Interview with Gabby Gledshaw – Global Partnerships Manager

10.01.2020
Gabby Gledshaw Global Partnerships Manager
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Team Insight at YellowDog

Every once in a while, YellowDog likes to shine a light on its incredible squad of talent. Get to know YellowDog’s Global Partnerships Manager, Gabby Gledshaw, in this team interview.

How would you describe what a Global Partnerships Manager does?

I joined YellowDog in 2019 to build a network of partners all over the world. My job is to find partners we can sell with and innovate with, and to work closely with them to ensure they’ve got everything they need from us, so both sides can see great results.

What types of partnerships does YellowDog manage?

Although the YellowDog partner network is diverse, all of our partnerships generally fall into one of three categories – reseller partners, application or technology partners, and global consulting partners.

Put simply, all our partnerships are with businesses that are helping customers, in core YellowDog markets, solve commercial or technology problems that we believe we can be the answer to.

There are so many interesting things we can do with our partners. In all situations, it should be a win-win arrangement.

Are most partnerships in the UK?

No! This is an international role, with lots of opportunity to connect with people overseas.

Ahead of me joining, YellowDog had a solid 2018 in terms of sales growth – a lot of which came from the UK. A priority for 2019 was to replicate that national sales growth in international markets. We did this by selecting strategic partners in key global regions. This worked really nicely. YellowDog was something new that these partners could take to the regions that they’re the experts in.

What does a usual day for you look like?

I don’t really have a ‘usual’ day! The last year has been spent building the partnerships function within YellowDog from the ground up. That’s been really exciting and presented obvious opportunities – but it also meant there was a lot to do in a short space of time. The days fly by!

The role spans all active and future industries for YellowDog – from CGI to Financial Services, Aerospace to Life Sciences. In each market, and with each type of partner, we have different stages of maturity. There is massive untapped opportunity across the board!

How does YellowDog select new partners?

A major part of creating new partnerships is talking to our customers – finding out who they work with, who they trust, and who they recommend. The best way to go about this is to physically get out there and have these conversations in person. This is particularly important in industries where we’re building our presence – like Financial Services or applications for High Performance Computing (HPC). It’s crucial to be present in those communities. By attending events, we can begin to understand who the potential partners are, what services they are providing, what problems they are solving and ask how compatible that is with our mission. From this, we can evaluate if there is an opportunity to work together.

What is the overall goal of building partnerships?

The main goal for YellowDog is growth – whether technology or revenue. My role is to serve and enable our partners to be ambassadors of YellowDog, to act as an extension of our own team. We work hard finding out what we can do to help them.

I expect that, as our partner portfolio develops, they will need different things from me and the team. This will mean my role will change and develop with time, which is really interesting. But for the time being, there’s plenty to be getting on with!

What is the advantage for YellowDog’s partners?

Fundamentally, the benefit of growth is mutual; as they help us, we help them. YellowDog brings them a new, innovative multi-cloud management platform they can take to their existing customer base to help with numerous use cases. Through this, they can unlock new revenue streams and (hopefully) achieve things they wouldn’t have been able to do without us. Many partners are starting to use the innovation YellowDog represents as a tool to win new customers – which is fantastic!

What’s the biggest challenge in your role as Global Partnerships Manager?

There is a huge amount that we want to achieve and a hundred different ways to achieve it, with only one of me managing that initiative (so far)!

There are only a finite number of hours in the day and a finite number of things that can realistically be done well. So, the biggest challenge is prioritisation. It’s about working out what the highest impact stuff is that I can do and focusing in on that. This will inevitably mean taking attention away from something else, but it’s important to use our available resources wisely on the things that’ll have the most impact.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your role?

The potential for our network of partners is hugely exciting. This is a crucial function of YellowDog’s strategy and it is still in the relatively early days of its journey. The things that I’m doing now are both very enjoyable and very challenging. Finding partners, sharing our story, and building a relationship with them is what I love.

And yet, I know, 12 months from now, what we will be doing will be very different – this is massively motivating. I’m looking forward to seeing how the function evolves. It’s a stimulating thing knowing that I’ll continue to grow and learn as I go.

Tell us about Gabby Gledshaw before YellowDog

I’m member of an age-old and growing category of people who came to Bristol for University but never left. I studied English and Drama, at the University of Bristol. On the face of it, this degree is now wildly irrelevant to my career but it did equip me with skills to tell stories and understand people, which are invaluable in my job today.

During my time at University, I fell absolutely head over heels for Bristol. I couldn’t think of any other place I’d want to live or spend my time, with the exception that is of New York City.

I had this far-fetched notion as an undergraduate that I’d move to New York, happily operating under the assumption that it would be easy – until I realised it would be very hard. Nevertheless, I managed to find a way and ended up moving there for a year. But even NYC wasn’t enough to keep me away. So, I’ve now had 12 years living in Bristol with one year flirting with New York.

Would you return to New York to live?

I’m happily settled in Bristol. But, I would love to build very active partnerships in New York, which would require me to return regularly…

What do you do in your spare time?

If we look at the evidence, it suggests I like doing triathlons. However, sometimes it’s very difficult to think why. In 2020, I’ll be taking an enforced hiatus from the one I normally do in May – as it’s my Mum’s 60th birthday – but I am booked in to do a Duathlon (running and cycling) in the Westonbirt Arboretum in March. I’m also toying with the idea of a sprint triathlon in Portishead. But we’ll see.

This is making me sound more athletic than possibly I can claim to be. The truth is that the main reason I do sports is to fuel my real passion: food and drink. Whether that is at home cooking or (more frequently, if I’m honest) out and about sampling the Bristol food scene.

Do you have any recommendations for places to eat in Bristol?

I am a long-standing fan of the Bristol Pound Scheme – currency that you can spend in and around the Bristol region. It’s a Credit Union and Bristol City Council supported scheme, with the aim of ensuring money stays in the city for as long as it can, in the hands of independent Bristol-based businesses and producers.

So, I try to eat and go out based on where accepts this local currency. Fantastic places like, Box-EThe Glassboat, Bertha’s Pizza and Poco.

I also love the Cargo, the shipping containers in Wapping Wharf that house a selection of many fab eateries.

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