Channel unites as ARN Influencer Network sets 2021 agenda
Cherry Yumul (ARN)

Cherry Yumul (ARN)

Credit: ARN / Christine Wong

Leading executives within the Australian channel united under one roof for the first time in 12 months as ARN launched a market-leading agenda at the inaugural Influencer Network.

Playing host to more than 150 business leaders  spanning partner, vendor and distributor organisations  the event outlined key initiatives during 2021 and beyond, spanning EDGE 2021, Innovation Awards, Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) and Emerging Leaders Forum.

The launch of Influencer Network marks an evolution of the Judges’ Lunch concept, first introduced to officially kick-start the awards season while outlining core judging requirements. In recognition of an expanded line-up of industry initiatives, Influencer Network now encompasses the entire channel events calendar, continuing ARN’s role as the leading voice of the local ecosystem.

ARN continues to bring together this network of leading figures of influence within the channel, helping strengthen the power of the ecosystem to bring ideas to impact,” said Cherry Yumul, vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation at ARN.

“We are proud to once again play host to Hall of Fame inductees, industry judges, thought leaders, innovators, Emerging Leaders, entrepreneurs and subject matter experts – an incredible network of minds, talent and participants who convene to build a sticky, engaged and productive community. Indeed, our collective success is the sum of each individual’s influence in creating value and consuming value.”

In bringing together all market initiatives  from Emerging Leaders to Hall of Famers  Yumul acknowledged that while ARN continues to engage different aspects of the network in “different ways for different purposes”, Influencer Network represents the annual opportunity to come together as one ecosystem.

ARN sits at the intersection of the network and the various tribes within it, serving as the connective tissue across Australia,” she explained. “Our role is to enable the community to thrive because we believe in the power of diverse ideas and inclusive coalition building.

“We take great pride in this but with this pride comes the humility to self-reflect often, because while we will not get it right each time, we certainly should and can do better, always. You, our readers, newsmakers, business partners, critics, and advisers  the channel community  are front and centre to what we do, why we do it and how we do it.”

Fiona Brown (ARN Hall of Fame)Credit: ARN / Christine Wong
Fiona Brown (ARN Hall of Fame)

Honouring industry leaders

A central part of this executive network is the Hall of Fame, representing the highest level of peer recognition for an individual’s contribution to the channel in Australia.

Launched in 2007, the Hall of Fame recognises the influence and significance of contribution – both individually and collectively – to the health of the ecosystem.

“Congratulations to Fiona Brown, Hall of Fame inductee in 2020,” said Yumul, offering the first in-person acknowledgment since Covid-19. “Fiona has been a central figure in the Australian channel for more than four decades.

“She has been a champion of the IT distribution landscape since co-founding one of the most widely recognised brand names in the local market, Dicker Data. Since the late 70’s, Fiona has helped to guide the company for which she is a director from strength to strength, at the same time helping partners and vendors continue to progress alongside.”

Matt Codrington (Lenovo) honouring Rod LappinCredit: ARN / Christine Wong
Matt Codrington (Lenovo) honouring Rod Lappin

Also during the virtual awards ceremony in 2020, Rod Lappin was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Honoured on stage by close friend Matt Codrington – managing director of A/NZ at Lenovo – Rod was a charismatic and energetic leader who boasted a wealth of senior management experience spanning decades, following roles at Lenovo and Dell across Asia Pacific and beyond.

As a local Australian, Rod worked extensively across the world and lived  and raised a family  in Japan, Singapore and South Korea on multiple stints, before passing away in early 2019.

The event also paid tribute to Nick Russell  another friend of the industry  who passed away last month.

Honoured on stage by Rhody Burton  head of cloud partnerships and alliances A/NZ at Google Cloud Nick was managing director of Katana1, a business he co-founded with close friend Ross Ogilvie. But Nick was also much more… a husband, son, brother, friend and fearless leader.

Following close consultation with Nick’s family – and with the support of Hall of Fame inductees  Nick will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during the upcoming Innovation Awards ceremony in the second half of 2021.

Rhody Burton (Google Cloud) honouring Nick RussellCredit: ARN / Christine Wong
Rhody Burton (Google Cloud) honouring Nick Russell

Power of influence

Aligned to the core theme of the launch event, deep-diving into the power of influence was a panel featuring leading executives across partner, vendor and distributor organisations, moderated by Moheb Moses as co-founder and director of Channel Dynamics.

Speaking as head of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning at DXC, Nikita Dhami acknowledged that while the concept of influencing is most commonly associated with popular culture and social media, within the context of technology, the definition is somewhat broader.

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