100 People You Don't Know But Should 2016 (Part 2)

Unsung Heroes

There are a lot of shining stars on vendors’ channel management teams. And then there are a lot of people who work just as hard toward the success of partners but don't spend much time in the spotlight. Maybe they are behind-the-scenes players responsible for building a new cloud program. Or they might be high-level channel executives at lesser-known companies that offer high-margin sales opportunities to prospective partners. Or they aren’t part of channel management at all but are driving strategy or technology vision that impacts solution providers in the field.

Part 2 of CRN's annual 100 People You Don't Know But Should list continues to examine those building and running channel programs, designing special incentives, educating and training solution providers and evangelizing hot technology. They are the unsung heroes who put in the elbow grease to make channel partnerships work.

In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1 of the 100 People You Don't Know But Should 2016 list.

Tom Kress, LogicMonitor

VP of North American Sales

A seasoned sales, channel and marketing leader, LogicMonitor hired Kress this year to drive worldwide sales for the SaaS-based company. Kress has a proven track record of increasing sales for the likes of Dimension Data and DotNetNuke Corporation.

Geneva Lake, MapR

VP of Worldwide Alliances and Channels

MapR's new channel chief Lake is revamping the big data company's channel efforts as she drives sales of the company's Hadoop distribution. With 18 years of experience at Oracle under her belt, Lake is leading MapR's new partner program, launched earlier this year.

Doug Schultz, Menlo Security

VP of Sales and Channels, Americas & Asia Pacific

After building out teams that helped revenue soar at FireEye, Schultz moved over to Menlo last year as vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and Japan. Six months later, he was also placed in charge of sales in the Americas.

Joel Borellis, Microsoft

GM, US Partner Enablement

Borellis, who heads U.S. partner enablement efforts, played a similar role at Oracle before taking on his current role for Microsoft this year. Now he's pushing hard to get partners quickly up to speed on new tools, workloads and opportunities.

Kelly Lowe, Mimecast

Channel Marketing Manager

Lowe's passionate about building innovative channel programs that reward solution providers at every step of the way. At cloud email company Mimecast, she's taking using those skills to help build excitement for its channel efforts.

Andrew Bagrin, MyDigitalShield


A passionate channel advocate, Bagrin has brought to market what partners are calling the premier security as a service solution for small businesses. Partners rave about the channel program and service which is aimed at providing enterprise level security at a small business price.

Mark Conley, NetApp

Director Worldwide Channel Sales

The hard charging former worldwide channel sales director at flash storage superstar SolidFire – which was acquired by NetApp earlier this year – is leading a global channel renaissance at NetApp. His latest breakout move: a new "hard deck" program aimed at accelerating midmarket growth.

Elsa Tay, Nexsan (Imation)

Director, Channel Marketing

A 2016 Women of the Channel honoree, the 17-year marketing veteran has won high praise from partners for her strategic marketing efforts for the 100 percent channel-focused vendor. One sign of her success: Nexsan's 89 percent partner satisfaction rating.

Iain Urquhart, Oracle

Group VP, NA Applications Division, Channels and Alliances

Urquhart, a former vice president of channel sales at Rackspace, has brought a cloud focused boost to the Oracle Applications Division. Partners say Urquhart's 22 years of channel experience – including 12 years at partner powerhouse Microsoft - is redefining the Oracle applications partner experience.

Jeremy Behrle, Palo Alto Networks

Global Partner Technology & Enablement Lead

The 23-year industry veteran who is credited with driving big telco sales growth at Juniper has brought more enterprise enablement muscle to Palo Alto Networks since joining the company two years ago. Partners credit him with leading the charge to help build out the security superstar's cloud security-as-a-service offerings.

Lauren Weatherly, PGi

Senior Director of of Channel Marketing

Recognized as a results-oriented marketing leader who doesn't stop until the job is done right, Weatherly joined collaboration company PGi last year and has been working hard ever since to get partners everything they need to be successful selling in the cloud.

Niraj Jain, Pica8

VP of Business Development

Jain is driving the push to bring Pica8's white-box networking operating system to the channel, opening doors for solution providers that want to jump feet-first into software-defined networking to build truly customizable application performance solutions.

Nick Cayou, Pivotal

VP of Global Alliances

Cayou, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has been leading efforts to build channel sales since Pivotal's inception in 2013. Known as a rock-solid channel development expert who gets results, he lives and breathes the keys to channel success.

Kaycee Lai, Primary Data

SVP of Sales

Lai is working hard to disrupt the status quo with Primary Data's software-defined data center technologies, with $60 million in funding to help along his way. Now he's building up a leveraged sales force that relies heavily on the channel and provides incentives for sales reps that work with partners.

