As senior director of National Partners, Debra Sperling draws from her more than two decades in the channel to oversee National Partner sales for NetApp in the United States. In recognition of her accomplishments, CRN honored Sperling as one of the 2016 Women of the Channel. We sat down with Debra to learn more about her accomplishments at NetApp and her advice for young women in the workplace.
Can you tell us more about your role at NetApp and what you recently accomplished?
In overseeing National Partner Sales for NetApp in the U.S., I am actively engaged in finding meaningful ways to grow the business with our partners. To maximize joint partnership investments, I developed a predictable yet flexible performance-based funding model that is customizable for each partner and complements their go-to-market strategies for NetApp technology. This performance-based funding model is used to support the sales, technical, and marketing activities that serve to drive the business. Partners have responded overwhelmingly positive to this customized planning for how it allows them to invest in ways that they know will work best for their companies.
What advice would you give to young women aspiring to succeed in the workplace?
There are three critical things that I believe they should focus on:
- Have passion for what you are doing
- Find a strong mentor
- Develop your personal brand
Who is your role model/mentor and why?
I am extremely fortunate to have worked with very successful women throughout my career, and while I look to them for business advice, my role model is my mother. She is a strong woman and the anchor of our family. She raised three children, worked, and always had time for family, friends and her favorite sport – golf. Even though we live far apart at present, she is always there for me and is the first person I go to for advice. She listens and shares her opinion or advice; truly helping me to make the best choices for my family, my career and me.
How does NetApp support women in the workplace?
NetApp is supports women in the workplace in a number of ways, most notably through the company’s Women in Technology (WIT) group. The group’s mission is to support and foster the development of women at NetApp by providing a forum for mentoring, networking, communication, and professional development. WIT members are active in volunteer activities that support women in our communities and they encourage young women who enter into STEM education fields.