Celebrating Mitel's CRN Women of the Channel

10 min read

Avery Huffman | May 15, 2023

Every year, CRN recognizes over 1,500 women for incredible accomplishments within the IT channel. The Women of the Channel (WOTC) award acknowledges women who go above and beyond to support and foster close relationships with partners, bring innovative channel initiatives to the forefront, and whose insight and influence drive channel success. This year, Mitel is proud to have nine channel leaders on the list: Sara Hellon, Sue Anders, Misty Hanvey, Fiona Hills, Susanna Meyrick, Jess Maria, Ilona Masche, Sara Wilde, and Chelsea Neal.

These women made terrific strides in growing Mitel’s relationship with our partners and distributors while developing and accelerating business strategies and comprehensive solutions within the industry. Mitel is fortunate to have so many capable and dedicated leaders that work to enhance our organization, partner, and customer experiences. In honor of this star lineup, we would like to take a moment to spotlight each of these women and their achievements.

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Sara Hellon, Group VP, Global Commercial Sales Strategy and Operations

Sara Hellon is a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Mitel. Her responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of Commercial and Sales Operations and Strategy and driving and managing corporate transformation initiatives. Sara has also worked through many M&A integrations and volunteers her time as a mentor to other members of Mitel as part of Mitel’s Leadership program. Before this, she held various senior positions in Marketing, Operations, and Customer Services.

This year, Sara devised a successful strategy for optimizing channel and commercial operations, increasing revenue and partner satisfaction. She also helped empower partners and distributors by giving them access to deeper data insights and tools to enable more informed decision-making, resulting in improved performance and continuous channel growth. In addition, Sara leads the efforts to develop a more structured channel strategy. This has involved identifying key partners that align with Mitel’s strategic goals and working closely with them to drive growth and success. Through these efforts, she increased the effectiveness of Mitel’s channel business and drove better results for our partners.

Overall, Sara’s focus on simplifying processes, utilizing data analytics, and developing a more structured channel strategy has been instrumental in driving the success of Mitel’s channel business over the past year. She had this to say about her superpower:

“My superpower is the ability to think strategically and analyze complex problems, which has helped me to identify solutions and strategies where others may not see any. This skill has been key in driving my career forward. I have 30 years of experience working with the channel and have developed a unique understanding of the channel versus the vendor perspective. This has been instrumental in building and maintaining successful partnerships, driving growth, and ensuring success throughout my career. It has allowed me to make informed decisions and take calculated risks, ultimately leading to tangible results.”

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Sue Anders, General Manager for SLED and Public Sector

Sue Anders is General Manager for SLED and Public Sector. She is a 30+ year Mitel veteran and an accomplished, results-oriented sales leader with extensive experience developing profitable sales strategies for the Mitel team and partner channel. She has a proven track record of driving results in the US public sector and healthcare markets. Sue leads a robust portfolio of government contracts that drive growth and success for Mitel’s channel partners.

Sue is a high-energy, driven, and passionate team leader, and her supportive and motivational management style inspires sales and channel teams to perform at the highest level. An effective negotiator and trusted advisor, she excels in developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with channel partners, sales teams, and end-users. In her time at Mitel, Sue has created and implemented many successful channel-focused government-selling agent programs to educate and enable Mitel’s channel partners to strengthen their go-to-market strategy. She has consistently delivered sales revenue 10-15% increase year over year, an achievement that has earned her multiple Mitel President’s Club status.

This year, Sue implemented a QRTLY Partner Forum series focused on education and awareness to inform the channel how to position and utilize Mitel's Government contracts and tap into America Rescue and CARES Act, post-COVID funding resources, targeted to public sector procurement needs. She plays the role of a subject matter expert to effectively enable and guide Mitel’s partner channel to best assist their public sector customers with flexibility, effectiveness, a sense and urgency, and dedication to their needs. She had this to say about what she believes is her superpower:

“My superpower is my infectious high energy and outgoing personality focused on passion and purpose. I embrace each day with positivity and the goal to make a significant impact and contribution to those I encounter. I value the ability to instantly “connect” with people to make long and lasting valued relationships. I lead with a people-first mentality and mentor with compassion and integrity. I am extremely self-motivated and strive to find good in every person and situation. Everyone enters your life for a reason – a lesson or a blessing.”

misty hanvey

Misty Hanvey, Senior Manager, Global Channel Programs

Misty Hanvey is Senior Manager on Mitel’s Global Partner Program team. With 19 years of global channel experience, has demonstrated success across various areas with a focus on developing and managing channel programs and tools. Misty has also worked in channel marketing and operations, giving her a distinctive insight into complementary business areas and further experience in demand generation, Marketing as a Service, and CRM management. Having lived in the United Kingdom for eight years after completing her MBA in London, Misty brings a global perspective to her role. Her long tenure working in the channel with Mitel and various competitors has afforded her extensive experience managing global partner programs and benefits, including joint marketing funds (JMF), market development funds, retail commissions, deal registration, exclusivity rebates, growth rebates, and vertical rebates.

