20 Fictional Characters Channel Chiefs Identify With
When the realness of the world gets to be a bit too much, there's nothing better than escaping in the fantasy world of a good book or movie. And the cornerstone of any good piece of fiction is a protagonist or supporting character that puts the work over the top.
As part of the Channel Chiefs 2017, we asked the honorees to tell us about their favorite fictional character and what it is about that persona that really resonates with them. Here is a sample of our favorites.
Director of Partner Relations
My favorite fictional character is Jay Gatsby of "The Great Gatsby." Gatsby demonstrates that hard work does in fact pay off. He epitomizes the American dream in that ones' drive is enough to overcome a low position in society, to achieve power and greatness. His experiences, however, also teach us control and moderation, to realize our limits in situations out of our control with those that we love.
VP, Global Channels
Santiago in Ernest Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" would certainly be a favorite. I seem to be drawn to characters that struggle and lead a hard existence. Santiago is a favorite because of his struggle to prove his standing as a fisherman after teaching others to become fishermen themselves. I think of his desire to pass along the nobility of his profession to the next and see parallels in parenting, coaching and teaching.
VP of Alternate Channels
I like Gandalf from JRR Tolkien's "Lord of The Rings" trilogy. He was keenly aware of his environment and had a great sense of the future. He was a reliable friend and you could always count on his assistance in good and rough times.
Amazon Web Services
VP, Worldwide Partner Ecosystem
Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder version). Wonka had an incredible vision for creating innovative products that delighted his customers and he was incredibly inventive and innovative in his processes for doing so. And he richly rewarded Charlie for being honest.
Sandra Glaser Cheek
VP, Channel Programs
Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird." He fights where no one else is willing to, and stands resolute in the face of racism, ignorance and violence. As a parent, he is patient and understanding. He is one of my favorite fictional characters because he represents morality and reason. He knows what is right and acts on that knowledge, even though it makes him unpopular. He reminds us that, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
VP of Business Development
My favorite fictional character is Columbo. He is very unassuming, humble, smart, funny and also well respected. It is very hard to wrap all of these traits together in business or even in life for that matter. While my wardrobe choices don't involve wrinkled raincoats, I pull for the underdog and that is a role where Columbo excels. What people miss is his diligent approach and key attention to detail, which are key requirements for any successful professional.
VP Channels & Alliances
Jason Bourne is my favorite fictional character because he is perpetually challenged in situations where the path to safety and completion of his mission are not clear. He is faced with limited information, even regarding his own existence, yet he is relentless in attempting to determine how to accomplish immediate tasks and to utilize what he does know to succeed overall.
Director of Business Development
Larry David's character in "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The fictionalized neurotic, curmudgeon version of David is absolutely hilarious to watch. I believe David's stubbornness in social situations taps into some things we've all thought about and maybe not realized. Luckily, social niceties tend to take precedence over us acting on them like David does.
Senior Director of Worldwide Partner Program & Sales Business Development
Rocky Balboa. The amount of challenges he overcame, such as the David vs. Goliath scenario in "Rocky IV." The amount of dedication he put into his success - fictional or not, it's all very inspiring and easy to relate back to competition in life or at work in any industry. You have your David's and your Goliath's in all facets of life, but what determines your success as a person or as a company is how dedicated you are to succeeding and how hard you are willing to work for it. Rocky depicted that in a way that truly inspired me.
Senior Director, Channel Marketing & Programs
Philip "Lip" Gallagher from "Shameless." Lip's ability to succeed and persevere through the chaos of his family, his poverty, his relationships and his many mistakes makes him an admired fictional character for me. He's got that special personality that combines wit, grit and wicked honesty that has everyone rooting for his success and jumping in to help him when he hits any bumps in the road, which he has seen more than his fair share of. Lip's also protective and unwaveringly loyal to his family.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
VP & GM of North American Channels & SMB
Sheriff Woody from "Toy Story" is my favorite fictional character. First of all, he's the guy everyone is rooting for. Woody wins the trust and loyalty of all the other toys and brings out the best in all of them so they push beyond their abilities and accomplish feats they never thought they could. Woody is strong-willed, he has vision and really connects with others. His drive and commitment is contagious and lets him motivate loyal and committed exploits from all the others.
IFS North America
Director, Partner Alliances
MacGyver. Impressive problem solver even in the toughest of circumstances and with minimal resources. As we are all challenged to do more with less, we need to be creative in our approach to solve the business issues facing both vendors and partners alike.
Andy Dufresne from "Shawshank Redemption." The story of a banker convicted of a double homicide, Dufresne, maintains his innocence and finds a way of surviving 19 years of harsh prison life, all the while creating an unlikely bond with fellow convict Ellis "Red" Redding. Andy is inspirational in so many ways and in some great quotes, including: "I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy dying." He persevered. He inspired. He led.
D'artagnan from the "The Three Musketeers." He is passionate about his convictions, he is focused on his goals, he won't let anyone stop him from achieving them, and he has strong leadership qualities.
President & CEO
My favorite fictional character is likely Dorothy Gale from the "Wizard of Oz." Growing up I enjoyed the movie and admired this take-charge character.
Throughout the story she was the epitome of courage, dedication, strength, kindness to others and hope, never really faltering. She faced many obstacles along the way, but through much perseverance she made it through, helping and inspiring many along the way.
VP America Sales and Operations
When I was a kid [it was] The Six Million Dollar Man, Steve Austin. "The Six Million Dollar Man" was the first show in the seventies that centered around technology, emergence of the computer age, NASA and the potential to look to the future on how society can realize technological advancements. This clearly had an influence on my choice to select computer science as a major, which ultimately led me to this fantastic industry.
VP, Global Channels
John Keating, the teacher from "Dead Poets Society" (portrayed by Robin Williams), because he questioned the status quo, inspired young minds and found new approaches that led to better outcomes with his students. We need more people like him!
EVP U.S. Channel Sales
Gordon Gekko from the film "Wall Street." A noteworthy quote from Gekko is, "What is worth doing is worth doing for money." So, if your product is worth the price, people will buy it. It is then our job in the channel to market it and sell it.
Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. I loved " Wonder Woman" when I was growing up. I wanted my own invisible plane to fly anywhere in the world whenever I wanted. No more security lines, no more delayed flights. And the truth lasso. Wouldn't that be a great productivity tool? I can hear myself now, 'have a seat, let me lasso you and ask you a few questions.'
VP of Channel Sales, North America
Holden Caulfield (from "The Catcher in the Rye"). He taught me how to grow up in a world that doesn't change based on my expectations of it. As we continue to look inward versus outward, we often find what we seek and our view of the exact same situation can be drastically different with the proper attitude and perspective. He also re-iterates that solving every problem yourself is not possible and most importantly, no way to live.