Every spring at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, the Channel Partners and Channel Futures teams are privileged to sit down with some of the top executives in the channel for an evening of food, drink and good conversation.
It’s the annual Circle of Excellence awards dinner, this year held at the Aureole restaurant at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Last week, we shared some of our honorees’ successes from the past 12 months and what they see looming in the channel’s future. In the image gallery below featuring pictures taken at the event, we share the lighter sides of these professionals, including their thoughts on the best and worst technological innovations, secret ambitions, likes/dislikes and more.
Not pictured are Masergy’s Bill Madison and CoreDial’s Alan Rihm. Photos courtesy Steve Hall Photography
Telarus' Amy Bailey
Amy Bailey, Telarus
' VP of marketing, thinks the iPhone is the best high-tech invention of all time, but isn't too keen on the vape, which she says is the worst. She also is a knitter and cries huge crocodile tears at cheesy movies.
Bailey would like to travel the world and speak multiple languages if time and money allow.
Avant's Alex Danyluk
Alex Danyluk, Avant
's chief strategy officer, is both high and low on Facebook, which he says "taught us the power of hyperconnectivity and hyperadoption," but also showed us how such power can be abused.
Despite leading marketing for the master agent, Danyluk has a Master's degree in electrical engineering. He would love to live on a sailboat, scuba diving and sailing to warm places all around the world.
RingCentral's Lisa Del Real
Lisa Del Real, RingCentral
's AVP of global channel programs and operations, thinks you'd be surprised to learn she listens to Post Malone while doing yoga.
Travel is at the top of her list if money were no object, and she would enjoy becoming fluent in French for her world tour.
The last book she read was Michelle Obama's "Becoming."
8x8's John DeLozier
John DeLozier (our only honoree at two different companies — CenturyLink in 2017-2018), 8x8
's channel chief, is passionate about giving back, having joined the board for Telecom for Change
When asked about his secret ambition, the man well-known in the channel for his love of rock 'n' roll, quoted Nickelback: "We all just wanna be big rock stars, and live in hilltop houses driving 15 cars."
Vonage's Mario DeRiggi
Mario DeRiggi, Vonage
's senior VP of national channel sales and business development, likes his political and military-based thrillers, particularly those by Brad Thor and Brad Taylor, but most recently he finished an industry book, Tiffani Bova's "Growth IQ."
DeRiggi is an active runner who's dropped 50 pounds in the past three years. He would love to win a marathon.
MicroCorp's Karin Fields
Karin Fields, MicroCorp
's CEO, didn't supply us with any so-called "fun facts," but she is pretty excited about where the channel is headed.
"Successful partners are going to start seeing the percentage of revenue from traditional telecom services shift to more relevant products and services such as infrastructure, SD-WAN, security, applications and UCaaS," Fields said. "Connectivity will be transitioning to 'the fries,' so to speak, as just an add-on, while these other products are going to be the main course."
Nextiva's MeiLee Langley
MeiLee Langley, director of channel marketing for Nextiva
, thinks telecommunications is great, not just because it's at the heart of her career choice, but also because she can get barbecue chicken from UberEats. The worst high-tech invention, she told us, is the Roomba. Of course, she immediately backed down: "Just kidding. I love that thing."
Langley was rendered bedridden and in a wheelchair for six months in her early 20s, but has since completed two trail ultra-marathons (50k!), among "other distance races and mountain adventures." Yet not having ever seen Dirty Dancing tends to shock people more, she says.
Verizon's Dave Longo
Dave Longo, director of business markets, channel, for Verizon
, loves his GPS but thinks Google Glass was the worst high-tech innovation of all time.
Longo once drove the pace car in a NASCAR event, and clearly enjoys the horror/thriller/sci-fi genre, having just read Dean Koontz's "The Crooked Staircase."
Spectrum's Mitch Lopez
Mitch Lopez, Spectrum
's director of channel marketing, is addicted to Diet Coke, but please don't judge him for that!
Does anyone know a writer for The Simpsons? Lopez has always dreamed of being a voice actor for cartoons.
Sprint's Amy Rintamaki
Amy Rintamaki, Sprint
's VP, partner and channel sales, really likes the rear-facing camera that helps her park her SUV, but isn't a big fan of traffic cameras that can issue tickets via the mail. Something you want to tell us, Amy?
Don't mess with her on a fall Saturday because she'll have her eyes glued to SEC football.
Intelisys' Christine Sanni
Christine Sanni, channel manager, Mid-Atlantic, Intelisys
(pictured here, center, with Art Wittmann and Kelly Danziger from the Channel Partners/Channel Futures team), is much smarter than this writer, for she ranks quantum computing as the best high-tech invention ever. But you won't find her using an air fryer anytime soon; hers broke after just a year.
Sanni and her family soon plan to start a foundation whose mission will be to empower and serve those in need.
AT&T's Sara Straley
You might find Sara Straley, the new leader of AT&T's Partner Exchange
channel program, hanging around her local doughnut shop. "I love doughnuts. Like, a lot," she told us. Can't argue with that. Of course, she can probably make her own, because she really enjoys baking — enough so that her secret ambition is to open a bakery.
Straley has an eight-year-old son, so that means lots of reading in her household. The latest is Swiss Family Robinson.
Office Depot's Heather Tenuto
Heather Tenuto, Office Depot
's VP, SMB services, is creeped out by drones. So don't hover around her!
Most people wouldn't know she was a high school English teacher in New York for two years, and she thinks she would make a great talk show host.