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The Top 25 Newsmakers of 2006 – Number 15: BEA Canada Linda Whelan

She builts a reseller channel from scratch and mades a name for BEA Systems in Canada

Before this year BEA Systems was one of those far away sofware vendors that the Canadian channel had a hard time connecting with.

BEA had been operating here for about six years, but for the first time the parent organization gave the subsidiary autonomy. In the past the Toronto office reported to the company’s New York office, while BEA’s western Canadian office checked into the corporation’s headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

The company started dabbling in the channel about a year ago. It got serious about building a reselling base when it hired former Oracle Canada vice-president of technology sales Linda Whelan to be its country manager.

Under Whelan’s direction, BEA Canada put a small channel strategy together with go-to-market routes through large system integrators such as CGI, Xwave and Accenture.

Whelan quickly realized that BEA Canada needed more VARs to handle the SMB market here.

“We are for the most part a mid-market in Canada,” she said in an interview earlier this year.

“There are 55 or 60 (staff) of us in Canada and 10 of those are sales-facing. For me to get the depth and breadth, coast-to-coast, I need to partner.”

And that she did.