Adam Napolitano, PTC

Senior Director, ThingWorx Channel Advantage

There's no better place for Napolitano to be than driving channel sales growth for PTC's ThingWorx Internet of Things platform, helping solution providers capitalize on (and monetize) what by all counts is set to be an explosive market.

Shannon Williams, Rancher Labs

Co-founder, VP of Sales and Marketing

Williams co-founded container-as-a-service firm and leads sales efforts. He previously served as vice president of market development at Citrix Systems, and has more than 15 years of experience developing emerging technology, so he's the perfect person to lead Rancher's charge.

Mark Winter, RapidFire Tools

VP of Sales

A master craftsman when it comes to delivering live presentations, Winter is a fixture at tech and channel events, where he can be seen meeting and greeting as many potential customers and solution provider partners as he can find.

Brian DePamphilis, Resilient, an IBM Company

Director of Global Channel Marketing

DePamphilis prides himself on building out top-notch campaigns hand-in-hand with partners to produce insightful thought leadership content. Solution providers can then leverage that content to help set themselves apart.

Mehow Kulma, RSA

Partner Marketing Manager

Over the past year, RSA has undergone a major channel transformation, looking to be more partner-friendly than ever before. Kulma plays a key role in that transformation, leading the company's partner programs, communications and social strategy around sales and go-to-market.

Heather Conklin, Salesforce.com

Senior Director, Product Management

Leading two of Salesforce's largest web priorities, the AppExchange and Success Community, Conklin is a driving force in the CRM giant's product strategy. On top of that, she has been pivotal in driving channel engagement at Salesforce, including creating the company's Partner Community.

Mort Jensen, Samsung SDS America

Head of Channels

Jensen leads the channel strategy and go-to-market for $8 billion enterprise software and solutions group Samsung SDS. A self-professed ’business driver,’ Jensen specializes in helping partners develop solutions and strategies for selling a broad array of enterprise mobility, analytics and security solutions.

Robert Spee, SAS

Global Channels Director

Spee is bringing a long background of channel leadership roles to SAS, joining the analytics company this year to help it build out its channel program and partner base, with a particular focus on driving partner strategy and execution.

Kevin Greenwood, Scale Computing

Senior Director of Global Channels

With a year Scale Computing under his belt, Greenwood has driven a significant shift at the virtualization company around the channel, bringing an understand of the value of partners all the way to the top levels of management.

Josh Berezin, Scality

VP of Sales, America

Since joining Scality in August of last year as vice president of sales for the Americas, Berezin has driven tremendous sales growth at data storage software company, including growing the Americas region by 100 percent in less than a year.

David Harvey, Scality

VP, Strategic Alliances

At Scality, Harvey works hand-in-hand with partners to drive strategic growth by integrating the company's RING web-scale storage software into their portfolios, as well as growing the company's network of Strategic Alliances partners to more than 50 technology companies.

Jessica McRae, SimpliVity

Channel Marketing Manager

McRae is a channel marketing rock star at fast-growing hyper-converged startup Simplivity, where she helps with the company's managed marketing services, among other things. McRae joined Simplivity in August 2015, after holding multiple channel marketing leadership roles at EMC.

Nadia Karatsoreos, SolarWinds MSP (LogicNow)

Lead Community Manager

Karatsoreros helps foster customer relationships and educational content for MSP partners, all with a goal of making partners as successful as possible with LogicNow. That has included new programs over the past year around thought leadership, events and engagement that have contributed to growth in both customers and revenue.

Alina Dias, SolarWinds N-able

Product Manager

Dias is known for going above and beyond when it comes to SolarWinds N-Able's MSPs, providing the ultimate customer care experience possible when helping them through day-to-day issues and overseeing alpha and beta testing with more than 500 global MSPs.

Chris Auger, SonicWall

Executive Director, North America Security

Auger will play a key role in the company's spinout of SonicWall to private equity, a move that is highly anticipated and expected to be a major win for partners. He's promising amazing things for solution providers since post-spinout SonicWall will be a 100 percent channel sales organization.

Betsy Doughty, Spectra Logic

Senior Director of Marketing

Doughty is instrumental in Spectra Logic's marketing and communications efforts. In particular, she plays a key role in making sure partners have the tools, information and go-to-market plans to succeed in building deep storage solutions based on its technology.

Brian Grainger, Spectra Logic

Chief Sales Officer

Since 2001, Grainger has leveraged more than 25 years of channel expertise to drive significant partner growth at Spectra Logic. Today, he oversees all aspects of the company's corporate sales strategy. He oversees more than 250 partners across 50 countries.

David Portnowitz, Star2Star Communications

VP of Marketing

Portnowitz leads the marketing and learning development teams at upstart communications company Star2Star. His role in driving home the value the company provides and focus on partner enablement is critical, as the company sells its cloud-based unified communications services entirely through the channel.

