Red Hat is delighted to welcome Penny Philpot as Vice President of the EMEA Partner Ecosystem. In this role, Penny will be responsible for Red Hat’s partner ecosystem business in EMEA, driving an ecosystem-first mindset and continuing to expand Red Hat’s footprint across the region through valued partners.
We caught up with Penny to find out more about her impressive career, why she chose Red Hat and her open approach to leadership.
Can you tell us what experience has led you to this new role at Red Hat?
I’ve been in the IT industry for over 30 years, predominantly in the indirect ecosystem partner space. I worked at Oracle for 25 years early in my career, where I began by setting up two tier distribution for the first time in the UK business before moving into a wider EMEA role.
At that time, I was involved in a number of initiatives that were getting a lot of traction, so Oracle asked me to do this role and a much wider scope globally. I was really proud to become the youngest female vice president in Oracle EMEA. I managed to build some great relationships and a reputation as a person who got things done, which led to more opportunities.
I then went on to lead Microsoft’s ISV business worldwide, and after similar EMEA roles at Cisco and Palo Alto Networks, I took on the role at Red Hat. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing team and can’t wait to support the business to accelerated growth.
What attracted you to the open source world and working at Red Hat?
I’ve been a big fan of Red Hat for many years and had the chance to work with Red Hat a number of times within my roles at Oracle and Microsoft (where Red Hat is an important partner).
From hybrid cloud, to edge, cloud services and automation, Red Hat products are leading the way; customers really trust and rely on the brand to deliver. The open source approach of standardisation and getting as much trusted, open source technology out into the wider masses as possible speaks volumes.
But it’s also the culture that attracted me to Red Hat. All of the current and former employees I spoke to, gave impressive feedback as well as Red Hat’s partners.This shone through in the recruitment and onboarding processes too - it has all been very smooth, positive and professional.
Beyond that, I’ve been so pleased to see how big the opportunity is to make a difference at Red Hat. I’ve been here a matter of weeks and already I’m applying my experience, approach and background to make an impact. At the same time, I’m learning so much, which I love: I have a curious mind and always want to understand more.
What are you most excited about in your new role?
I’m really looking forward to meeting more partners. Many of them I already know, but I can’t wait to understand the business from their perspective. I also want to discover what's important to them, what we can do to improve and how we can align our business and resources to help them be more profitable.
My goal is to increase mindshare within our partner ecosystem so they see us as their strategic partner of choice when it comes to helping with customer transformations.
We’ve got such a massive opportunity ahead of us; we’re only at the tip of the iceberg. I’m looking forward to rallying the team internally to leverage our ecosystem, as well as empowering the ecosystem itself to drive business growth and profitability.
How will you use your extensive partner and ecosystem leadership experience to expand Red Hat’s footprint in EMEA?
I’ve spent a lot of time leading partner ecosystem teams within different regions, both in EMEA and globally. Importantly, I’ve learned that there is no “one-size fits all” approach when it comes to working with different countries.
At the same time, I have a lot of experience in building different routes to market, whether that’s working with ISVs, system integrators, hyperscalers and so on. Each partner can do a multitude of different activities. I’m bringing in fresh eyes and using my experience, but not taking that for granted. Red Hat has an exciting journey ahead and I want to continue to learn from and add to it by asking the right questions and adapting what I know.
What kind of leader are you?
Confidence and empathy are two attributes I value highly. I believe you need to establish the direction - ensuring it’s something that people can get behind - and then support the team, giving them as much exposure as possible. In one of my first jobs, my boss got a promotion and thanked me for making them look good. This captures something that’s really important: you are only as good as the people you partner and work with.
As a leader, I lean on my people skills a lot. I get a lot of energy from working with my team, and they get a lot of energy from me in return. I love to rejoice in their success and having a sense of humour along the way never hurts.
About the author
As Vice President of Red Hat’s partner ecosystem business in EMEA, Penny is responsible for driving an ecosystem-first mindset and continuing to expand the organization’s footprint across the region through valued partners. Having worked in the IT industry for over 30 years, Penny has extensive experience running partner ecosystem teams within a range of regions both within EMEA and globally, as well as building different routes to market. Previously, she held senior leadership roles at Microsoft, Cisco, Palo Alto Networks and Oracle where she worked for 25 years and was the youngest female vice president in Oracle EMEA.