Cherie Howlett

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Cherie Howlett

Marketing director, Jola

What was your dream career as a child?

I wanted to be a ballerina in the Royal Ballet and dance on the stage. 

What has been your personal highlight of 2019?

Winning the very first Comms Business, Women in Channel Award. I was up against tough competition, so was really thrilled to win. It was fantastic to be recognised for my contribution to the growth of Griffin and Jola over the last 15 years. They are both channel-only organisations, focused on helping resellers to grow their businesses, with products that are easy to sell and generate profitable, recurring revenues. We were the first to launch many industry leading propositions such as white-label managed broadband and more recently managed 4G, private 4G, Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams Phone System and eSIMs, a network-agnostic white label plastic or embedded mobile data SIM, designed to help MSPs compete with the mobile networks in IoT.

Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?

I wouldn't slap anyone but I do think that there are a few celebrities that could use their influence for good, but choose not to. I do worry about the impact of instant fame on the people involved, and the harm trolling can cause. Instant fame via reality TV or social media channels is becoming more attractive and I worry about the impact this is having on the career aspirations for future generations.

What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?

Items I wouldn't want to live without are my memory boxes, books, music and photo albums.

Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?

Like many people, I saw the growth of mobile data coming and the potential for MSPs and IT resellers to monetise mobile broadband, M2M and IoT solutions. We have partners in retail using our 4G SIMs for backup and digital signage, partners in security using 4G for CCTV and backup for door entry systems, partners in transport and logistics using 4G for Wi-Fi and in dashcams for buses, coaches and lorries, and traditional voice resellers using our 4G to package mobile broadband propositions for rural areas and construction sites.

What TV show have you binge watched this year?

Scorpion on Netflix. It is an American TV show based on the life of Walter O'Brien, who has the highest recorded IQ of 192 and his team of geniuses, who solve problems no one else can fix, for the US government.

How has 2019 been from a business perspective?

Great - we just won two prestigious industry awards for Best Wholesale Provider and Best Mobile Distributor. We have been expanding our SIM portfolio and were chosen by the Three mobile network to be their wholesale provider of M2M and IoT SIMs to the channel. We were the first to launch direct routing for the Microsoft Teams Phone System and are about to launch eSIMs. It has been fast-paced with high growth and we have attracted new talent into the industry from apprenticeship schemes and part-time working for full-time parents looking for a new challenge.

What annoys you most about your commute?

It takes 20 minutes up a dual carriageway, so I count myself lucky. Traffic can be heavy, especially in bad weather, but I also have the option to work from home, so I can't complain.

If you could witness one past event, what would it be?

I would like to go back and witness the birth of the universe, how it all began and how life on earth started. I am interested in evolution and how living things can thrive in the right environment.

How do you explain the channel to people?

I describe the channel as an amazing place to work. It's run by entrepreneurs spotting opportunities in the business communications market and delivering effective solutions. There is always new technology to learn and opportunities to take. It is an innovative community supporting UK business.

What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?

We are based in the Midlands, so it is great when events take place locally as it is less of a commute and easier to transport kit to. For me, the best conferences focus on the content. They offer panels, which provide balanced, current information and relevant suppliers to meet.

What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?

We need to adapt to thrive in changing market conditions. With the amazing growth of Microsoft Teams Phone System and Direct Routing, I think 2020 will be a challenge for resellers committed to hosted voice and a great opportunity for MSPs who are Microsoft-certified partners.

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