Chief Executive Office
Appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Sapphire in 2015, with a career spanning over 20 years in the cyber security industry, Annabel has recently been recognised by CRN as one of the most influential women in the UK IT channel and included in their 2018 A-List. Annabel's expertise lies in the development and implementation of new strategies and identifying emerging technologies. As a member of everywoman.com, Annabel takes an active involvement in encouraging more women into the cyber security industry and is proud to have recently been invited to become a Leadership Fellow at St. George's House, Windsor Castle.
Business Development Director
Working as part of the senior leadership team at technology distributor Exertis, Jamie is charged with the leading new business development across the IT and AV channels within Exertis UK. During Jamie's tenure at Exertis, Jamie has led the successful introduction of the value-added print specialist team and defined Exertis' B2B and Retail print business strategy. The team delivered record sales and revenue growth in FY17/18, well above the industry average, as well as winning the Exertis group business unit of the year award in 2017. Having worked in the channel for 18 years, previously at Samsung and the Midwich Group in head of sales and sales management roles, Jamie has extensive experience and knowledge of the channel and has built up key relationships with vendors and customers.
Outside of work, Jamie is a motor car enthusiast and social media blogger.
Jamie is an advocate for gender equality and is currently working as part of Exertis diversity project to drive new initiatives within the Exertis Group
Former CRN Editor
Sara worked for more than 15 years as a business and IT journalist, working at Emap and then VNU (Incisive Media) where she became their youngest ever Editor on technology and channel title, CRN. Sara then crossed the Atlantic to Ziff Davis, a New York publishing house where she became Editor of eWeek Channel Insider. Sara joined communications and content agency Bite in July 2008 to head up the Content Studio, focusing on providing editorial-style content to Bite clients.
With her journalistic background and agency knowledge, Sara now runs her own content and consultancy business, Content360, where she provides services including content marketing, editorial writing and editing, media training, and business consultancy and strategy. Using her journalism skills to analyse and understand technologies and markets Sara produces high-quality content that cuts through marketing hype and resonates with readers.
Marketing Communications Consultant
Gina founded her first agency MCC International in her early 20s and grew it to be one of the UK's largest regional consultancies, before moving on to set up a successful PR division at WLM.Digital where she was co-owner and Communications Director for 7 years.
Now back into consultancy, she's working with a great team of freelancers and global partner agencies, offering a wider range of services to clients and drawing on the knowledge she's built up over the past 30 years. Gina spends a lot of time mentoring and training and her hands on, tell it how it is approach to managing clients' expectations has never changed. Journalists know what to expect from her and she's built up some great contacts during her career. Humour and an abhorrence of pretentiousness have always stood her in good stead and she's currently enjoying her third time round the working wheel.
Executive Vice President, Cyber Security
Chief People Officer
Computacenter (UK) Ltd
With over 25 years in the tech industry Sarah has held roles in sales, services and strategy in a number of leading tech organisations. She originally joined Computacenter in 1996 and worked her way up through the Customer facing Business to lead UK Sales. Between 2008 and 2018, she consulted to some of the leading European tech companies, advising on business growth and organisational change; helping companies to develop deliverable strategies.
Sarah was delighted to re-join Computacenter in March 2019 as Chief People Officer for the group. Her responsibilities include development and execution of the Group People Strategy and leadership of the in-country HR teams across Computacenter. Passionate about developing people and achieving real business results through attracting, developing and retaining great talent, Sarah is excited about this new opportunity.
For the past five years Sarah has also sat on the advisory board of Applied Influence Group, who create competitive advantage for their clients through elite influence skills. Sarah is married to Will, they have 2 children and live in Bedfordshire.
Chief Operating Officer
Recognised at one of the most influential people in the channel by the CRN A-list, Natalie is Chief Operating Officer at Logicalis UK. Her career began at IBM as a trainee Personal Assistant on their Youth Training Scheme. After seven years of progression, Natalie joined Notability Solutions where she held a range of senior operational roles and was part of the senior management team when Logicalis acquired the business in 2015. Now, with over 25 years of ICT experience, Natalie is responsible for leading company-wide operational functions, including sales support, HR and IT and is instrumental in initialising and mobilising transformation projects.
