CRN recognized two top Rackspace leaders yesterday as part of its prestigious Women of the Channel list for 2018, Vice President of Channel Sales and Channel Chief Lisa McLin and Azure Strategic Alliance Manager Dena Marean.
Lisa is responsible for strategy and execution, growing partner relationships and propelling organizational revenue, while serving as a visionary, servant leader who strives to elevate others.
She’s known for mastering the development of high-velocity sales organizations, focusing around a repeatable sales process and methodologies, while owning accountability for profit-generating programs, and building alliance and partnership strategies across North America’s market segments. Lisa develops strong winning teams and is heavily invested in mentoring and advancing the careers of those around her.
Prior to her role as channel chief, Lisa served as vice president of sales, leading Rackspace’s commercial install base with small business and mid-market sales segment. With her deep expertise in strategic sales, service delivery and business management. Lisa is known for her ability to engage the C-suite, assess enterprise opportunities and build cross-organizational strategies that drive customer satisfaction and revenue profitability.
Check out Lisa’s profile on CRN here.
What does being named to CRN’s Women of the Channel mean to you?
I am truly honored. I believe it highlights the importance of diversity in the channel and in tech. Diversity of thought, experience and culture brings the best ideas forward to drive innovation, company growth and an overall better customer experience. This is a passion of mine and I have the pleasure of serving this mission as executive chair for our largest Rackspace Resource Group, POWER (Professional Organization for Women Empowerment at Rackspace). I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Texas Conference for Women, which focuses on professional development.
Rackspace recently expanded its Partner Program. Why?
We’re seeing a real transformation in the Channel, Partners are wanting to serve their customers through digital transformation, and we see a strategic benefit to serving partners who want to serve their clients through this journey. Our new partner program goes deep with Partners who making the shift in selling services to their customers that include a cloud strategy. We are investing in enablement tools to give our partner access to key solutions to serve their clients, technical and sales resources in the field, as well as continued education around cloud and current trends.
What are you hearing from partners?
Overall, partners are pleased with our investment and commitment in the Channel. Partners offered great feedback as we worked to update the program, including through our new Partner Advisory Council. Most of the feedback centered around enabling partners to create a joint Go To Market strategy around the value propositions of an unrivaled portfolio, reliability, unbiased expertise and Fanatical Support. They also asked for certification programs, for new solution selling and new offerings to help their clients.
This is the second time CRN has named Dena to its Woman of the Channel. Rackspace scooped her up just four months ago, and today she’s focused on driving growth through our alliance with Microsoft, a legacy that began in 2001 when Rackspace began supporting Windows in our managed hosting business.
As Azure Strategic Alliance Manager, Dena works closely with our Microsoft partner teams, field sellers and leadership, driving alignment and building new relationships to create and execute initiatives that drive joint success in this rapidly growing business unit within Rackspace.
Today, Rackspace offers managed services on Microsoft Azure, one of the fastest growing hyper scale clouds in the industry, with one of the strongest pools of technical Azure talent in the world. Our experts hold more than 1,000 technical certifications, allowing them to assist customers in operating, scaling and optimizing their Azure cloud environments. Our deep bench of expertise has led Microsoft to name Rackspace its Microsoft Hosting Partner of the Year five times, more than any other partner.
Dena loves working with field sellers, and alliances in particular, with the goal of creating fanatical experiences between those sellers and Rackspace. Listening is key to her success, as it allows her to understand mutual goals and offer valuable support.
Before coming to Rackspace, Dena spent 20 years in Alliances at Microsoft, VMware and Equinix to name a few. She has worked with partners on all aspects of building and executing joint go to market strategies. She goes beyond what she is asked to do by focusing on building and measuring her impact and how it helps others meet their goals.
A Seattle resident, Dena is active with Sisters on the Fly, a “glamping” (glamourous camping) organization that supports local charities like Casting for Recovery. The charity offers fly fishing experiences for breast cancer survivors. She spends many weekends and sometimes even remote work days glamping in her 1968 Airstream. She’s also a member of Rackspace POWER.
Check out Dena’s CRN profile here.
What does being named to CRN’s Women of the Channel mean to you?
It is a very exciting time for women at Rackspace and in our industry. Working alongside other women in technology, I am always inspired to see other women lead with their strengths. It makes me feel very lucky and pushes me to work harder at listening and learning. It is an honor to be in the company of such an elite group of female executives in the Channel and alongside Lisa McLin.
What are you hearing out in the field that customers are asking of partners?
Microsoft sellers are bringing opportunities to Rackspace to drive management and optimization. Many customers are still unsure how to take full advantage of the cloud, and how much they should be spending. We see daily requests for our expertise on how to help our partners’ customers understand what makes up their usage spend. Rackspace can help uncover that data and advise on how to drive the most return on investment in the cloud investment. Customers also frequently hire Rackspace to take over managing and optimizing their Azure cloud, as well as migrating more workloads to help fully leverage the power of the cloud.
How does the way customers buy from Microsoft impact how we partner?
It has become even easier. Microsoft has listened to customers and shifted its model to provide pricing for monthly cloud usage billed via its Cloud Service Provider program. Whether a customer has an enterprise agreement or wants to buy through the Cloud Service Provider program, Rackspace drives the value of the customer’s investment in Microsoft Azure by bringing in a Rackspace team to fully understand business outcomes, map a plan, assess, design and migrate workloads.
Learn more about the Rackspace Partner Program.