What was your dream career as a child?
I really wanted to be a vet or livestock auctioneer. I grew up on a farm so I spent a lot of time sat in auctions and with vets and was in awe and inspired by both.
What has been your personal highlight of 2019?
Workwise, it was watching Satya Nadella's keynote at Inspire 2019. He's a great speaker and very inspirational.
Personally, I'm a director on the board of the Greater Manchester Academies Trust and this year one of our schools, Manchester Communications Academy, was given a ‘good' rating by Ofsted. I'm incredibly proud of everything that we've achieved despite the tough social and economic challenges that the school faces. We were rated ‘Outstanding' in areas relating to student development and welfare, which was the icing on the cake.
Which famous person deserves a (gentle) slap?
Jeremy Clarkson - while I'm a huge advocate for people having an opinion and voicing it, I like this tempered with politeness and kindness, and he fails so often on this.
What two things (apart from family) would you grab if your house was on fire?
My first would be my pre-digital photo albums as they contain so many precious memories, which are obviously not backed up anywhere.
Second would be my handbag as it's packed full of important and useful stuff. Let's just say I'm not a minimalist when it comes to handbag contents!
Which of your 2019 predictions have come to pass?
That summer wouldn't be as good as 2018 and that the B-word would continue to dominate so much of our time.
What TV show have you binge watched this year?
Peaky Blinders. I love everything about it.
How has 2019 been from a business perspective?
It's been largely as expected but the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has been apparent.
What annoys you most about your commute?
Speed limits and, this year, flooding.
If you could witness one past event, what would it be?
The building of Stonehenge. I'd love to see how they did it.
How do you explain the channel to people?
This feels a bit like trying to explain the offside rule. It's clear in my head, but not so easy to put down on paper. In a nutshell, it's a group of organisations that a manufacturer works with to sell and distribute their products to end users, rather than doing it directly.
What have been your favourite and least favourite partner conference destinations?
My favourite has got to be Microsoft Inspire. I was truly inspired by their vision and their tools for collaboration. If there's one thing I took away it's that it's not enough for companies to just find more ways to take advantage of technology; they need to broaden their thinking to include new ways to adopt and use technology. Satya Nadella gave a fantastic keynote - what a leader!
I don't have a least favourite.
What is the biggest challenge facing the channel in 2020?
Ensuring we have the right skills, systems and processes in place to make the shift from being a channel that sells product to the selling-as-a-service model.
Emma de Sousa will replace Wolfgang Ebermann as EMEA president on 1 January 2021
HPE merged its sales divisions in the UK last year
David Meads takes over from Scot Gardner
Sarah Shields to become channel chief for Austria, Switzerland and the Nordics
Red Hat CEO James Whitehurst has also been appointed company's president
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