Women Of The Channel: Executives I Admire

Who Do You Admire?

CRN's Women of the Channel each have at least one person who has shaped their lives, either personally or professionally. The following 25 women reveal who helped mold them into the leaders they are today.

Jennifer Cochran, Marketing Manager, AVG Technologies

It sounds cliche, but I admire Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Both were just these young guys with big ideas. And these big ideas have changed our world immeasurably. It’s unfathomable how two people can impact the entire planet. I can’t comprehend it! I also admire their philanthropic spirit. I think it’s essential to give back in a big way and these two do that regularly.

Leigh Malizia-Carlson, Regional Sales Director, Barracuda Networks

Following Meg Whitman's career over the years has been inspirational to me. She has, and continues to, dominate in an industry that is largely run by men. She has helped break barriers for women to the point that she is no longer noticed by her gender anymore but rather simply recognized for her accomplishments and leadership. That is something I truly admire.

Raelyn Kritzer, Director, Global Channel Marketing, Brocade

Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and first Chief Executive Officer of IBM, is a female executive I admire greatly. She is a terrific example of promoting from within and a success story on how you can work your way up in a company from individual contributor to top executive.

Lucy Graham, Director, Marketing, Carousel Industries

I admire Luanne Tierney, who is the VP of global partner marketing at Juniper Networks. I think she is a forward thinker who is open to sharing her knowledge and experiences with her channel partners. She is always finding neat new tools and social media trends that help in our business. As a world traveler and savvy businesswoman, she always has some great advice on marketing topics or a new tool to try and is always approachable.

Tammy Richards, Managing Director, WW Channel Marketing, Citrix Systems

Our CEO Mark Templeton, who first hired me to Citrix 16 years ago and who has continued to set an example for me since. Mark is passionate about our company and vision and openly encourages us to be creative and thoughtful, while focusing on keeping our priorities in line. Former SVP of WW Sales and Services at Citrix John Burris for his openness, his success and leadership for Citrix and his belief and mentorship. His approach of simplifying processes and removing boundaries continues to inspire not just what we do, but how we do it, within our channel organization today.

Shirley Peterson, President, CMIT Solutions of Fort Worth

Georgia Jones. In 1996 she founded what is now known as CMIT Solutions. Originally named Computer Moms, Georgia launched this business after working for Sen. John Tower in Washington, D.C. Leaving their typewriters behind forever, she was responsible for training D.C. employees to use the first computers in the workplace. I became one of the first franchisees of CMIT Solutions because of Georgia.

Kala Ranganathan, Director, Global Channel Marketing, Dell

I admire Indra Nooyi, current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo, who shows that one can be a mom, wife and climb the corporate ladder while raising kids. She also highlights that one can get ahead in the corporate environment without sacrificing one's cultural identity. I also admire Oprah Winfrey, representing the possibilities for any girl/woman in America ready to work hard.

Kate Taylor, Partner Manager, Dropbox

I admire Marissa Mayer - she has it all and has owned her career. If she wanted something, she went after it. She also made it clear that her family comes first, which is something most women are afraid to admit. I mostly admire her choice to publicly acknowledge the change in Yahoo's work from home policy. Even though many thought it was controversial, she was strong and made the best choice for her company. It takes a strong leader to make an unpopular decision.

Helene Barnekow, Senior Vice President, WW Field, Channel Marketing, EMC

I absolutely admire EMC CEO Joe Tucci for having this incredible vision for the future and being one of the few executives in a Fortune 500 company that is so performance driven and human at the same time.

Elaina Shekhter, Vice President, Global Head, Travel, Consumer Industry Business Unit, EPAM Systems

I've met Will Lansing a few times in my career and I am in awe of his ability to step back and see the big picture. Peter Simon, one of the original founders of Circus Circus and Mandalay Resorts for his willingness to take a risk and to try moves that he thinks are right 'because they are right' and not because the spreadsheets tell him they are right. Marylyn Nelson Carlson who personified the family business chief executive. Arkadiy Dobkin, the founder and CEO of EPAM for his tenacity, humility and for never compromising his values.

Bonnie McMenomy, Senior Channel Development Marketing Manager, ESET Internet Security

Anton Zajac, ESET CEO, is an executive I admire for his vision, innovation, and successful navigation of ESET and our family.

Theresa Caragol, Vice President, Global Channels, Extreme Networks

I admire Nancy Shemwell, executive vice president of global sales at Extreme Networks, because she is a strong example of a leading channel professional. Not only has she been working in the channel for a significant portion of her career, she has been a leader in the technology industry for over two decades, making her an outstanding company strategist.

Pam Doyle, Director, Education, Fujitsu Computer Products of America

I continue to admire my manager, Nina Lutjens, Senior VP of Sales for Fujitsu Computer Products of America. I applaud her determination to achieve her career aspirations, and her humility in remembering where she came from. I also greatly admire Whitney Bouck, GM, Box Enterprise, for her willingness to take a chance in developing a new enterprise storage model for content management. The challenges she has embraced will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the future of our industry.

