Started working with NEXTGEN: 2016
Current role: Channel Manager NEXTGEN New Zealand

Jody Walters is passionate about the channel, with a particular interest in helping partners make a difference to their clients. As Channel Manager for NEXTGEN’s New Zealand office, she’s committed to being present on the journey with partners every step of the way, guiding them toward further innovation and bringing real business value.

Prior to joining NEXTGEN, Jody worked in the channel for IBM for 16 years, crossing paths professionally with Terry Dunn before he became NEXTGEN New Zealand’s Managing Director in 2013. Knowing Terry’s reputation in the industry and NEXTGEN’s dynamic approach, Jody was excited when the opportunity presented itself to work in distribution. 

Q. How did you come to join NEXTGEN? 

I always felt that Terry was really switched on to the market.  I felt that I could learn a lot from him - so when the opportunity came to work in distribution with Terry, I took the opportunity. He’s a good operator.  I knew that NEXTGEN would be nimble and dynamic. I wanted a change after all that time at IBM.  I’ve thought about running my own business down the track, and this would be a good way to understand how distribution works from the other side of the fence rather than a vendor.

Q. Why did you want to join the team? 

The role was unique - not one that was what you’d call “traditional” in distribution. We’ve got some vendors that don’t have channel people in the country, and they wanted someone with expertise to help them design a channel strategy,  roll out partner programs, certification programs and to work with partners around enablement. 

With my skill set, I’ve always worked in the channel, and I’ve seen how the channel can develop great solutions and bring amazing value to their clients. 

Q. And can you tell us a bit about your role, what are the main functions? 

I’m responsible for supporting the sales growth and development of the New Zealand business providing channel expertise, advice, training and support for NEXTGEN Customers. I work closely with our vendor partners to identify reseller partners with high potential to include in structured channel programs.  I work with vendors to roll out their partner programs.

I assist the sales team with activities including the development of formal sales plans, as well as putting marketing initiatives in place. There’s an element of assisting our customers to acquire the necessary technical skills to allow them to create their own solutions, I work with them to develop this.

Q. Do you have a favourite or most rewarding part of the role?

I like working with the partners so they can make a difference with their clients - the innovative solutions our partners take to market are quite amazing.  I like being with them on that journey.

What I’ve really enjoyed is NEXTGEN is dynamic, I think that we are making a difference. It’s not just standard distribution, we do things to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace adding value along the way.

Q. What do vendor partners need from NEXTGEN? Or what value does NEXTGEN bring to their business?

It’s helping our vendors on the journey, it’s working together with the vendors, partners and ourselves to find new opportunities for new vendors. If they don’t have a presence in the market we help them develop one.

I work with the vendors putting channel strategies and enablement plans together, then execute these plans. It’s quite unique but we are an extension to both the vendor and the partner. We’re valued in both sides, we make it easier for people to business.

Q. What’s getting you excited about NEXTGEN at the moment? Or anything exciting you’re working on that you would like to share? Anything specific to NZ?

We are working with multiple new vendors, some of these are new to the NZ market and don’t have people based in NZ.  This requires working with them on their Go To Market Strategies.  This is exciting for us here at NEXTGEN, as these new vendors have approached us based on what they are hearing back from the partners in the market and current vendors. This tells us that we are making a difference. 

Q. Who do you find most inspiring from a career or personal perspective, and why?

There’s no one person and the reason I say this is; I see value in multiple people and I’m inspired by the different values that they bring to the table. I see the good and I gather my inspiration from these people, they help drive me. 

Q. Can you sum up what NEXTGEN does in one sentence?

NEXTGEN is passionate about adding value to every step of the way in the distribution lifecycle. We make a difference.

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