20 People Channel Chiefs Look To For Inspiration

Inspiration Comes In Many Forms

The over 300 members of CRN's 2016 Channel Chiefs project have risen through the ranks to lead channel efforts at today's biggest and most innovative technology companies. Getting to this position of channel power takes a certain kind of drive and given the nearly 27,000 years of combined channel experience among this year's Chiefs, it's safe to say they've found quite a few sources of inspiration along the way.

As part of the 2016 Channel Chiefs, we asked the executives to share the people whom they look to for inspiration to fuel that drive.

To see the complete list of the top channel executives and what they've been doing to ready their channel programs for 2016, check out the 2016 Channel Chiefs database.


John Tippett


My grandfather taught me a lot about business and ethics and instilled a great sense of responsibility in me. Working at a textile firm in a small town in Georgia, he climbed the proverbial corporate ladder and retired as the CEO of the company. He was always grounded in his faith, loyal to his employees, and respectful of others. I regularly reflect on the time we spent together and his advice continues to inspire me today.


Bob Crissman

VP, Global Channel Programs, Sales

Bill Gates. I had the privilege of seeing Bill in action when he was CEO of Microsoft. As impressive a leader as he was then, the work he is doing now to solve some of the major challenges facing the world is simply amazing. Rather than sitting on his fortune, he is putting his money to work and setting an example for all of us who have benefited from working in this industry.


Sue Galvanek

VP, Marketing, Pricing and Product Solutions, AT&T Partner Exchange

When former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy took the reins, the company was undergoing a financial crisis. Instead of filing for bankruptcy, Mulcahy made the riskier and more arduous decision to restore Xerox's health. Staying true to her values and the company's, Mulcahy never buckled under the immense pressures she was facing. Additionally, Mulcahy didn't let her pride interfere, admitting her lack of financial expertise and seeking a tutor on the subject matter. While there are many lessons to be learned from Mulcahy's successful journey to reinvent Xerox, I most admires the transparency, tenaciousness and humbleness exuded in her leadership.


Ralph J. Nimergood

VP, Worldwide Channels, Alliances

Many people have inspired me through my career, from business leaders, political leaders and social leaders. Right now I am very inspired by Elon Musk. He seems to have a fearlessness about him and he refuses to believe nothing is impossible and then translates that into a commercially viable businesses. He refuses to bend to the quarterly cadence of Wall Street and does a great job of capturing the imagination of the market, his employees and people at large. I like his boldness!


Ed Walton

VP, Channel, Alliances

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records, one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time. He launched his first successful company at the age of 16, overcame dyslexia and shyness. He exemplifies the 'just go do it' mentality. Have fun, think outside the box, follow your passion, do good, listen more and talk less, go out and meet people, be happy and communicate with everyone are some of his key philosophies for leadership.


Didi Dayton

VP, Worldwide Channels

Diana Nyad, without a doubt. She is a 64 year old endurance swimmer who set a world record last year by crossing the 103 miles from Havana to Key West. It was her fifth attempt.

"I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team."

D&H Distributing

Tim Billing

VP, Product Management, Global Vendors

Terry Fox was a young Canadian whose battle with bone cancer prompted him to run across his country, despite already having had one leg amputated. His strength in the face of adversity made Fox a national hero, and since his death The Terry Fox Foundation has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment.


Cheryl Cook

VP, Global Channels, Alliances

I'm inspired by my friend Tori Serpa. She suffered the loss of her only daughter a couple years ago and as I watch her channel her energy, grief, and healing into such grace with the generosity to give back, she is a true inspiration. She has formed the Brit Rose Foundation, to shine a light and awareness on suicide prevention, mental illness, and bullying. One part is fundraising, and seeking donations for support, the other part is a fun shopping site, where she channels her love of fashion to do good. All the proceeds from her site, www.shopbritrose.com, are donated.


Joshua Geist

President, CEO

Sheryl Sandberg. As a father of three daughters, their success both personally and professionally is a key driver for me. Sandberg has taken the well known battle of gender inequality in the workplace and quite easily re-presented it in an engaging and modern approach. She has focused huge efforts on building programs that help mentor females to excel within their careers and to strive for positions that were unheard of just a few short years ago.