Over the last year, Misty has helped grow Mitel’s Global Partner Program by managing two new performance rebate programs for partners and distributors to encourage mutual revenue growth. In addition, she has enhanced Mitel’s various global marketing funds programs and expanded ROI measurement capabilities.

In her time at Mitel, Misty has helped advance Mitel’s channel business by continuing to evolve various program benefits, simplify processes for partners, and produce meaningful ROI metrics for program benefits. As the program manager for various Global Partner Program benefits, she has enhanced Mitel’s Global Joint Marketing Funds programs and Distributor Development Funds programs, intending to promote ease of use for partners and clarity in tools and processes. When asked about her superpower, she said:

“I continuously strive to achieve superhuman time management. Juggling has been a requirement throughout my career - not the kind of juggling that requires excellent hand-eye coordination, but the kind that involves proficiency in time management and teamwork together with compassion and patience. Juggling a successful career while being a mom of four busy children has elevated my proficiency in time management and scrupulous organization. I have found that I thrive on discovering ways to balance my family and career and achieve the harmony required to keep all the balls in the air.”

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Fiona Hills, Director, Global Partner Program Americas

Fiona Hills leads the development and execution of Mitel’s Global Partner Program for the Americas region. With more than 20 years of channel experience, there are few partner-facing initiatives that Fiona hasn't tackled in her career, with a proven track record in various program development and management activities, including partner programs, deal registration, JMF, back-end rebates, business development funds, sales incentives, promotions, and more. She spent several years in Field Marketing Management, which allowed her to develop strategy and execute demand-generation programs while working directly with our internal sales teams and partners.

Fiona has a hands-on approach to formulating programs to drive engagement and increase sales. Before her long tenure with Mitel, she worked for one of Canada's top Mitel solution providers. This experience allowed her to see the challenges the value-added reseller and vendor faced. This unique perspective is critical to her value as a channel expert today. This year, Fiona launched enhanced tools to provide partner visibility to their overall performance with Mitel. Partner performance data is now available via a single-pane-of-glass experience to drive engagement with global programmatic elements. She also focused on improving partner communications and delivering timely, relevant program statements directly to partner principals’ inboxes. When asked about her superpower, she said:

“As a single mother early in my career, I became a master of time management. It was challenging at times with both busy work and home life schedules. Time management continues to be a critical aspect of my success. Setting goals, preparing action plans, and executing priorities are all elements that should never be underestimated or overlooked. My superpower was found out of necessity but continues to serve me well during my career and life.” 

Susanna Meyrick

Susanna Meyrick, Director, International Distribution Channel

Susanna Meyrick is the Director of Mitel’s International Distribution Channel with 14 years of experience in the industry across the EMEA region. She is a highly versatile, passionate channel and business leader responsible for transforming the company’s EMEA distribution channel structure to drive deeper collaboration with distributors and continuous business growth across international markets.

A key achievement during her 18 months at Mitel was to introduce a clear strategy for distribution which included: the rollout of a distribution program, building a central distribution team, rolling out a rebate program across all distributors, and standardization and updating of all distribution contracts in EMEA. Ultimately, she wants to empower distributors to offer the best solutions and support to their resellers to, in turn, support their customers and enable them to meet their customers wherever they are on their communication journey. Susanna believes this about her superpower:

“I believe that my superpower is people, with a side of authenticity and humility. Understanding people’s strengths and weaknesses, listening with humility, and recognizing their needs is key to bringing people together and achieving strong results. It’s about aligning people’s needs with business objectives. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with leaders and teams from different cultures and countries and gain valuable experience and learning. I’ve used these people skills and an open mind to understand the local context and adapt our distribution strategy as required.”

Susanna is a strong people person and an empathetic leader, and she has dedicated time throughout her career to mentoring other women in the industry. She also runs regular life and career coaching sessions in her community for women.

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Jess Maria, Group Director, Americas Partner Marketing

Jess Maria is Mitel’s Group Director, Americas Partner Marketing, and has enthusiastically led partner/field marketing for Mitel in the Americas region since July 2021. Having been in channel roles for more than 15 years now across multiple global regions and types of channel companies — from channel journalist/editor in APAC to TSD, distribution, and now vendor/supplier in the Americas — Jess has had the privilege of experiencing the channel from many angles and through many lenses. Over the past year, Jess has witnessed growth within Mitel as the company continues to build and scale a UCaaS migration path while doubling down where Mitel shines in UC.

“Change has been constant in 2022. I’m proud to have delivered several channel incentive programs and an actionable approach to CLM and partner engagement. I also collaborated with key stakeholders to bring exciting new data insights to partners, showing Mitel as a differentiator in our industry.”

As a field marketer, Jess and her team always think “partner-first.” She and her team are often first confronted with good and bad partner feedback. Jess has led her team through some tricky 2022 challenges, driven by both top-down strategy and market conditions. She has been able to capitalize on significant opportunities by looking for the positives and staying true to where Mitel wins. It’s important to her that her team understands their role in increasing the amount of good feedback through continually improving partner experience; creatively tackling problems; thinking positively; and choosing joy. As she looks to 2023, Jess and her team are focusing on new ways to build a pipeline and generate growth for Mitel and partners. She had this to say about her superpower:

“My superpower is joy. Earlier this year, I had the word “happy” tattooed on the inside of my left wrist. It reminds me of two things: 1) I (like everyone else) deserve happiness. Doubling down on our stress, worry, concern, and imbalance serves no one, and 2) Happiness is ultimately a choice. I aim to bring serenity and happiness to my team, extended colleagues, partners, and industry contacts. This is a lifelong practice, but it’s helped me build my career by developing and deepening meaningful relationships and putting me in the driver’s seat.”

