35 Innovative Partner Ecosystem Leaders You Should Follow in 2021

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Last Updated on August 17, 2021

Leaders of partner organizations know adopting a partner ecosystem model is critical to growing revenue, growing innovation, and accelerating speed to market.  For example:

As partner ecosystem leaders, it’s our job to make the most of this tremendous opportunity in an increasingly competitive market.  

WorkSpan is the category leader in Ecosystem Business Management and, as a result, we are constantly in contact with some of the most innovative, forward-looking partner ecosystem leaders in the industry.

After publishing the wildly popular Partner Ecosystem Leaders You Should Follow in 2019, we’re back with a new list for 2020. We’ve been excited to share our list and celebrate leaders and innovators demonstrating partner ecosystem success every day for their organizations.

So, without further ado, here is our list of 35 Innovative Partner Ecosystem Leaders You Should Follow — 2020 Edition. Follow these ecosystem leaders advancing the art and science of managing business ecosystems.

Our List – In Alphabetical Order:

 

Greg Adgate, VP, Global Partnerships & Alliances, Equinix

Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and the Ecosystem Aces Community.

About Greg:

Greg is a veteran technology professional with experience creating and leading teams for channel, alliance, marketing, and sales programs. He specializes in solution co-creation, packaging, use of analytics, creating and executing go to market, demand generation, and sell-through with multiple alliance, sales, and partner channels. Greg focuses on understanding and articulating how business value is linked to technology buying decisions, communicating with business leaders in their terms, and nurturing plans aligned to company vertical segment strategies.

Content We Love:

Greg often shares network success and thought leadership on his Twitter and LinkedIn, but we were impressed by his participation in the Equinix Partner Webinar Series, where he provided insight into what data is showing about the COVID-19 crisis and how businesses need to adjust to the new reality rapidly and efficiently. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

In his nearly 11 years at Equinix, Greg has developed a reputation for his expertise in solution selling, go-to-market strategy, managed services, and strategic partnerships. He is one of CRN’s 2020 Channel Chiefs for the second year in a row, which applauded him for spearheading Equinix’s strategy to develop alliances with large technology players and provide industry thought leadership to partners. 

Mark Allinson, Strategy & Business Development Director, Vodafone

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Mark:

Mark joined Vodafone in 2007 as a member of the leadership team that created Vodafone Global Enterprise, and subsequently led Vodafone’s $2.2bn acquisition and integration of Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Mark leads Vodafone Business Strategy & Development, the team responsible for Vodafone Business strategy and the acceleration of initiatives such as new sales channels, M&A, and strategic partnerships. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Mark is a member of the Vodafone Group Senior Leadership Team and holds several board positions within the Vodafone Group. Colleagues say he is highly skilled in strategy, account management, and service delivery.

Jyoti Banda, General Manager and Global Head of Partner Ecosystem Unit, Wipro

Follow her on LinkedIn.

About Jyoti:

Jyoti is a Wipro veteran with over 25 years of global experience at the company, where she has held numerous leadership roles including P&L leadership, sales leadership, practice leadership, and alliance building. A result-oriented leader, she has significant strengths in setting a vision, building strategy, market making, and sales in the infrastructure services business, including new age models such as cloud and consumerization. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Jyoti is multi-disciplined, holding degrees in physics and marketing/finance. Her colleagues say she is highly-skilled in managed services, cloud computing, and business development. 

Eugene Banks, Vice President – Head of Partnerships & Channels, Ericsson

Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and the Ecosystem Aces Community.

About Eugene:

Eugene has 20+ years of IT industry experience managing services P&Ls, channels & alliances, partner programs, and pre-sales in Fortune 500 high tech companies. At Ericsson, he is accountable for shaping global strategy for enterprise software and services, while overseeing the development of 2000+ technical and sales consultants. Eugene has also led twelve acquisitions and integration of their services portfolios valued at $40M to $350M.  He has an extensive entrepreneurial track record building, operating, and scaling joint business ventures with alliance partners and developing partner programs, resulting in increased profitability, quality, and time to value of client engagements.  

Content We Love:

Across Twitter and LinkedIn, Eugene consistently keeps his followers up to date on all things 5G and IoT. Eugene was a panelist for our September Ecosystem Cloud Summit event on these topics,  and we love the content showcasing how powerful 5G and connected networks can be: 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Eugene is a proven Innovative thought leader on IoT, 5G Telecommunication networks, Big Data & Analytics, storage, networking, infrastructure management, and cloud computing. Colleagues highly regard him for his skill in cloud computing, enterprise software, business alliances, and partner management. 