When Natalie started at Logicalis UK, there was only a small percentage of female employees. She has made it her ongoing mission to change this and uses her position to identify and mentor those with potential to develop their careers.
Phoenix Software Limited
Samantha Mudd has been the Managing Director of Phoenix Software since 2009 and brings over 30 years of software reseller and leadership experience to the business. Having been a part of the software industry all of her working life, Sam has had held senior roles at global vendors such as WordPerfect and Novell Inc. Under her tenure in her current role, sales have almost quadrupled and the portfolio of IT solutions that Phoenix offers has increased considerably to include Cloud, Transformation and IT Support Managed Services.
Managing more than 203 staff, Sam sees her primary role as steering the company through the fast pace of change that both customers and the IT channel are faced with while remaining agile and innovative plus providing a supportive and enjoyable work environment for everyone to thrive in.
Head of Infrastructure Transformation
Following an injury during training as a ballerina, Jen took herself off to college and re-trained. Heading in to the IT industry as many people do, starting out on an IT Helpdesk. She then moved in to a support role within the Finance industry, and in turn applied to become a Junior Server Engineer, before progressing to Senior Server Engineer. After ten years in the Finance industry, Jen took on Architecture roles within the Construction industry first as an Infrastructure Architect and then Solutions Architect. Eventually, moving away from the private sector, Jen moved in to consultancy roles where she has spent the last 9 years working on datacentre and network architecture and solutions. Jen is now Head of Infrastructure Transformation for XMA and leads on Digital Transformation projects and technologies, as well as evolving technologies and strategy.
Director channel, Northern Europe
Apay Obang-Oyway has for over 10 years worked in the IT industry, within the channel and large corporate enterprise resellers. Today, Apay is Director of channel sales Northern Europe at Symantec.
Apay has a keen interest in geopolitics, hockey and skiing. He holds an MBA from the University of Liverpool, which has augmented his passion for delivering ITC solutions that address business challenges for today and tomorrow. His interest in the ICT industry has been driven by his keen interest on geopolitics and how technology plays a major role in the sustainable socio-economic development from low income to high income economies.
Following a 20+ year career with blue chip enterprise businesses in retail, recruitment and technology, Hayley has spent the last 8 years in IT Security businesses and the last 3 years setting up and running Distology, a value added distributor. Hayley has been recognised in the A list for CRN 2018 and Distology is gaining much recognition as a serious VAD in the UK and now the Benelux. The leadership and entrepreneurial skills Hayley possesses transmit throughout the organisation to nurture a vibrant, highly professional and hard-working culture
VP of Enterprise Channel, Europe
Since starting her career in IT, Sarah has worked for some of the top technology brands in the market and has covered sales and marketing in a variety of different roles. Sarah has been at Dell EMC since 2008 and has traversed through the company's consumer, retail, small business and now channel units. Sarah has been the GM of UK sales since February 2015 and became vice-president in December 2016. In her current role, Sarah is responsible for overseeing Dell EMC's channel strategy across the UK and Ireland as well as developing opportunities for Dell EMC's channel partners to deliver a range of innovative solutions to its customers. Sarah is one of the leading female business women in the UK having been voted as PCR Woman of the Year in 2014 and been recognised as one of the top 500 Women in IT Globally - one of only a handful in EMEA. Sarah is a huge advocate for women in technology and is passionate about encouraging girls to reach their full potential.
BT Business Direct
Helen Slinger is Director of BT's Product Supply Business - the IT arm of BT's Enterprise organisation. She leads a team of over 220 people providing BT's business customers with end-to-end IT solutions.
Helen has over 25 years' experience in the IT industry, starting out aged 21 at IT reseller, Crown Computers. Since then she's had roles in both distribution and resellers, working across lots of different disciplines including customer service, sales, product management and marketing.
Helen was part of the team that took Dabs Direct online - securing its place as the UK's first online IT reseller. She played a key role in helping it grow to become one of the UK's largest and most successful internet retailers and an attractive acquisition for BT.
Helen is chair of BT's regional board in the North West; a trustee of the Greater Manchester Academies Trust and represents BT on the North West Business Leadership Team.
She is a well known name in the UK IT industry and has a number of accolades to her name. She was named as the IODs North West Young Director of the year in 2016 and in 2017 she was a finalist in their Director of the Year large Company category. She was also named by CRN as one of the Top 50 most influential women in the IT channel.