Matt Goulet

Chief Operating Officer

Tom Brady, quarterback for the New England Patriots, as he's worked incredibly hard to achieve success and year after year, finds ways to bring together a diverse team of individuals to accomplish greatness. His multiple Superbowl appearances and wins aside, he's committed to his team and continues to give 120 percent every day, even after 15 years with the Patriots.


Adam Snider

Sr. Director, Sales

My daughter, Lucia, has a disease called mitochondrial disease. There is no cure and it affects every system in the human body. We just celebrated her fifth birthday, which came only 10 days after her fifth surgery. She has experienced and overcome more challenges than anyone should experience in a lifetime. She is non-verbal, yet she can express love more than anyone I've ever known. Every day is precious with her and every day she inspires me more and more.

Infinio Systems

Bob Skelley

VP, Global Channel

Dr. David Angus, who is an oncologist and writer. His research and work to change how we treat cancer and his passion for finding a better way is quite inspiring. His lectures and writings about lifestyle changes and small ways to improve health are intriguing and a useful guide for anyone. He forces you to think differently and inspires you to do more to be healthy.

Juniper Networks

Peter Crowcombe

Sr. Director, Global Partner Marketing

I live in the heart of Formula 1 country and love the sport. Ayrton Senna was a true inspiration, not just by the way he drove but by his single minded determination and the application of his skills to his objective. I also get inspiration from those around me who do an amazing job day in day out getting things done. Not just at Juniper but at our partners, suppliers or even people in other walks of life. I guess you could call them the quiet majority that keeps our world spinning.


Scott Strubel

Americas Channel Sales VP

I started my career in the tech sector selling Apple PCs in the channel. I respect Steve Jobs not for his Apple products or his fame, but for his passion for his work. A reporter once asked Steve Jobs why he thought his company was different. He replied, "We're here to put a dent in the universe." We can all be in the right place at the right time with the right skills and the right vision to put a dent in our own universe.

Nimble Storage

Leonard Iventosch

VP, Worldwide Channels

Jim Hake is a former venture capitalist who formed an organization called the Spirit of America in the wake of 9/11. He proved that with an entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of perseverance, a privately funded organization could get through the morass of government to deliver vital medical and school supplies, blankets and other much needed items to people in harm's way around the globe.


Elizabeth King

SVP, Worldwide Sales

Gerri Elliott, my first boss at Juniper Networks. Gerri now serves on several corporate boards, including Whirlpool and Bed, Bath & Beyond. She is also a founder of Broadroom, an online community supporting women who aspire to serve on company bBoards. Gerri has a way of bringing out the best in people and inspiring them to go for it and thrive. She brought out my best, and helped me bring out the best in my team. I leverage what she taught me in the way I lead as well as listen to and serve my customers and partners today.


Heather Hulse

Director, Sales, National Accounts

Someone who truly inspires me is Sara Blakely. Blakely is from my hometown in Florida and we both attended Florida State University during the same time period. She had a great idea - a dream - and she was turned down numerous times. However, Blakely stuck with it until someone believed in her. It took enormous courage and confidence to stick with an idea that was not easily embraced. At just 27-years-old, she started her company, SPANX. Now, at 44-years-old, she is one of the few female billionaires.

WatchGuard Technologies

Coletta Vigh

Director, Channel Programs

Malala Yousafzai is a recent inspiration for her efforts to further girls' education around the world. Malala possesses courage, determination, and resolve that is well beyond her years, and despite the odds, she perseveres and inspires others. She is a leader driving change in thinking and policy in Pakistan and beyond.


John Corley


Every day I'm inspired by former U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, who said "If not now, when? If not us, who?". Thinking about that phrase brings into context the bigger role I can play in making positive changes at work and in the community. I'm a big believer that my contribution doesn't end with my workday, and we should all lend a hand to those in need when we can. I'm passionate about giving back to the community and support the United Way and other community initiatives.

Zebra Technologies

Thomas Sheahen

VP, North America Channel Sales

Inspiration comes to me from the Doctors Without Borders organization. These volunteers give up the benefits that come from lucrative jobs to literally change lives by helping the needy in some of the poorest and most dangerous places in the world. Their commitment is truly awe-inspiring. It is an incredible sacrifice for love and compassion to share one's hard-earned skills without any kind of monetary compensation and have such a major impact on other peoples' basic needs. It drives me to share my skills via mentoring and Doctors Without Borders reminds me about my own good fortune and reinforces my commitment to give back to others who are in need.