#14: Inspiring Microsoft Partners, with Kati Quigley

With the Microsoft Inspire Conference a short time away, I asked Kati Quigley, Microsoft’s Senior Director for Global Partner Marketing to sit down and help our listeners better understand her mission recruiting and inspiring partners, what’s in store for our listeners planning to attend Inspire in Washington DC July 9-13th and the personal and professional journey to Senior Director at Microsoft.

Kati and her team are part of the newly organized “One Commercial Partner Organization” and responsible for all things partner, globally and support an ecosystem of about 300,000 Microsoft Partners. Her work includes recruiting and enabling channel partners by increasing partner discover-ability and a two – way dialogue with Microsoft. Her team brings awareness to partners and their solutions and drives partner to partner connection. In our talk we discuss the digital tools her team utilizes to make the ecosystem smaller, connect and bring awareness and ultimately make the partner ecosystem as a whole – successful.

Kati’s team was responsible for relaunching the Microsoft Partner Community to simplify the “partner experience” and has organized the content to bring greater visibility to resources and communities of partners and the goal of helping partners grow their businesses with Microsoft. – https://www.microsoftpartnercommunity.com/

During the interview we discuss characteristics she sees in the best Microsoft channel partners and “grit” was a term she uses to describe what is important to success along with adaptability. We also discuss and dispel the common myth that “Microsoft doesn’t care” about its partners, the viewpoint that it’s difficult to connect and engage with the tech giant.

We shift gears midway in the episode to focus on the upcoming Microsoft Inspire Conference and the opportunities for the 15,000 partners coming to Washington DC July 9-13th. The event is enormous and chock full of great keynotes and content, as well as opportunities for partners and Microsoft to connect in order to grow the business together.  The “My Inspire” tool is one great way to search and connect for one-on-one meetings.

With over 560 sessions and a packed agenda, Kati’s advice is to plan ahead, but leave room for “unstructured connection time”. You can build your schedule for the event with the My Inspire tool. There are some great venues to just hang out for chance meetings. A best place to hang out and grab a latte or a cocktail is the Commons and within it – the Community Hub – a center of activity with participation from IAMCP, and Women In Technology. There are also “Ted-like” talks planned there.

In preparation for the trip, you might also want to read this great article – “3 Tips to Grow Your Network at Microsoft Inspire.”  by Dean Amintrout

As with each of my podcast guests, I offer listeners the chance to learn from the personal and professional journey of my guest and Kati’s journey is worth a listen as she moved from the events business into technology.

  1. Advice for someone you are mentoring – Pursue those things that you love – if there is something that is compelling to you – you can overcome other challenges that come up.
  2. Hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them – switching from events – making that career shift was somewhat difficult – wasn’t the obvious path – but you have to persevere. –
  3. Lessons learned – never too late to make a switch – you can continue to grow your career – make yourself uncomfortable – be comfortable being uncomfortable.
  4. Advice for those you are mentoring – “pursue something that you love – if you really believe at your core and it aligns with your values and interests, you’ll do better.”
  5. Role Models – Gavriella Schuster – Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Partners – can speak at great depth about the Microsoft business broadly – collaborative and open. Her ongoing advice is to ask questions and for clarity.
  6. Quote she lives by – Do something everyday that makes you a little bit scared – Eleanor Roosevelt.
  7. Advice she’d give her 25 year old self – “Take more risk!” – this one has been shared by at least 3 guests thus far.
  8. Another great quote – “A Balanced Life Works”.
  9. Two books she recommended:Medici Effect – Frans Johansoon.
  10. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking- Susan Cain.
  11. Her daily obsession – Going to the gym every morning at 5AM – “there’s simply no excuse to NOT go to the gym at 5 AM !”
  12. And her personal billboard, what would it say on it – “Always assume best Intent”. I absolutely LOVE this one !

It’s a really informative interview and I hope you enjoy it!

If you have not listened to the podcast, now is your chance by going to iTunes and subscribing or going to my website “Ultimate Guide to Partnering“.  Please review this podcast by going to iTunes and searching “Ultimate Guide to Partnering” and clicking on the album art and hitting the ratings tab.

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Thank you for following and listening.

Vince Menzione

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