On a personal note Helen grew up on the family farm in Lancashire. She is mum to Thom, a rugby mad nine year old and lives with him in Lancashire.
Alex has been in the UK IT Distribution channel for over 25 years. With a degree from Durham University in Zoology, Alex qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young in 1991. Alex joined newly listed Ideal Hardware in 1995 and served time as Head of the Ideal Institute (training), Head of European Sales, Commercial Director and UK Managing Director before joining Westcoast as Sales & Marketing Director in 2008. He was promoted to Managing Director in 2014.
Theale based Westcoast were a £700m business in 2008 and now boast sales of £2.2bn (y/e 31 Dec 2017). The business is the UK's largest distributor of HPI, HPE, Microsoft, Apple, Lexmark, Lenovo as well as printer supplies and spares. This year (2018) the business will do close to £2.7bn and is leading the way in Cloud services. Westcoast is the current Thames Valley Business of the Year and is 26th on the Sunday Times Top Track list of the 100 largest UK privately owned companies.
Alex is always lively, unafraid to express an opinion, has a strong media profile and has been voted IT Channel Personality of the Year and is the current holder of CRN's Channel Achievement Award.
"Accountancy is a particularly useful skill in IT distribution when you are dealing with vast numbers, oodles of data and tight margins," says Alex. "However, there is also no better place to hone your sales skills, in an industry that has defined the past 30 years and will define the next 30! Taking cost from the supply chain and enabling vendors and resellers to transact efficiently with resellers and retailers is Westcoast's core focus, as well as providing appropriate finance facilities for a wide range of customers. Westcoast currently provide over £5bn of credit for the IT channel and with ever increasing growth, access to finance is business critical."
Chief Executive Officer
I was delighted to join Softcat as CEO in April 2018, moving from Techdata where I ran the EMEA Enterprise solutions business. I started my career as a qualified accountant (ICAEW), but soon moved over to tech and have held various senior EMEA and Global roles in IT distribution over the 30 years. In my spare time I enjoy cycling, skiing and golf as well as watching football and rugby. I am married with four children and really enjoy spending time with my family.
Sales Director, Public Sector
Penny Williams leads CDW's UK Public Sector, delivering digital transformation IT solutions across all verticals including Central and Local Government, Healthcare, Blue Light, Housing and Higher Education.
Penny is a public sector specialist with over 30 years of strong reseller leadership experience and achievement. She has supported decision makers at all levels and across all areas of the market ensuring each has achieved the transformational impacts that technology adoption brings, including but not limited to: reduced cost, increased productivity and ultimately guaranteed value for these organisations and the citizens that they serve.
With a passion for providing thought leadership on critical policy issues and championing better use of disruptive technology, Penny ensures her voice for transforming UK Public Services is heard at all levels through her role as Deputy Chair on the techUK PSB. She is helping to define delivery of UK Government strategies, moving beyond front-end transformation to delivery of end-to-end change in the way that citizens engage with public services.
Over the last 6 years Penny has built a formidable public sector team at CDW, achieving double digit growth through innovation, challenging convention, delivering tangible benefits that transform services, whilst adhering to fully compliant routes to market throughout.
UKI Partner Organisation at Cisco
Angela is the Managing Director for Cisco's Partner Organisation in the UKI. A long-term Cisco employee, she has been at the company over 26 years holding many different positions during that time! Working in a very diverse culture is something that is very important to her, and she sites this, as well as the opportunity to have a very varied and fulfilling career, as the reasons she has remained at the vendor for so long!
A mother of two teenage boys, she balances her career with a fulfilling family life as well as a desire to improve her golf skills! She describes herself as an enthusiastic golf novice!
Sara Yirrell is a freelance editor, a published author, and also a consulting editor for CRN. Between 2000 and December 2016, she worked for CRN (owned by Incisive Media), attaining the position of Editorial Director of the Incisive Channel Group in 2013, heading up the editorial teams on CRN UK, Channelnomics.com and Channelnomics.eu, and overseeing all the brands' growing event and research portfolios, including the UK Channel Awards and the UK Sales and Marketing Awards. Prior to CRN, she cut her journalistic teeth at local daily newspaper the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, where she worked on many beats including business, education, and crime, between 1997 and 2000.