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Ilona Masche, Director, Central Europe Marketing

Ilona Masche is responsible for Marketing in Central Europe at Mitel. With 20 years in the IT industry, she has a wealth of experience working with Channel Partners, VARs, Distribution, and System Integrators. Ilona has grown over several roles, with responsibilities ranging from account lead to country and regional lead for the Central European Marketing team. She manages online and offline marketing campaigns with channel partners, taking an active role from strategic planning to implementation.

Ilona is both creative and output driven. She encourages innovation within her team and seeks to work on projects that push boundaries while adapting to changes within the industry and finding innovative ways to reach the market, all to support partners’ growth. “Partner first – digital first” is the strategy she follows, where creating personal connections with her partners is very important to her. She had this to say about her superpower:

“My superpower has been my natural curiosity. It means I am not afraid of risk, taking chances, and asking questions. My approach has always been “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” – and that manifests across all kinds of things, be it advice, opportunities, time, and professional relationships. All of these are things you don’t want to miss out on just because you didn’t ask or volunteer for something – so if there’s one thing that’s my superpower, it’s to be brave enough to ask for what I need.”

Ilona lectures and shares her experiences at the Berlin School of Economics and Law in her spare time. She absorbs new perspectives and learnings from a young professional business network's different national and international experiences there. Ilona has already published a book on Customer Relationship Management for channel partners.

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Sara Wilde, Senior Channel Marketing Manager

Sara Wilde is a Senior Channel Marketing Manager with over 20 years of industry experience at various companies within the tech industry, holding business development and marketing roles within each of these organizations. In her role with Mitel, she leads the marketing strategy and execution for distributors and service providers. She has a proven track record of creating and executing business and marketing strategies, programs, and promotions. Sara deeply understands the channel and has developed methods to drive engagement with partners, enabling them to market and sell Mitel solutions confidently.

Over the past year, Sara created programs and promotions to help distributors and partners confidently promote and sell Mitel products and solutions. She developed processes to enhance the tracking and accountability of marketing funds utilized by distributors. She helped stand up numerous Mitel events, including the annual Sales Kick-off and Partner Conference.

“2022 was full of changes for Mitel and our partners. It was imperative to constantly communicate with distributors and partners, evangelizing our story and direction. The communication was both digital and, fortunately, in person again.”

When asked about her superpower, Sara had this to say:

“I’ve never thought about having a superpower, but I love the question. Perhaps my superpower is knowing and networking with many people in the Channel, from VARS to distributors and suppliers. In my 20+ years in the Channel, I’ve met many smart, experienced people. I truly enjoy sharing ideas, asking/giving advice, and now being able to talk to them live again at events. I am forever grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.”

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Chelsea Neal, Channel Sales Manager

Chelsea Neal joined Mitel in 2018 in Business Development and began her career with the Channel as an Inside Channel Account Manager. In 2019, she was selected to work alongside consultants to aid in the development of Mitel’s Go to Market Strategy, “OneMitel.” Chelsea was then offered a position within Mitel’s Revenue Growth Office (RGO) to build and execute growth initiatives within the channel. She was nominated for Mitel’s Circle of Excellence on two occasions. To support Mitel’s Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) Strategy, Chelsea developed Global Partner dashboards to aid the demonstration and delivery of data in meaningful ways to understand the Customer Journey better. In February 2022, Chelsea was offered a position managing Mitel’s Inside Channel Account Team, where she grew the team across the US and LATAM.

This year, Chelsea aided in the development and execution of Mitel’s CLM strategy. Additionally, she grew Mitel’s Inside Channel Account team across the US and LATAM Regions and over-exceeded the team’s quarterly target for three consecutive quarters. Her top priority for 2023 is to grow Mitel’s UC business year over year and to help our channel partners do the same. She also wants to demonstrate Mitel’s expertise across key verticals and continue to gain mindshare in priority markets, including SLED, hospitality, healthcare, and finance. Chelsea aims to lead strategic business planning discussions with partners to develop growth strategies for Mitel’s premise and subscription solutions. She talked about her superpower of resilience below:

“Resilience. As an Ironman Triathlete, I have learned how to develop a plan for success and stick to it and navigate inevitable change and uncertainty. I focus on what is within my control and do my best to prepare for unanticipated circumstances without getting distracted by them. Resiliency and mindset have allowed me to persevere in races, my career, and life!”

We applaud all nine women for their wonderful accomplishments and are so proud to have such talented leaders on our team.

See our WOTC profiles on the CRN website >

Avery HuffmanSocial Media and Content Specialist

Avery Huffman is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. She enjoys writing and telling meaningful stories and creating interesting internal and external content.

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