Maya Zakhour:  Leading with a Proven Track Record in Technology and IT Sales

Maya Zakhour | The Director of Channel Sales at NetApp
Maya Zakhour | The Director of Channel Sales at NetApp

Maya Zakhour, the Director of Channel Sales at NetApp, is a seasoned and results-driven sales professional boasting more than 18 years of experience in channel and sales roles within the technology and IT sectors. She possesses expertise in Account Management, Consulting, Channel Management, and Marketing, with a specific focus on channel management and the development of Emerging Market sales.

Maya is known for her strategic acumen in building approaches to enhance mind share and market share. Her proven capability to engage with partners and customers ensures that product solutions align with customer requirements and satisfaction. With exceptional communication skills, Maya has achieved success in establishing strong relationships with upper management in various corporate accounts. She has consistently surpassed multi-million-dollar sales quotas throughout her career.

Here are the key points from the interview conducted by CIOLook with Maya Zakhour, where she discusses her path to becoming a successful and results-oriented sales professional.

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?

I have always been interested in mathematics and logical thinking ever since I was a child, so I took up a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Notre Dame University. Some might perceive it as a domain for males only, but for me, it was a logical choice.

I did not think twice. After graduation, I entered the world of information technology (IT). The competition back then was already fierce, but it did not deter me from pursuing an IT career. From my perspective, it allowed me to get out of my comfort zone by constantly challenging me to improve my craft, given that this field is continuously evolving.

Over time, my hard work had paid off. I ended up leading projects with a direct impact on the business. I have remained on this path over the years. I am also lucky to have worked with renowned mentors who, up until this day, remain as my guide and inspiration. Today, I lead a big partner organization at NetApp, and it spans EE, META, CIS, Iberia and LATAM.

Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision. What strategies have you employed to ensure a smooth transition between generations while maintaining the company’s values and vision?

NetApp´s mission is to provide organizations with the data management solutions they need to accelerate digital transformation and unlock the full potential of their data.

In fact, NetApp is an intelligent data infrastructure company that combines unified data storage, integrated data services, and CloudOps solutions to turn a world of disruption into an opportunity for every customer. Our data services create a data advantage through superior cyber resilience, governance, and application agility.

Our CloudOps solutions provide continuous optimization of performance and efficiency through observability and AI. No matter the data type, workload, or environment, with NetApp you can transform your data infrastructure to realize your business possibilities.

Our vision is to enable our customers to change the world with data and to leverage the data to make a significant impact on the world.

Enlighten us on the impact that you have made with your work through your expertise in the market.

  • President Club at NetApp-FY23
  • Executive Women of the Year- TahawulTech – 2023 4 years consecutively
  • Executive Women of the Year CXO Magazine -2023
  • CRN top 100 Channel Women -2023 4 years consecutively
  • Featured on the cover of magazines like TahawulTech, Reseller ME, and GEC Media.

And mainly earned the respect of a huge partner ecosystem that spams across Eastern Europe, MEA, Turkey, CIS, Iberia and LATAM.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

As businesses carve out competitive advantages and differentiation in their respective markets, they are collecting and analyzing massive amounts of data and metadata from every business application, customer touchpoint, and device they can to generate actionable insights.

Continuing innovation in areas like AI and analytics has given these businesses new ways to apply their data. Still, they need to ensure their underlying IT and business infrastructures can process and analyze all that data, no matter where it’s stored or when it’s needed. Those that can make their data work for them will operate more efficiently and drive business value.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for your company?

My long-term goal is to become the CEO of a successful IT company and maybe even my startup that will provide specialized IT services to the world. I hope to achieve that by first managing a smaller team within the next few years and generating enough results and expertise to be considered for the EMEA/LATAM general manager role.

I’ve been working on developing my skills over the last 25+ years, and with my dedication and persistence, I’m confident that I will achieve my goals one day. NetApp’s goals revolve around providing robust, scalable, and efficient data management solutions that enable organizations to effectively store, protect, and leverage their data assets on-prem and in multi-hybrid cloud environments. NetApp, as an Intelligent Data Infrastructure company, wants to make the data infrastructure of our customers more seamless, dynamic and higher performing than ever before.

What would be your advice to women’s who aspire to venture into the industry?

I encourage all great people, especially women, who aspires to make a mark in the industry to build a strong business acumen that will help them build their confidence and push them to dream high. I believe life is by itself is an experience and we learn everyday something new, so be bold and dream big as you will be able to learn and achieve when you have the will. “Be Bold, Be courageous, Be your Best!”

In a rapidly changing market, innovation is key. How do you foster a culture of innovation within your company, and what role has innovation played in the company’s continued growth and success?

NetApp´s innovative solutions have played a crucial role in enabling organizations to efficiently manage and leverage their data. Our contributions in areas like data management, cloud storage, flash storage, data protection, and AI/ML demonstrate our commitment to driving innovation in the technology industry.

As a women leader, you likely face challenges on a regular basis. Can you share an instance where you encountered a significant obstacle and how you navigated through it, drawing upon your leadership skills and resilience?

In my opinion, challenges present an opportunity to be creative and participate in a competitive situation to achieve solutions. It must not be seen as a setback but more as a measure of our abilities, skills, and strengths. I welcome every challenge and consider it a way to learn and build new skills, perspectives or expertise. It helps me achieve what I always strive for: Leaving an Impact! I roll my sleeves with any new challenge and dedicate my efforts and time towards achieving the desired results. I ensure playing my role within a team and lead by example when needed as success is guaranteed only when a strong team joins efforts.

How do you envision the company evolving to meet the demands of the ever-changing business landscape while staying true to its core values?

By evolving in these ways, NetApp can continue to deliver value to its customers while staying true to its core values of data management excellence, customer focus, and innovation. This will enable NetApp to remain a trusted partner for organizations seeking reliable and advanced data management solutions in an ever-changing business landscape.