We’d like to introduce you to some of the people from around the world who make us who we are at Progress. In this post, meet Joan Groleau, a senior director of global partner programs.
Joan Groleau found herself at Progress again in May of 2019 after the company acquired Ipswitch. She had worked at Progress from 2006 to 2011 as the director of worldwide partner marketing, and when she transitioned back from Ipswitch, she recognized a lot of names and faces within the Progress walls.
Bringing with her years of marketing experience and after leading Ipswitch’s North American channel business success, she was ready to take the lead and start building a global partner program at Progress. What is it like being senior director of global partner programs at Progress? Read on and find out.
That’s a good question because it’s not something you really go to college for. Looking back, I think my professional journey started with a mentor. I was an Executive Assistant at BBN Technologies, working with brilliant pioneers of the internet.
I had the privilege of spending 15 years working in several roles with organizations such as NASA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It was on the NIH software project where I had the opportunity to expand into marketing.
From there, I moved over to our new commercial division brought on from an acquisition by GTE—Genuity. At Genuity, the partner journey began. I was approached by the newly appointed VP of Channels one day and she invited me on a walking meeting with her around the building. On our walk, she pretty much convinced me to work in channel and build out a new partner marketing organization to complement her partner sales organization. She brought me in as a mentee and I worked alongside her while learning about the marketing perspective.
Having her as a mentor really started my career path.
Fast forward, I joined Ipswitch in 2015 as their director of the North America channel, which was a sales role, and that eventually led to this global partner program position at Progress with the acquisition. So, it’s been quite the journey, and I am truly lucky. I’ve been able to work with great, smart people in my life who are really good at what they do.
I think the easiest way to describe it is to think about walking into Whole Foods to buy Sumo oranges. Now Whole Foods didn’t grow those oranges, someone from, say California or Japan, grew those. Whole Foods acted as the reseller to the end user. I work with people to sell our software to end users like Whole Foods partners with farmers to sell their oranges to customers.
I think it was one of the easiest acquisitions I’ve been through for a few reasons. I used to work for Progress, so I recognized some names and faces of employees I previously worked with, and I also understood Progress as a company. It was nice to see friendly faces at a familiar company.
Another thing that made the transition easy was the vision Alan Komet, VP of sales operations, and Gary Quinn, SVP of core product sales, had for this global partner program. I love building partner programs, and their vision and commitment made me excited to get to work. We started working on the program in June, right after the acquisition, and I’m happy and proud to say we completed it in November starting an internal rollout and then launched the program externally in January.
Finally, as we built this global partner program, I was amazed at the strong matrix organization at Progress. We hit every deadline we had because of the efficient work completed by multiple employees in various departments, and that certainly made the transition easy as well.
What’s exciting to me is being able to use all of my experiences and skills in this new position. I’m selling, marketing, and the front man for Progress with our partners engaging with them to work with us and succeed together.
Being able to work with people at Progress who are experts in their fields, bringing global business and cultural expertise to the program is fantastic.
It means a tremendous amount, it really does. But it’s not about me, it’s not about building my resume; it’s about Progress and my team. With this acknowledgment, people are seeing a Progress employee on the same list as Cisco, Dell and Microsoft employees. Also, it gives my team something to be proud of.
I honestly find myself working more than relaxing these days, but I do my best to always spend Saturdays with family. You can find me hiking with my family or playing golf; anything to be outside, really.
You can also find me at home cooking with my family: I love our home in Framingham. Our house was built a few years before the Revolutionary War so there’s a lot of really cool history that took place in and around our house. George Washington definitely slept in our house. And there may be a few ghosts still in residence.
I can tell you for certain what I would be doing: I would be a special needs teacher for the deaf. I still would like to do that at some point.
Danielle Sutherby is a senior communications specialist at Progress, where she supports Progress’ employer brand efforts, raises awareness of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) and inclusion and diversity (I&D) efforts, assists in PR activities, and strategizes employee engagement activities worldwide. Danielle is also the co-founder of the first employee resource group at Progress, Progress for Her, which aims to empower women at the company by providing leadership and networking opportunities. When she is not at work, you can find her writing, reading, or acting like a tourist in her own city.
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