FiberLight Hires Cable Industry and Coaching Veteran to Lead Enterprise Sales
We recently sat down with industry legend Sue Kelly to get her thoughts on her new role at FiberLight, coaching and career background, and thoughts on the opportunity ahead. Irish accent and all—here is what she had to say:
Tell our readers a bit about yourself. What is your history in the industry like?
Sue: I have spent 20 years in the telecom industry and bring MSO (Multiple Systems Operators)-based experience growing B2B from its infancy to enterprise in all sales channels with respect to provisioning and launching products and services in emerging and established markets. Objectively, the goal was to compete and gain market share beginning with a small network division in South Carolina and grow to manage oversight of the entire East Coast.
I’ve worked from entry-level hybrid inside/outside roles in sales, through middle and executive management, to eventually Vice President of SMB sales for large MSOs with several hundred direct reports.
You’re joining the FiberLight team as SVP of Enterprise Sales, can you tell us a bit more about what your position entails?
Sue: I’m in charge of accelerating and growing revenue for the enterprise channel. This includes enhancing our go-to-market approach and customer support tools, as well as teaching, coaching and imparting excellence in the manner of how we go about selling.
I also provision the immediate need and transaction of the client, but more importantly, I speak to the future state of our clients’ services, i.e. cloud connectivity strategy and the possibility of owning and managing private dark fiber assets when it’s warranted for suited clients.
You have experience as a Division One Head Coach for several years in the SEC. Do you think there is any overlap between the skills and duties you developed/performed there and your work with telecommunications teams? Do you think that part of your background gives you a bit of an edge?
Sue: Absolutely, without a question of a doubt. All skills are transferable because at the end of the day we are all goal/objective oriented. Intestinal fortitude is needed in both sales and sports because the more relentless you are the greater influence you have on outcomes.
I see many folks “telling” in this industry rather than teaching because of the revenue pressures. You must balance/manage that and have the patience to teach, as it renders sustained production in the long run.
Coaching is natural to me; I like to allow my team(s) to be experts in their product knowledge and the FiberLight Story, and I liken myself to the X and O guide and motivator behind the scenes.
Now instead of sports strategy, I am solving for sales enablement and business acumen of how my folks are approaching their business and laying out the playbook (so to speak) for my professionals to be successful. It’s a collective team effort, and if you see it any other way you are in the wrong line of work. Business moves at the speed of relationships.
It’s a collective team effort, and if you see it any other way you are in the wrong line of work. Business moves at the speed of relationships.
How would you define your leadership style? Why does it work for you and your teams?
Sue: My style focuses on advocacy of both the person and the professional. I will write your critiques in dust and your accomplishments in stone. I am here to encourage and enhance, but you will have to dust off on occasion.
I am direct and intense—but fair. My upbringing lends me a great respect for livelihood. I am here to teach, improve and support livelihoods. When my respective folks are doing their part, I don’t have to preserve my livelihood as we collectively exceed our objective.
I love to have fun; I don’t take myself too seriously after work hours. Endured time in this industry has taught me that if you are not your true authentic self, you cannot sustain long term.
I know it works because of the great sustained professional relationships and friendships I have within the business, which I cherish. Ultimately, I have “proof of concept” in exceeding results with assigned teams over 20 years to demonstrate my competencies.
What makes you most excited to work with FiberLight? What drew you to the company?
Sue: FiberLight is perfectly positioned as the cable companies were 15 years ago. Back then, everybody had an emerging data need. So, as talented as we may have thought we were, clients had a need for services like they had a need for normal utilities. We, at that time, provided that data connection, and having large built-out networks made it a very lucrative time for the cable industry.
Fast forward to today, enterprise digital transformation is driving cloud connectivity conversion planning, high-capacity data center interconnection requirements, dark fiber enablement and managing network assets has become the demand. Today, FiberLight is brilliantly positioned to provision these services and meet clients’ ever-growing need for network and bandwidth. We have been putting fiber in the ground for 20 years, and now we have this start-up mentality of being able to fulfill enterprise client needs with the following solutions: Cloud Connect, Dark Fiber, Wavelengths, Ethernet and Enhanced Dedicated Internet Access.
What are you most looking forward to achieving in your new role?
Sue: I look forward to developing the great talent we have, forging relationships with all the great FiberLight folks and growing the business in a scalable way to enjoy serving new clients while having fun along the way.
Are there any exciting announcements from FiberLight that our readers should keep an eye out for?
Sue: Yes. We’re looking to hire an E-rate enterprise sales professional as well as a data center sales expert—both positions requiring business development experience. We are also looking for enterprise sales professionals in the DC, Atlanta, Tampa and Texas markets. Check the FiberLight careers section of our website for postings coming soon. Also stay tuned for new press releases and case studies featuring very happy and satisfied customers among large players in our industry.
Anything else you’d like to touch on?