“[Eugene] has a solid understanding of the partner business, including contracts, competitive rates, growth models, business needs, reporting, to name a few, which he uses to both tactical and strategic advantages. He is able to clearly communicate his knowledge to others to promote the understanding and value for utilizing partners.”

– Vera Lawson, Experience and Resource Manager, Optiv. 

Mike Bruchey, Global VP Partner Solutions, SAP Global Partner Operations, SAP

Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Ecosystem Aces Community.

Watch an Ecosystem Aces Community interview with Mike.

About Mike:

Mike has over 30 years of experience working for hardware, software, and consulting organizations. He started in various sales, sales management, and alliance positions, and worked his way to holding Director and Vice President level positions at several leading software and services companies. Mike has been with SAP since 2007, and currently, his team is responsible for developing and executing GTM activities with SAP’s strategic system integration partners. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

As an industry veteran, Mike is highly regarded for his expertise in solution selling, product marketing, and strategy development. Stephen Timms, CRO of Device42, shared that Mike is “A real believer in the value of partners, and a down-to-earth, most likable person, who demonstrates fairness and integrity with every engagement. He gets it done, and delivers exactly what he promises.”

Phil de la Motte, VP, Business Development & Technology Alliances, F5 Networks

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Phil:

Phil is an award-winning leader of strategic alliances with expertise in identifying early pivots in the tech industry, building strategic partnerships, and empowering sales and marketing to deliver record revenue growth. An expert at developing and leading highly effective organizations of business professionals, architects, and engineers, he’s been recognized as a top performer and thought leader. Phil describes himself as “obsessed with leveraging data for decision making and improving operational excellence.”

Accolades and Expertise: 

Phil is very skilled in all things partnering, with numerous endorsements in business alliances, cloud computing, and strategic partnerships. He helped F5 become Red Hat’s Top APAC ISV Partner 2020 award winner, and his work has resulted in numerous partnership awards from companies like VMware, Cisco, and EMC. “Phil possesses a unique combination of excellent partnership development experience, in-depth technical knowledge, and strong business acumen. He is meticulous, energetic, and has the right mix of a strong leadership presence and communication skills to negotiate complex deals to completion.” -Satya Vardharajan, Sr. Director Strategic Alliances – Global Partners, HPE

Mark Enzweiler, Senior VP of Global Channels & Alliances, Red Hat

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Mark:

At Red Hat, Mark is responsible for developing and executing global partners and alliances strategy and sales execution. He has been in the partner industry for  25 + years with IBM, Lenovo, and now Red Hat, partnering with many of the most influential companies in the IT industry. He has been fortunate to experience every aspect of the partnering model, from strategy, sales, and marketing through global GM roles. While challenging, Mark believes that working with partners is the most rewarding role in the industry. 

Content We Love:

Mark shares thought leadership on Red Hat’s blog, and we appreciated his post reaffirming Red Hat’s commitment to its partners during the unprecedented times of COVID 19. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

With nearly 15 years under his belt at Red Hat, Mark is well-regarded by colleagues for his outstanding business alliances, strategy development, and channel sales skills. Jack Griffin, a tech startup CEO, shared that “Mark is one of those enthusiastic, professional people with whom doing business becomes a pleasure. With Mark, things happen and go in the right direction.” 

Karl Fahrbach, Chief Partner Officer, SAP

Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Karl:

Karl leads SAP’s world-class channel organization, supporting partners through digital transformation and transition to the cloud. His philosophy establishes a transparent, consistent, and mutually beneficial relationship with partners. He has helped launch programs that increase partner profits, such as the SAP PartnerEdge Cloud Choice and the SAP Anywhere Referral Program.

Content We Love:

Karl consistently shares content about modern partnering ecosystems through his Twitter and LinkedIn pages. He believes that the customer experience and the partner experience are tied together, and a good partner experience is key to delighting customers. With 2020 moving everything from business processes to events online, Karl has embraced the change and offered his perspective, such as how SAP is making it easier for partners to participate in SAP’s ecosystem. For this reason, he ranks once again on our list of Partner Ecosystem Leaders to watch.

Accolades and Expertise:

Karl leads a global team at SAP and focuses on growth for his team members. One of the hallmarks of a good leader is empowering their organizations to take on and own a strong vision and execute it well. Karl’s interpersonal skills have stood out to his associates. 

“One of the most natural and empathetic leaders I have had the good fortune to work with and for over the course of my (very lucky) career. A true artisan and craftsman of the highest regard, Karl leads with empathy, humility, commitment, and trust. Karl is a true channel and growth visionary whom I’d recommend anyone who has the chance, to work with, for, or around!”

