As the vice president of Global and Strategic Alliances at NetApp, Maria Olson ensures partners and the alliance ecosystem are ready to capitalize on the innovation NetApp introduces to the market so that partners can, in turn, drive transformative outcomes for customers. Over the past year Maria spearheaded several initiatives that strengthened the NetApp partner and alliance ecosystem and in recognition of her accomplishments, CRN honored Maria as one of the 2016 Women of the Channel, also including her in their Power 100 list.
We sat down with Maria to learn more about her accomplishments at NetApp and her advice for young women in the workplace.
Q: Can you tell us more about your role at NetApp and what you recently accomplished?
I’m a passionate advocate of empowering NetApp partners to deliver greater customer value in this increasingly digital era.
Recently NetApp celebrated the five-year anniversary for FlexPod, a joint product with Cisco, which has generated more than $6 billion in revenue for us and for our channel partners. To continue this momentum, I worked on a new program with Cisco called “FlexPod Advantage.” This program offered channel-ready campaigns, incentives, events and training to help our more than 1,000 partners grow. We also worked with our largest distributor, Avnet, to develop FSA One Frameworks. This collaborative solution offers reseller partners a new, high-velocity sales motion for quoting and shipping a family of pre-validated, pre-integrated FlexPod solutions. I’m also proud to say that we received two awards from Microsoft in the Modern Data Center. The wins highlighted our partnerships and featured Cisco, Dimension Data and Scalability Experts.
Q: What is top-of-mind for you and NetApp alliances over the next year?
It is important that we continue to deepen our commitment to strategic alliance partners and lead with alliances through robust programs and outcome-based customer initiatives.
Technology is always changing and in order to enable our channel to expand, we will continue to invest in solutions that enable organizations to leverage the hybrid cloud. I am spearheading and representing NetApp in the new Storage Builders Program with Intel where we are working alongside other industry thought leaders to develop the next generation of storage solutions.
Q: What advice would you give to young women in the workplace?
Find a mentor or an advocate-the earlier in their career the better. At NetApp I am grateful to be surrounded by forward-thinking colleagues who participate in the mentoring and women in technology programs. Mentorship and advocacy can play a huge role in helping a person manage their career and gain valuable perspectives. A mentor or advocate’s years of business experience and personal career lessons can help an individual refine their skills and see help give them confidence to reach their full potential.
To view the complete list of CRN’s 2016 Women of the Channel, visit their website here.