The appointments bring experience from working at MSPs, vendors and distributors.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

September 6, 2023

5 Min Read
JS Group welcomes new hires

JS Group has hired five executives in an effort to deepen the work it is doing in marketing, communities and other services the consultancy is providing to channel companies.

JS Group on Wednesday announced the appointment of five women: Kathy Amro, Leona Kral, Kathleen Martin, Laura Steward and Lynne Thornton. CEO Janet Schijns said it made sense to bring it additional talent to help clients through a season of market shifts. She pointed to the rise artificial intelligence, ecosystems and a more diverse channel community.

“The channel ecosystem is evolving at an unprecedented rate, and JSG stands right at the cusp of this transformation,” Schijns said. “With the infusion of such seasoned professionals into our leadership, we are more poised than ever to navigate these rapid changes. Distributors, vendors, partners and customers can now harness the profound experience these industry titans bring, ensuring they remain not just relevant but pioneering in their respective fields.”


JS Group’s Kathleen Martin

Kathleen Martin has joined JS Group to work as senior vice president of community. Martin worked for a decade at Lexmark leading channel marketing and communications for the vendor. Since leaving, she has formed her own companies around helping small businesses with operations, sales and marketing. She’ll oversee peer groups and JS Group’s 50% Club, which coaches and mentors female channel executives.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in August.

Schijns said Martin’s appointment reflects the growing appetite for communities across the channel. Schijns said many vendors are seeking to expand and enhance their advisory councils. And at the same time, alliances between partners are forming in hopes of influencing the executives of their large vendor partners.

And JS Group is emphasizing “taking conversation into commerce,” Schijns said.


JS Group’s Laura Steward

“It’s great to be part of a community, but if it never delivers any benefit back to you from a commercialization standpoint; then it’s just a therapist. It’s nice, but that’s not really what you’re there for,” she said.

Newly appointed vice president of business strategy and channel enablement Laura Steward hails from the MSP side of the channel. She founded and managed Guardian Angel Computer Services, an MSP that merged with health care VAR SLPowers in 2009.


JS Group’s Leona Kral

Leona Kral has joined JS Group as senior vice president of alliances and influencers. Her vendor experience includes AT&T, Alcatel-Lucent and Avaya. But most recently she concluded a 14-year tenure at Verizon, where she led the carrier’s global technology alliance business.


JS Group’s Lynne Thornton

Lynne Thornton will work as senior vice president of channel activation. She spent the last 18 years at distributor Ingram Micro, where she built deep roots in the company’s software practice. She most recently served as executive director of software and sales operations for Ingram. JS Group will tap into Thornton’s expertise on software as a service (SaaS) and activating channel leaders and managers.

Kathy Amro is the new senior vice president of marketing services for the consultancy. Amro’s career history features both vendors. She has worked at MSPs Connectria and InterVision, leading their marketing. She has also worked for Accenture-owned Microsoft partner Avanade. And on the vendor side, Amro has led marketing for Verio (bought by NTT) and Cosentry (bought by Tierpoint). She started working at JS Group in April, according to her LinkedIn profile.


JS Group’s Kathy Amro

Women account for 75% of JS Group’s employee base, Schijns told Channel Futures.

“I believe that we’ve created a welcoming and encouraging and creative environment for women,” said Schijns, who founded JS Group in 2019. “I believe that we get a seat at the table in a very male industry, so we bring in diverse perspective to the table for clients.”

Schijns said her company is making its expansion without the help of outside funding.

JS Group Spotlights an Evolving Industry

JS Group has been active with its market research in 2023. Most recently it launched a report on generative AI that points to opportunities for partners to automate more parts of their business. And earlier this year, JS Group made waves by launching a report on the technology services distributor (TSD) market, surveying TSDs, partners and suppliers about the value TSDs provide.

(Editor’s Note: JS Group created the TSD report in collaboration with Channel Futures.)

And these reports show that the channel is “evolving at a previously unseen rate of change,” JS Group president Meredith Caram said.

“The trends noted in these reports point to a seismic shift in the channel’s go-to-market activities, driven by an uptick in ecosystem partnerships, community engagement, co-selling and influencer strategies, changing marketing landscape, and digital sales enablement,” Caram said. “As a result, the ecosystem players are evolving and need help to ensure they evolve with the highest efficacy and ROI on their efforts. Adding these industry veterans ensures JSG continues to serve our industry and delivers above industry standard return on investment across our consulting, sales, marketing, and research divisions.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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