We’re excited to share that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named Rachel Barnett, Sr. Manager, National Channel and Field Operations, as one of the IT channel’s 100 People You Don’t Know But Should for 2021. Every year, this list honors the people working tirelessly behind the scenes to support not only their partners, but the broader channel ecosystem, as well.
To help you get to know Rachel a little better, we recently sat down to talk with her about her time with Barracuda, her work with our channel partners, and lessons she’s learned along the way.
Q&A with Rachel Barnett, Sr. Manager, National Channel and Field Operations
How long have you been with Barracuda? How as your role evolved over the years?
I've been with Barracuda for a little over eight and a half years now. It will be nine years at the beginning of March. I originally started as a renewals rep, and then I moved to the customer accounts lead generation team. I was an inside channel rep for a while and then eventually managed that inside channel team for about four years.
Through all of those roles, I've been able to work my way up to where I am now and really gain an understanding of the different segments of the business at Barracuda and how both our customers and our partners experience working with us through their purchasing and their buying cycles. More importantly, I quickly learned that the systems and the operations behind each partner account are incredibly complex, and there are so many backend operations and nuances that require dedicated ownership and attention. To that end, I was able to use my combination of sales, operational, and strategic skills to create the role that I'm in now, which is the national channel and field operations senior manager.
Could you tell me a bit more about your role and the ways you help our channel partners?
In my role now, my main goal is to make sure that we're aligned with our strategic goals at each partner account, and that our systems are operationally able to handle that. Whether it’s launching new campaigns that we're able to track and measure or running reports that show progress within each account to help the team have those strategic conversations, I'm here to help guide those things and streamline them. Also, if there’s anything that isn't working, I'm here to help create a fix and help troubleshoot things along the way.
What have been some highlights along the way?
Some highlights for me have been receiving a top performer award a few times throughout my sales career, and being recognized as one of CRN’s Women of the Channel was a huge honor.
Having been in all of these different roles and worked with so many different departments, I've been able to work with so many people in other roles that I probably wouldn't otherwise get to engage with on a regular basis. Getting to know a lot of those coworkers and colleagues and what they do has been another highlight. So many of us have been around for a long time, so it’s always really exciting to see new people come in and see these folks work with them as mentors.
What do you enjoy most about working with our channel partners?
What I enjoy most is having a platform to ask for honest feedback from our channel partners and be in a position where we can take that feedback and implement meaningful change to both grow as a company and help our partners grow as well. I also really enjoy learning each of their systems and how they cross function within our own. The last thing we want to do is fix something for one partner and not have it work for another. On a large scale, it’s great getting that visibility and knowledge into the different operational aspects and getting to know a lot of the folks behind the scenes at our channel partners. I've worked with these partners for so many years now, but I'm getting to work with a whole new group of people that I didn't get to interact with before. That's been really interesting.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned working in the channel?
I’ve learned to value and respect the relationships that I’ve built over the years. I've made some really tremendous friendships with our partners, having worked with them for so long, and a lot of those friendships I know I’ll carry with me throughout my life. It feels like those bonds have strengthened even more throughout the pandemic. Working from home and meeting on Zoom, we've had the opportunity to meet each other’s pets and children and spouses, so it feels like we've gotten to know each other a lot better.
Also, I've learned to be ready for change at any given time. This year has been a great example of that, learning to work together to adapt to so many changes and working from home. We're all on the same team, and as a channel-driven company we really rely on each other to work toward our common goal, which ultimately is supporting our customers’ needs.
What are your goals for the team and our channel partners in the coming year?
My goal this year is to use the enhanced systems we have in place to generate more refined and real-time reporting, which will give our sales teams better visibility and measurable results on the activities and programs we launch with our partners. This will help the channel team to continue pushing overall accountability and support while reinforcing our commitment to our partners’ success.
What’s something partners would be surprised to learn about you?
One thing I don't talk about much is I have a really deep passion for giving back to my community at whatever capacity I can. Volunteering is something that I grew up doing with my family, and I really took that with me throughout high school and college and into my adult life. The Natural Disaster Relief Foundation and Go Red for Women are two that I'm involved with.
What's really cool and probably something that people don't know is that at one point in my life I received a Jefferson Award for public service, which is like a Nobel Prize for public service. People like Steph Curry and Oprah Winfrey have also been recipients of that award, so it's something that I've treasured. It reminds me as I continue to get older that I want to continue giving back to the community.
Anne Campbell is the public relations manager for Barracuda. She's been with the organization since 2014, working on content and public relations for Barracuda MSP, the MSP-dedicated business unit of Barracuda. She started her career in newspaper and magazine journalism, and she brings that editorial point of view to the work she does, using it to help craft compelling stories.