales

My wife, Stacy, has been an instrumental part of all aspects of my life, even when it comes to work. She always makes herself available to listen when I need to talk through difficult issues and has an astounding ability to offer sound, objective advice. She supports me and my dedication to this company while keeping our family together. Without question, she has had the biggest influence on my life and work.

Michael Hayes

Coyote Point Systems

I have had a diverse and non-traditional career. I am fortunate to have been surrounded by talented and ethical people, who set a high standard for me based on hard work and fairness. People who have influenced me include Newt Wheatley, a climbing partner who taught me discipline and perseverance; Bob Diamond CEO of Barclay’s and David Booth (who at the time were both Managing Directors of Morgan Stanley), who reinforced with me ethics that your word is your word, that it’s all about integrity; and Jim Moore, a legendary sailor who taught me how to compete at a high level. Also, my father Richard Hayes, who instilled in me a spirit of adventure.

Steve Hammond

Director of Global Partner Marketing
Emerson Network Power- Avocent & Liebert Divisions

I’ve been fortunate to have a number of them. But, I’d say the VP of Green Giant (Pillsbury) Marketing. I spent a decade as a Sr. Brand Manager in the food industry and had a great mentor. That mentor guided me to think and see things in a way similar to that of a conductor of a symphony listening it as a whole and in sections – not at the individual instrument player level. Forget the squeaky clarinet and focus on the clarinet section as a whole if problems exist. Deliver meaningful actions today by waking up every day and ask yourself what I’d do differently if I stepped into my job that day – every day. Finally, he installed in me a relentless focus on assessing and solving the root cause of problems.

Stephen Cho

Director, Channels and Business Development
Google Enterprise

John Chambers, CEO, Cisco. His profound and absolute commitment to the customer, all day, every day, as evidenced in his own personal behavior, and the culture he has created at Cisco from top to bottom. The customer comes first, period, all day, every day. All else follows from there.

Allison Ash

VP of Worldwide Channel Sales
Guidance Software

Martin Luther King, Jr., with his vision and perseverance, is one of many individuals who has made a profound impact on my life. I believe in the core ideals behind his drive and obligation to the world (his customers, team and partners). He was the incredible change he wanted to see in the world! I often think about his tenacity and drive. What if he didn't have a dream and played it safe? How would our world be today if he wouldn’t have traveled over 6 million miles giving more than 2,500 speeches? Or if he thought he was too young (at only 39) to have an impact in his life? Martin Luther King, Jr. was diligent, focused and inspired. He had the perseverance and the strength to push through numerous challenges, adversity, discriminating opinion and he was able to accomplish amazing, lasting changes that impact all our lives even today.

Tracy Galloway

VP, Americas Channel, Attach Sales, Technology Services

My father, John Bauernfeind, provided the most influence in my life.

Growing up a female in a small town in Southern Illinois, where the professions were factory worker, coal miner, farmer or school teacher – he always believed in me and told me there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t achieve. His confidence, drive and voice still push me today – even after his unfortunate and early death seven years ago.

Paul Bay

Executive Vice President
Ingram Micro North America

The original founder of my previous company had a tremendous impact on my professional life. His point of view or philosophy was this: Focus on the relationship and integrity first and the success of the business will follow.

Scott Anderson

Vice President, Global Channels

My first boss at Hewlett-Packard, Tom Tarasoff. Tom was a great leader, hard worker, but always found time to make life fun. He was running HP’s Western Channels organization back in the 80s and early 90s as everything was evolving in the Personal Computer industry. He taught me how to formulate and drive a strategy, and also how to adapt to changing market conditions. Probably most importantly, Tom embodied the HP Way; he was fully engaged with the business, empowered his staff, and provided a great work environment for all.

Luanne Tierney

Vice President, Global Partner Marketing
Juniper Networks

I believe you can learn something from everyone you meet, both personally and professionally. I try to learn a little something from everyone throughout the course of my day and that means each person has an influence on my thinking and how I approach my work and life.

Nancy Reynolds

SVP, Corporate Sales, North America
Kaspersky Lab

My parents – they provided me with all the confidence and support in the world, and it’s really enabled me to push my boundaries, excel in the face of tough situations, and not settle for anything short of my very best.

Michael Jerich

Vice President - Indirect Sales Channel
Level 3 Communications

My college football coach, Bill Walsh, influenced how I look at the big picture and prepare to win. He demonstrated discipline and being prepared for the "big game" while remaining focused on the task at hand -- even when the pressure to perform and win is immense. He showed that if you focus on the little things, that the larger tasks take care of themselves. I apply this same methodology and philosophy to how I manage the Level 3 Indirect Channel Sales program, which allows me to be diligent, focused and forward thinking.

Jess Richter

Director of Worldwide Sales
Lieberman Software

Ayn Rand. When you’re growing a business, there’s no better a battleground than the free market to unleash one’s sense of individuality, creativity and freedom to be your best. People inside and outside your organization may depend on you for many reasons but none is more valuable than the results you can deliver. Her writings inspire me to pursue my vision and remind me that giving anything less than my best will never be good enough.

Juliann Larimer

Vice President of Worldwide Channels
Motorola Solutions

My oldest daughter, Emelia. Becoming a parent changes your whole perspective on the world. She keeps me grounded, teaches me to be humble and helps me remember how to prioritize the things that matter.

Jacob Kazakevich


Mikhail Gorbachev. His coming to power in the former Soviet Union in 1990 resulted in opening the borders and allowing my family to move from a small town in northern Russia to New York City.

Bill Taylor

VP, Global Channels and Alliances
RSA, The Security Division of EMC

I have always been motivated by the stories of George S. Patton, the often controversial U.S. General. While his outspokenness and opinions often got him into trouble, I admire his aggressiveness and the way he motivated people to keep on trudging ahead even when times were tough.

Alison Ryan

Vice President, Global Channel Sales

Earlier in my career, I had a manager and mentor, Tony White. We ran a small but very profitable high technology company. He advised me about business negotiations and said, ’In your negotiation, if you don’t clearly know why the deal is good for you as well as your associate, get out of it. Either you don’t understand the deal, or it is a bad deal. Business is win/win.’ That philosophy is pervasive.

Randy Cochran

VP, Channel Sales for the Americas

In terms of leadership, Vince Lombardi is someone that has influenced and inspired me. I often think of his quote on teamwork, ’The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.’ I strongly value collaboration in my organization and believe that it isn’t just one person who sends an organization to the top – it is a team effort, and I believe we have the best channel team in the industry.

Evan Fromberg

Senior Director, Worldwide Channel Sales and Business Development

Mike Valentine, VP Sales and Support for the Americas at Fortine, has helped me immensely in my career. His guidance in structuring a partner program, staffing resources appropriately and managing a P&L has allowed me to further understand complex business models that I needed to learn at that time in my career. Mike's style of leadership -- where he has a unique ability to create loyalty and growth opportunities for his team, while maintaining strict fiscal discipline -- is a model I strive to emulate.

Ronald Green

Vice President North America and Latin America Channel Sales
Western Digital Technologies

The person who influenced me and my work the most was Arif Shakeel, our former CEO, who continuously strived to improve any situation he was involved in.

May Pao

Vice President, Global Partnerships
Zebra Technologies

Julia Childs has had a great impact on my life as she is a woman who is passionate about her work. She was honest and transparent about who she was and what she stood for, and her work was the purest expression of that.