SonicWall has promoted Michelle Ragusa-McBain to head its sizable global partner organization, just months after hiring the channel veteran as its North America channel chief.
Ragusa-McBain, who has moved up to serve as global channel chief and vice president at the Milpitas, Calif.-based cybersecurity vendor, told CRN that the role had existed at SonicWall in the past, but more recently had been unfilled. Her appointment is thus a revival of the global channel chief position at SonicWall, she said, and a sign of the vendor’s growing investment into its channel program, which serves more than 17,000 partners globally.
The move is a “recreation” of a much-needed role, and “an enhancement of the opportunity to bring our global community of partners together at scale,” Ragusa-McBain said in the interview with CRN. “My focus will really be driving the strategy in these [channel] routes to market.”
The promotion comes just three months after Ragusa-McBain departed Cisco — where she was a well-known channel leader and 15-year veteran at the tech giant — to become SonicWall’s North America channel chief.
With her move into the global role at SonicWall, the company’s North America channel chief position will be filled by Matthew Vaillancourt, who has been a “phenomenal” contributor to the vendor’s channel organization in his prior senior director role, Ragusa-McBain said.
Ultimately, with the SonicWall channel moves, “we’ll be continuing to drive even more education and enablement for our partners,” she said, including through an upcoming refresh of the SonicWall SecureFirst Partner Program.
Even during just a few months at SonicWall, Ragusa-McBain had already been making a mark when it comes to helping bring improvements to partners, according to Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based LAN Infotech.
While LAN Infotech has been a longtime SonicWall partner, Goldstein said that Ragusa-McBain almost immediately “connected me with people I didn’t even know I had access to” at the vendor. “Right away, she put us on the right track,” he said.
Goldstein applauded SonicWall’s decision to promote Ragusa-McBain to the global channel chief role, calling it a “great position for her.” All in all, it’s clear that Ragusa-McBain “does everything she can to help us out in the channel,” Goldstein said.
Looking ahead, SonicWall is planning to roll out a “soft launch” of its revamped SecureFirst Partner Program in September, with a full global launch of the new program planned for February 2024, Ragusa-McBain told CRN.
For the initial “soft launch,” SonicWall will be debuting the updated version of the program for partners that are new to the company, as well as for existing partners that want to opt-in early, she said. “For partners that are already established, we want to make sure they have an easy transition,” Ragusa-McBain said.
The revamped SecureFirst program will feature “more investment into our partners — into their rebates, into [market development fund] dollars — to really help them drive their business and their revenue,” she said. “There’s a lot of great feedback that they’ve provided. And then in addition to that, we’re working on some very exciting integrations. So those will be announced soon.”