Laila Robak, Partner Account Exec., Latin America, GlobalSign

There are many executives I admire and it's hard to choose only one, but I would choose my colleague Lila Kee, GlobalSign's Chief Product Officer, because she is someone so close to me. Lila is not only a great professional and authority on digital security but also a great person, inside and outside of the office. She has helped GlobalSign to accomplish so many victories with her knowledge of the technologies and human relations, which have inspired me.

Jane Cage, Former COO/CFO, Transition Consultant, Heartland Technology Solutions

Eric Martorano from Microsoft for his focus on giving back through the channel, John Fago for his absolute integrity and Justin Crotty for creating a new business model at Ingram and then having the courage and conviction to become a supplier to the program he created.

Dangvy Keller, U.S. Commercial Distribution, HP

Great CEOs or executives build organizations that thrive long after they've left their positions, so two executives that I admire are David Packard and Jack Welch. While I did not have the opportunity to work for these executives, I learned about their leadership through business school. Both Packard and Welch made a difference through their leadership, and they helped define their industries through their vision.

Elise Hernandez, President, CEO, Ideal System Solutions

I admire any woman that has been able to break through the glass ceiling and "digital divide" in high-tech fields including Ginni Rometty, IBM's CEO, Marissa Mayer, Yahoo's CEO, Meg Whitman, HP's CEO and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's CEO. Although some women, such as Sandberg, have received some negative publicity for their dual-role as mother and executive, I especially admire any woman that has been able to successfully balance their career and family-life.

Helda Lopes, Senior Director, WW Partner Marketing, Juniper Networks

I admire executives who are thoughtful yet bold. Howard Schultz had to be thoughtful and bold in order to turn Starbucks around. Meg Whitman has taken calculated risks with boldness. These are just a few CEOs who've made their companies great.

Debbie Medal, Senior Director, Marketing, WW Channel Programs, NetApp

I have been fortunate to work with a number of outstanding executives and I am very fortunate to be with a leadership team that has led NetApp to be recognized, around the world, as one of the Great Places to Work for the past 10 years. But one executive that continues to inspire me is Tom Mendoza, Vice Chairman of NetApp. He was my hiring manager over 14 years ago and truly demonstrates how to be a leader who inspires people to accomplish what they never thought possible, each and every day.

Kirsten Ward, Vice President, Global Business Development, Alliances, Nexthink

I admire Clayton Christensen for his integrity and work on disruptive innovation models. I admire David Packard and Bill Hewlett for establishing the original "HP Way" and management philosophy. I admire Melinda Gates for her vision and execution to assist people of all levels on a human scale with her foundation's initiatives in education and world health. And I admire Ursula M. Burns for her executive and technical competence, teamwork, bluntness, and organizational leadership ability.

Meaghan Sullivan, Vice President, Global Channel Marketing, SAP

I have several executives in the industry that I admire in both male and female leaders. One of my favorite role models in the industry is Richard Branson for his focused and innovative approach to exceptional customer service and luxury experiences. Virgin Airlines is my favorite!

Stephanie Sissler, Vice President, Global Channel Marketing and Operations, Siemens Enterprise Communications

Anne Mulcahy and Ursula Burns of Xerox. Anne Mulchy is well-admired for turning around Xerox at a time when many thought bankruptcy was imminent. I admire her just as much for mentoring a fellow working mother (Ursula Burns) during her tenure and then taking the bold step of insisting that she replace her when she retired. Now, Xerox under Burns' leadership is continuing to grow and prosper. This partnership truly debunks the stereotype of women holding down other woman as they climb the career ladder and reinforces the importance and rewards of paying it forward.

Sue Smith, Director, Partner Programs, Symantec

I truly feel that what Steve Bennett has achieved in his short time at Symantec – and throughout his extensive career – has been great and deserves recognition. Similarly, I also feel that Marissa Mayer's new role at Yahoo is admirable. Both are considered lightning rods, changing the focus, the culture -- even the energy -- of very large, established companies. I love a good turnaround story, where executives take action and move forward regardless of the tough trajectory ahead. That, to me, commands respect and admiration.

Carolyn Cox, Senior Director, Global Partner Programs, Marketing, VMware

I have seen executives in the industry step aside from their duties to afford more time with their families. Although they are still in a position where they contribute at a high level, they made the conscious decision to shift roles because they thought about the legacy they wanted to leave with their family and fellow employees. This decision to balance their priorities is something that stands out to me. I admire those who have the courage and self-esteem to make a decision like this, rather than prioritizing their title or quickly climbing the corporate ladder.

Annalisa Mena, Vice President, Field, Sales Operations, Xerox

HTG Peer Group CEO Arlin Sorenson. I love the the approach he implements across HTG. It's about the business, but also about personal life as well. Personal and professional accountability, making a plan and working toward achievement of those plans, enjoying the journey of life, not just the rewards at the end of the journey. I find him to be a motivational speaker who brings credibility to his message as he shares equally what works and what doesn't. Add to that, he shows leadership examples of personal giving of time and talent and having fun.