— Marc Monday, Managing Director GTM, Citrix

Cecilia Flombaum, Worldwide Lead – Business Applications Partners, Microsoft

Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Cecilia:

Cecilia is an advocate and a believer in ecosystems as a way to help people and companies achieve more. Her team plans Microsoft’s partner ecosystem needs for business applications worldwide, accelerates their ecosystem, and executes plans through their global partnerships. She has been with Microsoft for nearly 20 years, where she drives partner recruitment, enablement, go-to-market, and sales plans and execution across Global partner teams and field partner teams across the world. Cecilia is responsible for developing, inserting, and communicating Microsoft’s cloud business strategy within the enterprise customer segment. It entails developing sales business models, synergizing with other technologies and roles, and building how they measure success.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Cecilia returns to our list as she continues to champion the ecosystem community at Microsoft through events like Microsoft Inspire and Discover Dynamics 365, as well as with us in WorkSpan’s Ecosystem Aces podcast. Cecilia has led strategy and management for more than 400 people in over 50 countries while developing and managing a channel partner ecosystem. A crucial part of her job is providing her partners and team members with the tools they need to do their jobs. In addition to this, Cecilia is skilled in cloud computing, business intelligence, solution selling, and partner management.

Bronwyn Hastings, SVP Worldwide Channel Sales & Ecosystems, Citrix

Follow her on LinkedIn.

About Bronwyn:

A dynamic global leader with over 25 years of experience in the IT industry, Bronwyn fosters strategic relationships that drive a modern, intelligent, and market-changing employee experience for Citrix’s customers. She builds high-performance teams for a scalable and agile organization, aiming to unlock human potential and create a competitive advantage by applying transformative technology. Her expertise spans partner & ecosystem management, sales & marketing leadership, M&A integration, global business practices, software & hardware strategies, solution selling, operational efficiency, and international business including in-depth knowledge of the Asia Pacific region. 

Content We Love:

Bronwyn is a champion of diversity in every sense of the word, posting regularly about gender equality, workplace inclusion, and neurodiversity. She has also aided Citrix in moving their partner events virtually and shares their insights on LinkedIn.  

Accolades and Expertise: 

Bronwyn was named one of CRN’s “Women of the Channel 2020” for her leadership in partnering, and is endorsed over 100 times for Strategic Partnership skills. She is highly rated for being able to foster successful business alliances, selling the right solutions, and develop go-to-market strategies. 

Sandy Hogan, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Commercial and Partner Sales, VMware

Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Sandy:

As Senior Vice President at VMware, Sandy leads a high-energy team focused on building a best-in-class partner ecosystem and generating explosive growth and value. While she joined VMware this year, she has been a player in the tech industry for over 18 years, leading multiple outcome-based, go-to-market models that have transformed how organizations sell and partner, deliver customer value, achieve above-market growth, and scale.

Sandy’s team is one part of a transformation she is spearheading at VMware to cultivate, create, and deliver fast innovation. She aims to arm customers with the ability to combine and connect to technologies in unexpected ways for a more impactful transformation of their business.

Content We Love:

Sandy shares about how she aims to revamp the VMware ecosystem strategy to include a “partner-first” culture in this Channel Futures Q&A.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Sandy is a true veteran in the field, known for her skills in overall strategy, go-to-market strategy, and business development. Kirk Mitchell, VP of HERE Technologies, writes, “Sandy is a rare leader – she applies ‘Team One’ principals to her brand of leadership where she is constantly coaching and driving her teams to exceed their potential. Can think of no better leader to drive transformation and change.”

Kevin Ichhpurani, Corporate Vice President, Head of Global Ecosystem and Business Development, Google

Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Kevin:

Kevin expertly builds world-class teams and incubates new businesses. He is a leader in strategic planning and business development, ecosystem development, M&A, complex OEM sales, and developing new monetization models and routes to market. As the head of Global Ecosystem and Business Development for over 3 years, Kevin truly understands how to create a cooperative environment, even in a hyper-competitive market.

Accolades and Expertise:

Kevin returns to our list as he leads the organization driving the tremendous growth of the Google Cloud Ecosystem. His ideas offer a fresh take on a solution, but he’s not just a visionary. He’s also committed to the follow-through. He’s been endorsed over 100 times for being skilled at strategic partnerships, with colleagues like Patrick Bakey, President and CRO at SAP, saying: “Kevin has the rare ability to develop innovative strategies and bring them to market with speed and flawless execution. Really impressed with his ability to drive an entrepreneurial mindset within a complex global organization.”

