August 24, 2022
Hilary Gadda is moving from TPx Communications after two decades at the managed services provider.
Gadda completed her last day on Monday and announced her departure on social media. She had been working as TPx’s director of national channel sales and development.
“It has been an incredible 20-year journey with some of the most amazing people on the planet,” she wrote in a LinkedIn post that garnered 410 likes and 226 comments.
She said she’ll be moving on to a new opportunity in the channel soon.
“I did some thinking in the beginning of the year, and I just decided that it would be the right time for a brand new adventure,” Gadda told Channel Futures.
Gadda’s career in telecommunications and the channel goes back to the 1990s. She was employed by Telco Communications; there, she worked under the sales leadership of John Leach, who would go on to lead the Paetec channel program. Telco underwent a series of acquisitions. Excel Communications bought the long-distance carrier in 1997 and the next year merged with Teleglobe. Then Bell Canada bought the company.
“It was always being acquired,” Gadda said. “I had new cards every month or so because it was just that type of rollercoaster.”
Here’s our list of channel people on the move in July.
Gadda in 2002 found herself in a channel manager position at a small CLEC named TelePacific. She estimates that about 200 people were working for the company at the time. But the company would grow and evolve and she progressed through her 19-year tenure at TelePacific.
A year later, she accepted a promotion to director. That job saw her establish the TelePacific’s channel in northern California. Next, she played a key role helping Ken Bisnoff and his team grow the channel in Texas and the Central region.
Gadda said she seemed to move into a new role every five years at TelePacific, and that new role would bring her into a new area of the company. But TelePacific’s view of the channel held constant.
“[CEO] Dick Jalkut had a vision, and it never wavered. One of the things he would often [say] is that ‘there will be no alternate channel,’ which was what a lot of suppliers called it. ‘It will be the channel. And it will be 50% of everything that we do,'” Gadda said.
One of the things that he would quote often is, ‘There will be no alternate channel,’ which was what a lot of suppliers called it.
She recalls the 2007 Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. The TelePacific team met the morning of the first day and entered the expo floor together. Gadda said she felt a sense of pride and accomplishment as they walked by partners and suppliers.
“We were the bad-asses of the channel at the time, because we were doing such a good job. Partners were saying, ‘You have to work with TelePacific, because that’s the company you can trust,'” she said.
A New Direction
In 2017, Jim Delis promoted Gadda to director of the national channel development team. The appointment came at the same time TelePacific rebranded to TPx Communications. The change in name reflected a shift TPx wanted to make to a national “managed services carrier,” rather than a regionally focused CLEC. But that evolution required repeated conversations with channel partners to help them understand why TPx needed to make the change.
“That was hard for the partner community to understand, because they looked at us as being the absolute leader – the gold standard – for network and telecom,” Gadda said. ” … It probably would have been easier to rebrand if we been really bad at what we were doing before.”
The company over the next few years evolved into a managed services provider that offered services like managed IT, SD-WAN and cybersecurity. And as TPx has evolved, so the entire agent channel has evolved. Gadda said suppliers have improved their partner and customer support, while partners have grown more knowledge about about advanced technology. Those developments have “elevated the channel as a whole,” she said.
“In the past there would be five great suppliers, and then two that really sullied the channel and what we were doing. I think that has stopped. I think consumer confidence within the channel is much more steadfast than it would be. And I think that the partners themselves are more sophisticated entrants into technology and what’s available for the customers,” Gadda said.
Building a Safe Space
Gadda co-founded the Alliance of Channel Women – then known as Women in the Channel – in 2010. She remembers looking around at events to see how many women were in attendance and how many were speaking on panels. And the answer was: very few.
“There just wasn’t any female representation, and there wasn’t any female leadership really at all at that time, and we wanted to foster a environment where we could come together and help support and encourage better visibility and career pathing. We knew we were smart. We knew we had talent, but we weren’t being you know asked to share that.”
The idea for an organization that uplifted women in the industry was met with support. Gadda recalled a meeting with Nancy Ridge and Dick Jalkut, where they asked Jalkut if he thought the idea was viable. He expressed an enthusiastic endorsement.
“We laid out what it would look like and what our dream was, and he absolutely embraced it. He said, ‘This is a must. You must do this,'” Gadda said.
Realizing the Dream
But more than a few people demanded an explanation.Gadda said she had to devote a significant amount of time to explaining the concept to skeptics. Why a group just for women?
“In the first year, there was a lot of explaining why women needed a safe place to be able to talk openly and share experiences,” she said.
But she said executives and sponsors saw the value of increasing the diversity of their companies and leadership.
Khali Henderson, then editor-in-chief at Channel Partners (which in 2010 rebranded from Phone+), gave the fledging organization a room at the Las Vegas show. About 60 women attended, and excitement was in the air. After that event, Gadda said she realized the group would need to formalize its infrastructure in order to grow an official not-for-profit organization. The Alliance of Channel Women would go on to operate on an all-volunteer basis. That structure, Gadda said, has allowed hundreds of women to participated in leadership over the last 12 years.
“I love seeing the succession of people. One of the founding principles that we had was constant change of leadership, that there was not one single person who would be in charge or putting ideas out at any given time,” said Gadda, who served as president for a time.
Years later, Alliance of Channel Women started running its events in the ballroom at the Las Vegas show. She recalls standing on the main stage with Ridge before the event started.
“We looked out at the hundreds of empty chairs and knew that in a half hour they were going to be full. And these people wanted to be there. It just absolutely blew me away that we as an organization were able to be so relevant that we got the big stage.”
Lots of Love
Support poured in for Gadda on her LinkedIn post.
“It’s the end of an era. You have always been one of my faves, and the channel is better because of you,” wrote AppSmart vice president of channel sales Christopher Shubert.
Michael Dyer, vice president of customer success at Broadvoice, agreed.
“Hilary, you are one of the good ones and always so good to work with in my time there. I know that whatever you do and wherever you greatness will follow,” Dyer wrote.
Many of the commenters included women for whom Gadda has provided support and guidance. For Kyra Augustus, East area vice president of partner support at Telarus, Gadda looms large as one of the first women she met when she entered the channel seven years ago.
“You have been a constant source of inspiration and I have strived to be at your level in every interaction. You will absolutely crush wherever you go; I just hope we still get to work together,” Augustus said.
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