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CRN Exclusive: Cisco Americas Sales Chief Gleeson On Her Spiritual Journey, The Power Of The Channel And Her Decision To Leave Cisco

Matt Brown

Soul Journey

It's clear that Alison Gleeson reached her decision to leave her position as Cisco's Americas sales chief after a great deal of soul searching.

The 22-year Cisco veteran with a sterling reputation as an advocate for the channel announced in late May that she would leave the company. But months before making that announcement, Gleeson approached Chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins, and the conversation the friends and longtime colleagues had "was one of those conversations I'll remember for the rest of my life," she told CRN in a recent interview.

It was announced last week that longtime Cisco sales and channel executive Jeff Sharritts would take on Gleeson's senior vice president, Americas role.

Gleeson spoke to CRN upon her return from a trip to Africa, and the sales leader said she is in the midst of "an incredibly spiritual journey," one that is likely to see her continue, and even deepen, her commitment to education in Tanzania and Zambia, and also take on a leadership position at a tech start-up, or even a more established firm.

The channel is one of Gleeson's many passions, and here she shares her thoughts on how Cisco has been able to build and maintain its strong channel relationships and strategies, as well as the ways partners have helped Cisco evolve in a fast-changing technology market.

What follows is an edited excerpt of Gleeson's conversation with CRN.

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