Bo Jensen, Head of Partner Operations, Nokia

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Bo:

Bo leads the Partner Operations unit for the Nokia Enterprise business globally, responsible for the strategy, framework, IT platform, and operational support required to build a strong and attractive partner ecosystem to enable the continued growth of the Nokia Enterprise business. Since joining Nokia in 2001, Bo has acquired strong international leadership experience in the Telecom industry and deep knowledge across most operations disciplines. 

Striving towards establishing an “easy to do business with” partner set-up, Bo focuses on building strong collaboration across the partner ecosystem to drive partner/customer value and business growth. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Through his career in global and market roles, Bo has held leadership positions covering procurement, supply chain operations, demand & supply planning, distribution, order management, performance management, quality & continuous improvement, and strategy. His colleagues regard him highly for his skills in supply chain management, procurement, and change management. 

Jason Johns, Senior Vice President, Global Alliances & Channels; member of Executive Leadership Team (ELT), Software AG

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Jason:

Jason leads the global alliances and partner organization at Software AG. The trusted brand has a long-established business with over 10k customers and a robust group of Fortune 1k customers relies on Software AG to solve their business problems. He focuses on investing in partners, providing strong profitability while developing their skills through established training programs. Jason’s team works directly to align with partners in the field for co-sell opportunities and provide certifications for partners to lead delivery engagements.

Content We Love:

Jason has posted blogs showcasing how partnerships can lead the way in uncertain times, for many businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve. In particular, we liked his piece highlighting Microsoft’s partnership with Software AG showcasing how digital transformation is one step companies can take to address the pandemic’s challenges. Jason was a featured panelist for our Ecosystem Cloud Summit event in June of this year, where he discussed how to prepare for next-gen ecosystems using an integration-first approach. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

As head of the global alliance and partner organization, Jason is an expert in solution selling, enterprise software, and go-to-market strategy. “[He] is a well-rounded IT executive who is able to leverage his sales, marketing, and operational background to develop and drive execution joint business strategies. Jason pushes those around him to be more strategic in their actions and planning, encouraging others to explore innovative ways to take advantage of business opportunities and meet ever-increasing customer demands.” – Jeff Salanco, Director Cloud GTM, Tech Data

Colleen Kapase, VP WW Partner & Alliances, Snowflake

Follow her on LinkedIn.

About Colleen:

Colleen has built a career in partner sales strategy that spans over 20 years. She has developed a deep understanding and focus on partners’ strategic importance to a technology vendor’s sales success. Prior to Snowflake, she led the growth of partner programs at VMware from a few hundred partners selling a single product to a 75K+ strong global partner ecosystem selling 100s of diverse products and solutions. Collen is known for architecting economics-driven strategies, working with sales execs to evolve programs and incentives to meet changing company needs, and driving ROI reporting.

Content We Love:

2020 has not slowed Colleen and her colleagues down at Snowflake one bit! She and her team have been building the Snowflake Partner Network all year, and it was exciting to see her host the Snowflake Virtual Partner Summit in June. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Colleen is a team builder, which makes her stellar in a channel role. She has been recognized as one of CRN magazine’s Power 100 Women of the Channel for nine years and recognized in CRN’s Top Channel Chief List in 2016 and 2018. Colleen’s expertise in managing people and understanding professional relationships has led to glowing endorsements from her colleagues for strategic partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and sales enablement. 

Jagan Karuturi, VP, Cloud Developer Services, IBM Watson & Cloud Platform, IBM

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Jagan:

Jagan oversees IBM’s ecosystem relationships with global systems integrators (GSIs), and is responsible for delivering tools and technologies for creating microservices and continuous delivery of cloud-native applications. Jagan leads the strategy, engineering, design, and product management teams to bring together the overall developer experience in IBM Cloud (IBM Bluemix).

Content We Love: 

2020 has been the year of digital transformation for many, and IBM’s hybrid cloud ecosystem is helping companies do just that. Jagan shared in this blog how GSIs can benefit from joining IBM’s ecosystem of partners to offer quality, tailored solutions to customers.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Jagan is a Vice President at IBM, where he has spent the entirety of his nearly 30-year career that spans the globe. He is known for his cloud computing and enterprise software skills, and holds a Masters in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.  

Leona Kral, Strategic Partnerships & Business Development, Verizon

Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Leona:

Leona is a bicultural, Multilingual, Strategic Alliances Professional with 11 years of experience with partner programs at Verizon. She specializes in partnership management and business development, alliance and channel marketing, partner programs, change management, and business transformation. Her current role has Leona leading a portfolio of strategic partnerships focusing on innovation in 5G and MEC.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Leona has led many alliance teams, and is a champion of the alliance management profession as a member of the ASAP (Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals) Board of Directors. Her colleagues have endorsed her for her expertise with strategic partnerships, strategy, and business development. 

