Barb: I have held a diverse set of roles prior to joining Polycom. I participated in a work-program dating back to high school which led me into great opportunities with large companies such as Alberto-Culver and Polaroid. I held positions in administration, operations and accounting to learn all aspects of the business eventually leading me into marketing and sales. I moved from Chicago to Northern Virginia in 1994 and was offered a job with a Polycom reseller. I was the ninth employee and performed in a variety of roles with great leadership mentoring me into management. I loved proposal writing, customer demonstrations, and executive briefings, which ultimately led me to leap into field sales. I started on the federal sales team and while I “loved to fish,” I enjoyed “teaching others to fish” even more. With my tenure and success, I began to lead the federal sales team and expanded to East Coast and eventually the nationwide sales organization. My diverse background, great mentors, and desire to continue expanding my experiences led me to Polycom.
I have enjoyed a variety of positions and managers during my nine years at Polycom. I began as a strategic channel manager on our federal team to establish and grow a system integrator line of business. It was an exciting new focus that allowed me to leverage existing federal experience but learn quite a bit with Polycom management on establishing a new program. After a couple years, I was promoted to Director of Federal Channels and helped launched our very first Federal Certification Program. The success across several regions, partner communities and markets provided me with great experience leading up to a promotion to VP Channels, Americas in 2013.
Q: Please tell us about one woman in technology that inspires you.
Barb: Luanne Tierney, Senior Marketing Executive, Fortinet inspires me. I met Luanne at a Women in Leadership Forum a couple years ago and she immediately inspired an entire room. She is an obvious leader in her craft but it became clear that she spends an equal amount of time focused on the development of future leaders. Her ability to dynamically present to a large audience with a personal touch is impressive.
Q: What resource, organization, book or tool would you recommend to your colleagues and or peers?
Barb: I have enjoyed Darren Hardy’s, The Compound Effect. As the publisher of Success Magazine, he shares how every small achievement can accumulate into a compounded success rate. There typically isn’t a single, glorified win that allows you to claim success. You have to work at success every, single day. I was able to apply his theories into my own life and achieve better results.
Q: Please provide professional advice to women currently working in or aspiring to work in technology.
Barb: Women tend to hesitate or put off pursuing the next level in their careers due to thoughts of self-doubt. I always say, don’t underestimate your value and always measure your contribution to highlight your achievements. If you see a business problem, take ownership to identify the root cause, recommend a solution and show the likely ROI to the business. Own the execution of the plan and leverage cross-functional team members. You should always advocate for yourself.
Q: How is Polycom evolving to better serve and work with partners?
Barb: With the new global partner program as well as enhancements to other initiatives, Polycom has improved our enablement resources to help partners position Polycom and displace the competition. We’ve significantly increased the caliber of training and competency development curriculum through Polycom University and our channel SE organization. We also have to make it easier for partners to do business with us. We spent a lot of time last year improving processes, the partner portal, Polycom University and we are introducing new tools this year to improve this accomplishment. We are engaging partners in joint business planning that align with our priorities and their objectives to ensure we achieve growth in 2015.
Q: Are we due for a fundamental change in channel strategies, or will 2015 be more of a time where organizations tweak their strategies to match others who have been successful?
Barb: Fundamental, probably not, everyone has been talking about cloud for quite some time yet; no one has made the change as quickly as we thought. Partners need to address the changing needs of the customer. Some partners have evolved their offers based today’s market drivers, while others have been hesitant to change, and or do not yet know how they’ll evolve to remain successful.
My gut says that a bigger percentage of the portfolio will be service led and service oriented. I think there will be some attrition and evolution; some partners are doing well because of their historical success in growing their business in a millstone sort of fashion, such as making an investment in Lync and then continuing with video services as a service (VaaS) or new hybrid models.
Q: What role will channel partners play in the work place of the future. What advice do you have for them?
Barb: The future is about workflow, work process and user experience. Partners will need to adapt their sales pitch to address the customer with those three aspects of the business. Many partners have very good relationships with big decision makers. We’re encouraging partners to build those relationships and turn that contact into a hero. Show customers how technology can be leveraged to solve their business problems. One of my favorite sayings is, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” There are so many opportunities that by asking questions and showing the customer what’s possible, you create a solution they never imagined.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Barb: My husband and I have raised four wonderful children together and we spend as much time with them as possible. We have three in college and one graduating high school this year so we are almost empty-nesters! We finally have a chance to travel more and we bought a beach house in Delaware where we try to spend most of our weekends inviting friends and family to join us.
Q: Give us one fun fact about you?
Barb: I’m a thrill seeker; my best Mother’s Day present was a weekend riding roller coaster and bungee jumping with my then 15-year old daughter. I will go skydiving someday soon!