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Cisco Marketing Velocity and Partner Summit 2016: Get to Know Who’s On Stage

February 29, 2016 - 2 Comments

Here we are about to kick-off Cisco Marketing Velocity and Partner Summit 2016!

Are you ready?

Personally, it’s great to finally be here in San Diego where I get a chance to see our partners, put some names to faces and catch up with those I’ve met before.

Speaking of names and faces, whether you are in San Diego watching in person or following live via Virtual Partner Summit (be sure to register!), you will see some new faces on main stage this year from the Cisco leadership team – as well as some faces you know in new roles.

Wendy Bahr, your new Cisco Partner Summit host, sat down with me at the end of 2015 about the changes here at Cisco since Chuck Robbins took over the CEO chair last spring.  You’ll see in more detail this week how many of these changes were made to enable our partner ecosystem to succeed and profit in a rapid and dynamic digital market. We’re shifting quickly, so we can act based on the demands of our current world, and driving success for your (our) customers is at the center.

There’s an amazing amount of success we can cultivate with our powerful partner ecosystem. When Wendy kicks-off our flagship partner event tomorrow, I think you will hear from everyone on stage a unified story that defines our success going forward.

Let’s take a closer look at some of those names and faces you’ll be seeing on stage.

I dug up some facts about our execs that you probably didn’t know. The week will be chock-full of great networking and business talk, and you can always find their career bios and business credentials. But what fun is that? Let’s arm you with some real conversation starters in case you run into them off stage next week or any other time for that matter (listed in order of appearance).

Marketing Velocity

Karen Walker, SVP and CMO

KWDid you know Karen has a chemistry degree? Now how many CMO’s can you say that about?

She also loves making fresh flower arrangements to give as gifts and for around the house. I guess we can say there’s a chemistry there.

And being from Sunderland, England she is fiercely passionate about football and her hometown team Sunderland AFC of the English Premier League.

Follow @KarMWalker   |   Bio

Michelle Chiantera, Sr. Director, Global Partner Marketing

MCMichelle makes what she calls a mean “gravy” – aka red pasta sauce – that has been in her family for years. Let’s just assume she’s not sharing that one.

She also practices hot yoga to ground herself mentally, but not when she’s making the gravy, I’m guessing.

Michelle is a dog-lover and recently rescued a mix breed named John Cash – she likes John’s music too!

Follow @MichChiantera  |  Bio

Partner Summit Day 1

Wendy Bahr, SVP Global Partner Org.

WBAt age 13, Wendy won a gymnastics competition. I’m impressed. Cartwheels on stage perhaps?

If she could have any talent in the world, it would be the ability to sing. Singing and cartwheels on stage? Even better!

Wendy also loves to snack on popcorn.

And my favorite fun fact about your Partner Summit 2016 host: She loves fly-fishing – a skill she actually picked up via former CEO John Chambers at leadership meetings in Alaska!

Follow @WyBahr   |   Bio

Chuck Robbins, CEO

CRWhile this is his first as CEO, Chuck actually attended his first Partner Summit in 2000. Don’t worry Chuck, we won’t do the math on how many years that is (16).

In middle school, Mr. Robbins played the trombone. I wonder if he still busts it out from time to time?

He also used to be a numismatist (coin/money collector) – and yes I had to look that one up.

Chuck originally started out as an application developer, so he wasn’t always a sales guy.

Follow @ChuckRobbins   |   Bio

Partner Summit Day 2

Zorawar Biri Singh, SVP and CTO, Platforms and Solutions

BZBiri was born in Dharamsala, the city that Dalai Lama calls home.

On a dare, Biri walked on and played American football in college; he played 3 seasons as QB and tight end.

Biri is a golf enthusiast and has a single digit handicap but still takes 12 strokes from his daughter.


Follow @zbirisingh   |   Bio

Partner Summit Day 3

Chris Dedicoat, EVP Worldwide Sales

CDI’m not sure exactly how Chris got to San Diego this week, but he could have flown – as in pilot a plane. That’s right, our EVP of Sales is a pilot and loves flying.

He also dreamed of being a rock star growing up. Recently, he lived out his dream when he got the chance to play onstage with Keith Urban at the Chairman’s Club. Rock on Chris!

Mr. Dedicoat is a passionate fan of Aston Villa Football Club of the English Premier League, which is one of the top leagues in the world. Do you think he and Karen get together when Aston Villa plays Sunderland?

Follow @ChrisDedicoat   |   Bio

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  1. Fun article. I like the humor twist.. keeping it 'light'. Have a good productive Summit. #CiscoRocks

    • Thanks Riki! Glad you enjoyed it. It's always good to show a little 'lighter' side of the leadership here. Thanks for the nice comment!