Catherine Kniker, DVP, Global Head Corporate Development, PTC

Follow her on LinkedIn.

About Catherine:

Catherine is a results-oriented senior executive with a successful track record in strategy, corporate development, marketing, product management, channel sales, and P&L management. She’s currently responsible for driving PTC’s strategic and technology partner strategy and execution. Catherine has over 20 years of executive leadership within organizations and as a consultant to senior management across multiple technology and health industries. She is adept at focusing organizations on important strategic issues, organizing to assess root causes, and rapidly identifying and implementing solutions. 

Content We Love:

Catherine regularly shares success stories with partners and thought leadership on LinkedIn. We enjoyed her posts on the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) in leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, and celebration of women in technology.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Known for her strength as an operator, Catherine is an excellent communicator, employee mentor, and motivator. She’s widely respected for her skills in strategic planning, marketing strategy, business development, and mergers/acquisitions. 

Chris Lamborn, Head of Global Partner GTM & Programs, NetApp

Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Ecosystem Aces Community.

About Chris:

As the Head of Global Partner GTM & Programs, Chris is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s Global Partner go-to-market strategy and the supporting ecosystem programs and investments. His motto is “You can’t build a sturdy house without a solid foundation, nor can you build a successful business without one.”

Chris works with partners on determining the structure and focus of their own businesses while actively working to solve the challenges faced by their customers during this time of rapid digital transformation. Utilizing his extensive experience working globally in operations, marketing, and finance, he leads his team at NetApp to achieve the best for themselves and their partners.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Chris is a respected leader with extensive experience working with global partners and proven success in partnering to deliver incremental revenue and profitability. With over 5 years under his belt at NetApp, he helps manage the Channel Partner ecosystem that forms the foundation of their business, supporting and contributing over 75% of the company’s revenue. Chris is widely endorsed for his skills in channel partners, solution selling, and partner management. 

Bob Lord, Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications, Blockchain and Developer Ecosystems, IBM

Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Bob:

Bob has had a storied career in the marketing and technology space, having held executive-level positions for over 20 years. Currently at IBM, he manages a $4B ecosystem portfolio, including IBM’s Supply Chain, IoT, and Talent product lines. Bob and his team run IBM’s Developer Ecosystem and The Weather Company. He shares that “Making a difference for clients and their bottom lines, and helping them communicate with consumers like never before — that’s where I get my energy.”

Content We Love:

Bob has nearly 30k followers on Twitter where he shares the best of IBM, including this recent piece about how IBM is joining efforts to create one million jobs for Black Americans.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Throughout his career, Bob has been recognized by AdAge and Adweek, TED, and Forbes for his thought leadership around digital marketing technology. He is well-respected for his expertise in digital marketing and digital strategy, business development, and strategic partnerships. 

Pat McNallan, General Manager, Global Strategic Partners, Intel

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Pat:

Pat is responsible for Intel’s major strategic partners’ global strategy to accelerate sales and grow overall markets through the prominent use of Intel technology-based solutions. His 27-year career at Intel is supported by extensive product marketing, multinational account sales, people management, enterprise business development, and channel leadership.

Accolades and Expertise: 

As an expert of all things Intel, Pat has garnered respect in the industry for his skills in solution selling, business development, and go-to-market strategy. He works closely with Fortune 500 enterprise customers to build and manage programs globally. With that experience, Pat shares that “My passion is leadership and mentoring to bring the best out of people to achieve their goals.”

Susan Nash, Senior Vice President, Strategic Corporate Alliances, VMware

Follow her on LinkedIn.

About Susan:

Susan is a business executive with VMware for over 10 years. Susan has grown several organizations rapidly and is a very experienced executive leader that can develop companies and take their products to market. She has been an executive at other large technology companies like EMC, Perot Systems, and HP, as well as CEO of Voyence, a software company that grew under her leadership until its acquisition in 2007 by EMC. 

At VMware, Susan is responsible for global strategic alliances, strategic system integrators/outsourcers, strategic technology partners, strategic independent software vendors, and cloud-native application development partners. This group generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Susan is a member of the International Women’s Foundation Board, the Dallas Women’s Foundation, the Arts Board at Georgia Tech, and previously held board seats on the Advisory Committee of Grant Thornton, and at the University of Southern California for the Marshall School of Business. She is highly recognized for her expertise in strategy, enterprise software, and strategic partnerships. 

