Always find the right balance between operating globally and local culture
Anne Bourgeois has been Senior Channel Director at Fortinet for the last three years. She is responsible for the partner programme, channel operations, and channel marketing, across EMEA and APAC. Anne works closely with the heads of sales to ensure the channel gets the support it deserves. Fortinet is a vendor company with a 100% channel model. Being part of the channel organisation gives her a lot of satisfaction, as she builds the bridge between the direct touch approach and the channel partners.
“It is a really exciting job as Fortinet has been going through a massive transformation for the last five years. And therefore, it implies change management within our own organisation,” she says. Socialising the need to change and adapt across 80 countries spread across EMEA and APAC regions is sometimes challenging. And the way forward, she believes is to, “Always find the right balance between operating globally and adapting to local culture and local business requirements.”
Out of the different experiences she goes through, Anne finds putting together and building teams to be an exciting part of her job role. “Being able to create a team of individuals who have different characters and different skills, but who are able to work together to achieve a common goal is definitively the most interesting part of the job.”
An example of this team effort is how the Central Channel Team at Fortinet has created systems and processes to better assess the performance of reseller partners. Building the systems and processes to achieve this objective has involved data analysts, channel operations, and channel resources at different levels. The end result is Fortinet can now deliver an accurate assessment of channel performance to support the sales team in various countries and to better drive their business.
Anne believes at Fortinet she has a very good team that she can rely upon. But it is important that they feel they are important and a valued part of the team. “Because at their level, they are also going to be accountable for the success of what we need to achieve. I always like them to challenge my vision for the channel, and I value their input immensely,” she says.
Looking forward, pay as you use and pay as you grow, is expected to be a hot technology talking point. As cloud technology has matured in some parts of the world, Fortinet will help its end users and their reseller partners to consume security as they face a business environment that is borderless and requires constant agility. “We are a visionary security vendor so we need to deliver not only a technology answer, but also a new sales model to face these challenges.”
Has Anne faced gender bias across her career span? Her answer is no. “I think I am one of the few women who have been promoted every time I have come back from maternity leave. My employers have always been pragmatic. If they believe you are the best person to do the job, you will get it,” she explains. She has also been objective about how she has contributed to her employers, and has not felt disadvantaged as a woman.
What is her advice to aspiring women and men also. “Work hard and always be well prepared. Focus on both form and content to be recognised as an expert. If you feel you are not being acknowledged for your true work, find another position. Do not be afraid of change,” is what she recommends as a mentor.
Anne travels a lot for her work, so her time-off priority is to be with her husband and two children. She also enjoys cooking for her family and friends. “It is my personal recipe to relax and clear my head.”