Mary Whittle says she never anticipated that she’d work in the technology industry; however, her 22-year career in the field was made possible as a result of working for a travel-related marketing firm.
“We had an in-house agency, so we did marketing-related functions and activities and also dealt with vendor relationships and management,” Whittle said. “I was also responsible for training and the go-to-market strategy with the vendor into the partner community.”
Whittle worked at Ingram Micro for 12 years before deciding to try her hand out at being an entrepreneur.“I did a dot-com startup called comfortshopping.com in 2000 after I left Ingram Micro,” she said. “It was a high-end online gift boutique. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work that didn’t take off. Back then, it was tough to make a consumer-based business on the Internet because there weren’t enough online shoppers.”To augment her work, Whittle said she also did some consulting work for IT-related companies. The work she did eventually landed her a job at Symbol, which was acquired by Motorola in 2007. At Motorola, Whittle served as the director of worldwide distribution business development.
In January 2009, Whittle joined Avaya Canada as its director of channels. Most recently though, Whittle’s role has expanded and now she’s the director of worldwide channel development for the company.Whittle says being in global position in her career is something she’s always wanted to do.
“This was a great break for me to get this opportunity and it made me realize this was something I wanted to do,” Whittle explained.
Since joining Avaya last year, Whittle says the company had about 37 per cent of its overall business going through the channel. By the end of last year that percentage increased to 66 per cent.
“Avaya is still in its infancy in terms of channel centricity and we realize we have to move quickly to catch up with our competitors,” Whittle said.
But if there’s something she’s learned over the years, Whittle says in the technology business, it has a lot to do with operations and simplifying and bringing products to market to make it easier for the channel to sell solutions and services.