Tracy-Ann Palmer, Vice President Partner Programs and Experience, VMware

Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn

About Tracy-Ann:

Tracy-Ann is in a new role as Vice President of Partner Programs and Experience at VMware, but she’s no stranger to partnerships and alliances. Her resume includes positions at AWS, Rackspace, Cisco, Salesforce, and more. What connects all her experiences is the belief that “Driving transformation is in my DNA. I will take the path of least traveled to solve the most complex problem and transform the most complicated organization.”

Accolades and Expertise: 

Over the course of her 13 years working with partner programs, Tracey-Ann has garnered numerous recommendations and endorsements, including skills in business development, cloud computing, leadership/team building. Honey Trabitz, who worked with her at Salesforce, shares that “over the last 5 years I witnessed Tracy-Ann’s passionate advocacy for the partner community first hand. She not only served them well on the current projects, but developed and nurtured those relationships, ensuring solid foundations for their continued success and growth.” 

Dan Rippey, Director, Partner Programs & Experiences, Microsoft

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Dan:

Dan is a computer scientist with an MBA who leads an engineering team in a Sales & Marketing organization. Imagine a world when the engineers sit next to the operations team, who sit next to the marketers, who sit next to the business strategists… a full chain of custody & accountability within a 50 meter radius. Bottom line = Dan loves his team and his job.

Dan has contributed a billion USD to Microsoft’s top-line revenue. Returned $20M to Microsoft by removing complexity in the systems/tools that service their customers & partners. Saved EMC² from software bugs that would have otherwise knocked their storage management systems offline. Built custom server hardware (pre-Cloud) for missile defense researchers at MIT. As a member of the US Army Reserve for 13 years, Dan has also led teams in combat on foreign soil.

Content We Love:

Dan shared the stage at this year’s Association of Strategic Alliance Partnering Global Partner Summit event with Amit Sinha, in a keynote session titled “Microsoft P2P Program – Leverage the Power of Ecosystems for Growth.  We also love that Dan shares his experience as a longtime member and currently Chief Operations Officer (O-4/Major) of the US Army Reserve — thank you for your service Dan!”

Accolades and Expertise: 

Christopher Hillmann, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Kaplan lauds Dan as a results-oriented leader who has outstanding business acumen and unlimited future potential. He easily negotiates problem-sets that his peers struggle to solve.”

Keith Prince, Managing Director – Global Market Development, Dell

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About Keith:

Keith is an accomplished leader with proven experience in building high-performance teams and developing new businesses. He is particularly proficient in complex deal execution, business development, designing and implementing new commercial models/structures for both direct and indirect routes to market. At Dell, Keith is accountable for a global team executing new business models, programs, and GTM with its top global partners and alliances to exceed revenue and market share objectives.

Content We Love:

Keith sat down with us virtually as one of our panelists for our Ecosystem Cloud Summit last June, where he shared how Dell’s co-innovation efforts with partners drive critical differentiation in the market, and shares some learnings on how Dell manages and measures – partnerships. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Having been with Dell for over 18 years, Keith has earned a reputation for his skills in managed services, strategic partnerships, and partner management. Another tech veteran, Tom Dungan, shared that “Keith is highly skilled technically and from a client interactive perspective. He also leads with a comfortable and upbeat style, which makes people want to work with him and drive positive results.”

Tom Roberts, Global Vice President, Software Solutions Program, SAP

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About Tom:

Tom has 20+ years of experience in both strategy and execution. He envisioned and built the SAP Solution Extensions (“SolEx”) business at SAP, which is growing 89% YoY with over $1B in revenue. Throughout his career, he’s created long-term relationships with major ISV software brands both on-premise and in the cloud, which help to complete SAP’s own solution offerings and are integral to SAP’s intelligent enterprise strategy.

Content We Love:

Tom is a champion of all the partners in his ecosystem and regularly highlights their offerings on LinkedIn as #IndustryCloud solutions. He also has provided thought leadership around the importance of partnering in the age of the “New Normal.”  Tom also joined us earlier this year at our Ecosystem Cloud Summit event, sharing experiences he and his team have had building innovative solutions for customers working with a strong ecosystem of complementary Solution Extension partners.

Accolades and Expertise:

Tom returns to our list as he celebrates 15 successful years of the SolEx program at SAP. As a senior executive, Tom has grown not only SAP’s business but also the careers and skills of those on his team. Many of his associates praise his thoughtful leadership, willingness to listen, and ability to provide win-win solutions in many different scenarios. 

