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The ANZ Elevation Tour: Igniting a Passionate Partnership Community

Chip Rodgers

Over the course of two weeks in late March and early April 2023, WorkSpan and Partnership Leaders combined forces to co-host events and meetings with many partner leaders in the top technology cities in Australia and New Zealand: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Auckland.

We called the events “The Elevation Tour, to elevate the feeling of community across the ANZ region and act as the catalyst to gather even more partner leaders over the coming months.

We had over 200 partner leaders register and 125 join across the 5 events - wow, what a great turnout!  LinkedIn was abuzz over the two weeks with over 115,000  impressions, 1,000+ likes and hundreds of comments from the community following along. 

And check out the companies that joined the events. The 125 partnership leaders that joined represent some of the greatest tech companies globally and in the ANZ region. So many great logos we had a hard time putting everyone on a single slide together. 

All About Partnerships!

From start to finish, conversations were about partnerships. 

  • What are best practices for partnership leaders? 
  • What does a great partnership leader look like? 
  • What does a great partner program look like? 
  • How do I get the most out of my partner program?  
  • How do I measure and prove value for my partner program?  

In short, all of the questions we think about every day - and the reason we are coming together to support each other as a community of like-minded professionals and leaders. 

To put some of these topics on the table, we had awesome panels of partner professionals join in Sydney and Melbourne sharing their experiences, challenges, and learnings as partnership leaders.

Our Awesome Sydney Panel

In Sydney, our panel included three tremendous women in partnerships including:

Moderated by Des Russell, Chief Partnership Officer at Investible Partner, the panel focused on their careers in partnerships, the role of a partnership leader in today's economic climate and the skills required to navigate these turbulent times and build for the future ahead.

Terrific Panel in Melbourne

In Melbourne, we heard from two senior leaders bringing a depth of experience to the sessions that showed in the conversations:

  • Basem Emera, Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships & Alliances at Go1 
  • Simon O’Day, Chairman and Co-Founder at The Lumery

Moderated by Chris Samila, Co-Founder and Chief Partnership Officer at Partnership Leaders, the conversation centered around partner co-selling and ways to align objectives with your partners, building repeatable processes, building trust with partners, and solving problems when they come up. All good meaty topics we work through everyday. 

So Much Learning from the Community

We learned a LOT!  The opportunity to connect with partnership leaders and grow this community is unlimited. This was our first jump into the region and we are just getting started!  

To boil it down to some main learnings, you might say:

  • There is tremendous energy and enthusiasm in Australia and New Zealand for partnerships and developing a partnership community
  • The region is a powerful force for technology and software innovation with over 20 current startup unicorns - many expanding outside the market becoming globally recognized brands like Canva, Atlassian, BigTinCan, Go1, Xero, MYOB, Yellowfin, SimPro, CampaignMonitor, and others.
  • In addition to Australia-born companies, there is significant presence in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne of large tech companies including ISVs and GSIs. 
  • Partnership Leaders already had 55 members in ANZ prior to the events - with easily expected growth to 200 and more within the year.
  • Australia and Singapore are primary locations to headquarter partnering organizations for the APAC region
  • Large markets in APAC include: ANZ, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India, China, Japan.
  • There is nothing but opportunity to grow the community of partnership leaders in the region to help each other and learn from each other.

There’s so much opportunity ahead for partnering - LET’S GO!!

This Was a True Community Effort

The tour was a combined effort by Partnership Leaders, WorkSpan, and tremendous support from two amazing partner leaders and community members based in Australia - Bryan Williams, Founder, Hockey Stick Advisory and Desmond Russel, Chief Partnership Officer, Partner Elevate. 

We literally could not have pulled off the events without the tireless effort and support of Bryan and Des working for many weeks to connect to the right people in the region, find and book the right locations, and help bring the energy and excitement with partnership professionals in Australia to make the events a success. 

Thank you Bryan and Des!

And of course, thanks to my partners in crime, Asher and Chris!  Asher Mathew, Co-Founder and CEO, Partnership Leaders and Chris Samila, Co-Founder and Chief Partnership Officer, Partnership Leaders have created something special with Partnership Leaders along with their co-founder, Tai Rattigan. 

Partnership Leaders is an active, engaged, and growing community of partner leaders connecting to help each other and build a stronger community around the world. 

Our time in Australia only showed how this movement of connecting partnership leaders has no boundaries and will continue to build and grow going forward!

We Tried to Keep it Lively Along the Way

We shared the experience on LinkedIn with photos and videos over the course of the two weeks.  Here are a few samples - feel free to comment, like, and reshare!

How About Some Pictures!





Chief Partner Officer

About Chip Rodgers

Chip is passionate about building strong communities and ecosystems around enterprises to build excitement for the category, deliver value for customers, and grow the business. 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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