We are thrilled to announce that Kirsten Kliphouse has joined Red Hat as senior vice president and general manager of North America Commercial Sales, succeeding Rick Akie, who is retiring from Red Hat in 2018 after serving several years in that capacity. Red Hat extends its thanks to Rick for his years of service and for his work to build a world-class team.
Kirsten is a technology industry veteran, with business leadership and sales experience ranging from start-ups to the biggest software company in the world. Most recently, she was CEO of Yardarm Technologies, a start-up in the IoT space. After beginning her career as a programmer and analyst, Kirsten moved into a sales role. She spent several years at Microsoft, starting as a sales account manager and quickly progressing into sales leadership and general manager roles. She left Microsoft as corporate vice president of the company’s worldwide Customer Support and Professional Services organization, but she previously served as vice president of Enterprise Software Sales and Consulting and general manager of the company’s OEM business.
In her role at Red Hat, she will lead our commercial sales organization in North America, building strategies and collaborating with partners and customers to implement flexible open source solutions that help customers drive innovation in their own businesses.
We sat down with Kirsten to learn more about her and her aspirations for this new role.
What drew you to Red Hat?
Leaders are drawn to companies for many reasons and what was most compelling to me about Red Hat was the leaders, the unwavering commitment to innovation, and the vast opportunity to work with customers. Who we work for and with sets the tone for deep associate engagement and fulfillment. From my very first set of meetings with Red Hat leaders, it was clear they were collaborative, connected and personally invested; leaders I wanted to work with. At the same time, coming most recently from a startup business, I wanted to continue working with companies that are serious about innovation and creativity and sharing that with others. That is what Red Hat’s mission is all about, being the catalyst in communities of customers, contributors, and partners creating better technology the open source way.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. How did you get started in the tech industry?
My interest in technology actually started well before my university degree in Information Sciences and Business. One of my early jobs was working in my family’s business building tennis courts. Like many family businesses, each family member did everything from literally pounding in thousands of nails into line tapes on clay tennis courts to handwriting customer invoices. Our business was in desperate need of innovation and technology solutions. At college, I was exposed to some of the current technologies that could have helped run our family business better like accounting and CAD systems. After a few semesters, I was hooked. I loved technology, solving problems, and programming. Now looking back 30 years, technology has changed everything, literally every facet of how we work, where we work and what we do across every role and every industry. I couldn’t imagine any industry having more pervasive impact than technology and I am fortunate to have been part of the technology era.
What are the trends that you think are driving technology today?
One of the most exciting trends today is the intense consumption and usage of information and data across businesses and consumers that impacts our work life and personal life. The ecosystems of communities, partners, and businesses that enable this are at the center of the technology industry, including companies like Red Hat. Furthermore, this area of intelligent consumption is fueled by new technologies like AI and blockchain where we have only just started to understand their capabilities and their impact on the technology industry.