Tom is one of those colleagues that brings a good deal of clearheaded reasoning to the team. As a leader, he is a problem solver with a constant eye on the “win/win” for his clients and his firm. He blends his calming presence with a strong vision for the future, and we see this in how he leads his teams steadily down the path of continual improvement. ”

— Susan McNally-Wilde, Managing Partner at Garrett Bay Partners LLC

Marc Rolfe, Senior Vice President, Global Business Development and Ecosystems, SAP

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About Marc:

Marc is a Senior Vice President at SAP, where he has worked on developing their ecosystem business since 2017. A high integrity and client-focused global leader with 20 years of experience, Marc exceeds sales and business development goals for leading Enterprise Software and Business Services organizations. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Marc is highly skilled in enterprise software, business development, go-to-market strategy, and strategic partnerships.

“Marc is a leader amongst his peers as demonstrated with consistently good judgment, a collaborative attitude, and high energy. He was the best amongst his peers at all of his jobs ranging from strategic alliances to collaborative go-to-market programs to global account management.”

– Gregg Carman, CRO at Humanyze

Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President One Commercial Partner Channel Chief, Microsoft

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About Gavriella:

Gavriella has provided over 20 years of leadership in digital and cloud transformation roles, driving strategy and execution spanning from business model and product development to launch, marketing, sales, and partner development. She has led global recruitment, enablement, and engagement in Microsoft’s fast-growing partner ecosystem.

Content We Love:

A leader in promoting diversity in tech, Gavriella continues to drive the industry forward and open up paths to inclusion. She recently gave a TED Talk sharing her vision for gender equality in technology. At Microsoft, she is an avid supporter and promoter of Woman In Cloud, a community-based organization that aims to accelerate growth for #WomenInTech.

Accolades and Expertise:

Gavriella continues to be at the forefront of partner ecosystems, championing the business practice as imperative and providing thought leadership around the future of partnering. Her colleagues have recognized her for her skills in cloud computing, go-to-market strategy, enterprise software, product management, and more. Her championing of diversity and inclusion sets her apart as an industry leader, landing her a spot on our list once again. 

Vaughn Stewart, VP, Technology Alliance Partners, Pure Storage

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About Vaughn:

Vaugh is a Vice President at PureStorage, where he has worked for over 7 years. During his tenure, he has led the service provider and global systems integrator teams, and currently leads the technology alliance partner organization. Vaughn shares that he was “forged in Detroit, refined in Silicon Valley.”

Content We Love:

Vaugh has over 11k followers on Twitter and runs his own website, where he curates and archives content on all things tech, from cloud computing and analytics & AI to market trends and PureStorage updates. We appreciated this video from this year’s virtual VMworld, where Vaughn talked about improvements to VMware’s Cloud Foundation that helps drive the partnership with PureStorage. 

Accolades and Expertise:

A technology industry veteran of over 20 years, Vaugh is highly respected. He has been endorsed over 100 times for his expertise in storage virtualization and cloud computing, and over 80 times for business alliances. He holds a US patent for cloning virtual machines, and has written in numerous publications for VMware. 

David Stone, Vice President and WW General Manager for HPE Strategic Alliances, HPE

Follow him on LinkedIn

About David:

David’s career includes a diverse set of experiences ranging from managing a global P&L, McKinsey consulting, driving operational excellence, developing growth strategies, and executing complex partnerships. He has a passion for driving impact caused by digital disruption. His industry experience ranges from technology companies, services-oriented companies, public sector, and electric utilities. He is most recently in charge of the strategy, development, and execution of HPE’s Global Ecosystem, which partners with over 20 GSIs and ISVs. 

Accolades and Expertise:

David is responsible for worldwide partner strategy and execution. As such, he’s tasked with building a world-class team that can deliver on these partnerships and provides guidance and oversight to keep the programs on track. His colleagues have noted his extraordinary skills in bringing those expectations to fruition. David makes our list once again as he continues to guide the ecosystem strategy at HPE expertly, and you can hear his insights in our December Ecosystem Cloud Summit. 

Tom Stuermer, Global Managing Director, Google Business Group, Accenture

Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Tom:

Tom leads Accenture’s global Google practice, one of the fastest-growing partnerships in Accenture’s history. Tom is responsible for driving growth through digital marketing, cloud solutions, AI+Data, and industry vertical solutions. Accenture has been at the forefront of all the latest research around ecosystems —- and they are making good on that research by building a world-class ecosystem organization called Accenture Cloud First, a $3 billion investment. Prior to his current role, Tom drove a dramatic transformation for Accenture’s clients as Global Ecosystem Director through joint innovation and market development. 

Accolades and Expertise:

Tom is on our list once again because of his dedication to building and expanding partner ecosystems. Throughout his career, Tom has been involved in partnerships in a variety of industries, from aerospace to medical equipment and consumer electronics, to high tech and communications. His diverse experience has built his reputation and recognition of his IT strategy, business process improvement, business intelligence, and strategic planning skills.