Keith Weatherford, Symantec

VP of Channels

Weatherford joined Symantec earlier this year as part of the company's blockbuster acquisition of Blue Coat Systems. Now, the long-time channel executive is the go-to man for solution providers, leading the channel efforts of one of the biggest security companies on the market.

Rich Gooding, Synnex

Senior Director of Channel Programs, North America

If you're looking for someone with serious institutional knowledge at IT distribution giant Synnex, Gooding is going to be one of your top bets. A loyal Synnex team member for more than two decades, he's helping to lead the charge in giving solution providers what they need to get business done.

Brigetta Koepke, Lenovo

Channel and Marketing Program Manager

A go-getter who's been promoted multiple times since joining Synnex eight years ago, Koepke's now a powerhouse behind the distributor's Lenovo business, driving business and program development with strategic accounts for Synnex across both the Client and Data Center Group divisions of Lenovo.

Dana Reina, Tech Data

Cisco Services Marketing Manager

Positioned squarely in the middle of the vaunted Cisco channel is major distributor Tech Data. And there, the resident expert on recurring revenue is Reina, who has also been the driving force behind an online partner-facing platform, the SMARTattach Opportunity Portal.

Pritesh "Pete" Shah, Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI)

VP of Finance

In his three-and-a-half years at telecommunications master agent and distributor TBI, Shah has implemented a range of new processes for improving the business—including for more accurate forecasting and, notably, for clearer communications between carriers and channel partners.

Anthony Narducci, ThousandEyes

VP of Sales

ThousandEyes offers network intelligence software that provides crucial visibility into what's happening in an organization's network in real time. And at the startup, Narducci serves as the top channel executive, helping to connect with reseller partners looking for recurring revenue opportunities.

Bob Buchanan, TierPoint

VP, Channel Sales

When cloud computing provider TierPoint bought the data center business from Windstream in December, Buchanan was the natural choice for heading TierPoint's channel push--having spent the previous 12 years with Windstream, including two years as VP for channel sales.

Eric Simpson, TitanHQ

Alliance Manager

Internet security company TitanHQ picked up Simpson a year ago to help spearhead the company's channel efforts--and followed that up in February with a new product aimed at MSPs, the web content filter WebTitan Cloud for WiFi.

David Safaii, Trilio Data


At OpenStack backup startup Trilio Data, Safaii has been pushing efforts to ramp up channel partnerships this year. "When you talk about the journey of OpenStack, whether you're just starting down this path to roll out a cloud, it's ongoing and iterative in nature," Safaii told CRN in May. "Solution providers are critical to this."

Matt Blumenthal, Varonis

VP Channel Operations

Blumenthal has built a career helping craft successful channel programs and partner engagements at some of most recognizable companies in the channel. Last month he jumped from Work Market to Varonis, where he now leads channel operations for the security software company.

Sara Moody, Veeam

Marketing Program Manager, North America

Moody is responsible for all of Veeam's partner marketing programs and campaigns in North America. She joined the developer of backup and disaster recovery systems in May 2015 after a nine-year stint with NetApp.

Ratnesh Sharma, VeloCloud Networks

AVP, Global Channels

Sharma joined cloud SD-WAN developer VeloCloud Networks in January. His background in product management and marketing spans both high-growth startups like Webify and InMobi and Fortune 500 companies like Oracle and Sun.

Nicholas Gregory, Veritas

Senior Manager, Sales and Channel Enablement

Gregory joined Veritas a year-and-a-half ago, where he's responsible for Americas sales and channel enablement. One of his major accomplishments there include creating the company's first-ever mobile training app strategy.

Danielle Johnson, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Partner Marketing Manager

Johnson has developed a deep understanding of the telecom market, through a more than 15-year tenure at Verizon. Now, she leverages that extensive market expertise to help the telecom giant build out best-in-class marketing and communications for its partners.

Melanie Read, VMware

Director, Global Partner Communications

Read has led partner communications at VMware since 2014, where she is best known for her abilities to use employee engagement and strategic thinking to increase business performance, manage change and build relationships.

Andrew Warren, Westcon-Comstor

EVP - North America

Warren has seen huge success leading one of the fastest growing businesses at Westcon, driving the distributor's security sales up 400 percent since 2010 and overall expanding its share in an extremely competitive security market.

Cory Dzbinski, WTG

Training Development Manager

Dzbinski joined WTG in April, bringing with him more than 17 years of experience in technical and sales experience in the telecom and SaaS markets. Now, he's helping the master agent superstar develop innovative training efforts, including its new Learning Campus online resource.

Jason Cowie, Zerto

Global Partner and Channel Sales

Cowie is praised as a passionate leader who understands both the technology and business sides of working with the channel. With a long history of building successful partner programs, Cowie joined Zerto this year to help fire up the company's channel sales efforts.