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Report from the chair: Putting channel chiefs on the map

Channel Strategy
Fawn Annan

Fawn Annan

The Canadian Channel Chiefs Council (C4) began with an idea – let’s professionalize the position of channel chief and raise its profile, so it has the stature of a Chief Information Officer or a Chief Marketing Officer. Additionally, lets develop accreditations and best practices for channel chiefs, and spread the word that the channel accounts for 70 per cent of IT vendor revenue.

Nearly two years into this endeavour, the support of the community has been heartening and we’re off to a great start.

As I reported at our first annual general meeting last fall, we’ve recruited a who’s who of the Canadian channel to C4. Our executive committee includes CDN editor Paolo Del Nibletto as president, Susie Ibbotson of Navantis as secretary/treasurer and Lou Milrad from Milrad Law as legal counsel. I’ve been hard at work with this core group building this organization from the ground-up.

We welcomed our first board members last summer, with channel veterans Renzo DiPasquale of Avaya Canada (look for our Q&A with Renzo in this newsletter), David De Abreu of Cisco Systems Canada and Tara Fine of Dell Canada agreeing to lend their industry expertise to our endeavour.

This core group was soon joined by a great lineup of new board members, including Jodi Bonham from Eaton Industries, Hugh Nielsen from Epson Canada, Darren Gumbley from McAfee Canada now Intel Security, Mary Peterson from SAP Canada, Rob Stevens from Microsoft Canada, Fiaaz Walji from Websense, Donna Wittmann from VMware Canada and many other leading manufacturers.

We also brought Italia Corigliano on board as vice-president of programs and membership, and her tireless efforts have been critical to the success C4 has achieved to date.

A key early task was to draft our by-laws and approach to governance, as well as define our value proposition for our corporate members. We accomplished this through the creation of several committees with board members that could bring specific expertise to each area.

Our education committee, co-chaired by DiPasquale and Fine, led the request for proposals for a channel chiefs course to teach new channel executives the ins and outs of managing an indirect go-to-market model. The first course, Cloud Illusions, will run later on this year.

Another goal is to create a channel chief accreditation, and Ryerson University has already expressed high-level interest on working with C4 on this project – a huge vote of confidence in the C4 mission.

We also struck board committees for accreditation and for governance, and each have been hard at work putting the structure in place to grow the organization further.

In the months ahead I look forward to seeing our momentum continue to grow. The channel truly is a community, and there is so much we can accomplish when we work together.