Oliver Tuszik, Senior Vice President, Global Partner Organization, Cisco

Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Oliver:

Oliver leads the global partner organization for tech giant Cisco, where he’s worked for nearly 8 years. As an executive and engineer, he possesses a curious, open mind to help their 60,000+ partners succeed through their own edge, utilizing their singular, unique expertise. He works with talented teams to solve complex business problems with innovative technology, aiming to have a lasting impact.

Content We Love:

Oliver regularly shares insightful content on LinkedIn, and his Twitter account has garnered over 4,000 followers. Recently, he helped Cisco put on their digital Partner Summit, which featured 24 hours of programming so partners anywhere in the world could watch on local time.

Accolades and Expertise: 

At Cisco, Oliver has gained a reputation for tackling any challenge with diverse, out-of-the-box thinking, and developing strategies for growth. He’s widely endorsed in managed services, cloud computing, and IT management/strategy, and was one of CRN’s 50 most influential channel chiefs.

Jose Van Dijk, Vice President Partner Performance & Operations GPO, Cisco

Follow her on LinkedIn.

About Jose:

Jose is an operations executive with nearly 24 years of global experience directing strategic corporate initiatives, developing operational plans, and achieving revenue performance targets. She has been with Cisco for most of her career, where she has led critical transformation initiatives, developed visionary corporate strategies, and managed the daily business of their partners. Jose has deep industry experience in operations, supply chain, logistics, and customer service management for global, high technology companies. She is a creative and trusted leader who thrives on transforming operations and driving innovations to grow businesses.

Accolades and Expertise: 

Jose has been recognized by CRN as a 2020 “Channel Chief” on its list of “Women of the Channel 2020.” She is rated highly for her aptitude in go-to-market strategy, management, and cross-functional team leadership, showcasing her natural talent for collaboration. Her colleagues say she is a world-class leader. 

“Jose has an innate ability to organize and execute even the most complex strategies. She is extremely proactive and has extremely good judgment in navigating the organization at any level in order to remove barriers and enable transformation. She always carries the company’s hat on even in the most trying of circumstances.”

– Nina Lualdi, Vice President, Product Readiness and Business Evolution, Cisco

Dave Wilson, Senior VP, Head – Infosys Partner Ecosystem, Infosys

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Dave:

At Infosys, Dave is responsible for extending current alliances, designing new partnership models, partnering relationships, developing new channel business lines, and an overarching global business partner management system. 

Content We Love:

Dave was a featured speaker in our first-ever virtual Ecosystem Cloud Summit this past March. He shared his thoughts on how to evaluate the value of partners and why digitizing partnering processes is vital to measuring the health of your ecosystem.

Accolades and Expertise:

Dave returns to our list of Partner Ecosystem leaders because of his success in implementing an “Agile Digital” strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the ecosystem marketplace continues to evolve and rapidly change, successful alliance and partner managers should be able to drive their business forward quickly and efficiently. In addition to his ability to develop new partnership strategies, colleagues say Dave’s skills include cloud computing, sales, and leadership.

Tom Zimmerman, Vice President – Business & Channel Enablement, Verizon

Follow him on LinkedIn.

About Tom:

Tom is a technology sales and operations executive with 20+ years of experience delivering innovative, value-based results in wireless and IoT. With over 11 years under his belt at Verizon, Tom has a proven track record of leadership success cultivating best practices, developing employees, implementing strategic initiatives and process improvements that drive business development and employee experience. In May, he joined partners in the channel with his new role as VP of Business & Channel Enablement, bringing along his wealth of knowledge to the partner space. 

Content We Love:

This year Tom has been highlighting small business success stories in the face of COVID, and provides thought leadership around corporate social responsibility, such as this post from June about racial justice. 

Accolades and Expertise: 

Tom’s experience in the industry shows as he has over 100 endorsements for his skills in Direct Sales and Sales Operations.

Moving Forward

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this year’s list of innovative ecosystem leaders!  Honestly, there are so many impressive leaders that have emerged driving ecosystem value for their organizations that we had a difficult time deliberating on who should stand among the best and the brightest. 

It’s become clear that for businesses to scale their ecosystems and ecosystem-sourced revenue, it’s critical to have innovative leaders like these to help forge new pathways to ecosystem success. Make sure to follow, engage, and join these leaders in the conversation on the growth of business ecosystems!

Chip Rodgers
Chip is passionate about building strong customer/partner communities around enterprises to amplify brand and market impact. Prior to WorkSpan, Chip was with SAP for over 13 years, most recently growing the SAP Community Network to over 2 million engaged customers, partners, and developers. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago and an engineering degree from Northwestern.

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