Together We Rise: The Many Paths to Alliance Leadership

Posted By: Jon Lavietes Global Alliance Summit, Member Resources,

The ASAP Global Alliance Summit aims to provide unparalleled learning and networking opportunities, and many attendees have made it a staple in their ongoing professional development as they have climbed the ladder in alliance management. For those in the earlier phases of their careers who have their sights on that top rung, a plenary session at this year’s event, titled “Together We Rise: Igniting the Journey to Alliance Leadership,” will feature four professionals sharing their journeys to the top of the alliance function and illuminating the many forms that opportunities for advancement can take. 

“We’re hoping to share our stories and represent the different ways that you can come to an alliance leadership role in the hopes of someone in the audience seeing a bit of themselves in that [way] or being able to take away a leadership lesson,” said Christina Neary, corporate vice president of the global Microsoft alliance at Avanade.

Neary and three other executives will bring their perspectives from a diverse cross section of industries in discussing how they propelled their careers upward over the years. She will be joined by:

  • Nicole Colwell, executive vice president and chief alliance officer at the PraSaga Foundation, who is currently building an ecosystem to advance the evolution of blockchain technology and has worked with industry leaders such as GE Digital, Avaya, and Hewlett-Packard;
  • Cherie Gartner, a partner at KPMG who heads the Big Four consulting firm’s strategic alliance with Microsoft and brings previous executive leadership experience from stints at PTC, Cognizant, DXC Technology, Oracle, and PwC; and
  • Brooke Paige, CSAP, a career biopharma alliance professional who is now at the nexus of the convergence of pharma and tech, running digital alliances at Novartis. 

These four alliance executives ply their trade in different contexts, but each of their stories contains valuable lessons that aspiring alliance leaders can apply to their roles.

“We are hoping to inspire this sense of what we’re capable of in this profession, what we bring to the table, and how you can harness your unique capabilities as part of an alliance role. What you’ll hear from us is that we each had a different path to alliances, but a lot of what we deal with now that we are at this level is very similar,” said Neary.

Alliance Managers Help Navigate Market Fluctuations in the Face of Headwinds

Alliance leaders and the companies they work for are faced with new challenges, and in these obstacles lies a great opportunity for ambitious alliance managers to demonstrate their ability to steer the ship through oncoming storms.

“It’s a time of tremendous change,” said Neary. “Tech is entering an interesting phase where we’re up against economic headwinds we previously haven’t seen in the pandemic. We’re having to step up in different ways to drive and optimize the partner channel for companies. Everything from market fluctuations to the post-pandemic new normal to the increasing rate of change that’s happening in the industry today, we’re having to constantly reinvent what the alliance function is within our organizations. Is it a growth driver? Are we keeping the lights on? Is it a place to experiment, innovate, and drive new thinking?”

And, yes, alliance professionals are uniquely suited to help their horses jump the equestrian hurdles in front of them.

“Our particular skill set makes alliances one of the most important places to be in an organization, especially with the current economic climate. Companies, regardless of industry, are going to be digging deep and going back to the fundamentals of partnerships and working to grow in different ways. It’s important that a new generation of alliance professionals sees how we’ve encountered problems and how we navigate together through this next phase,” said Neary.

The 2023 ASAP Global Alliance Summit is around the corner. Register now to catch “Together We Rise: Igniting the Journey to Alliance Leadership,” and discover the path these professionals have blazed over the course of their careers. See you in Tampa, Fla., April 3–5!