During her 19-year tenure at HP, Americas Channel Chief Stephanie Dismore has held a variety of leadership roles, but her first one at the company was a trial by fire. She interviewed for and later accepted a job she’d never thought she was qualified for, as the marketing communications manager for HP’s calculator team in Vancouver.
In the early aughts, calculators were hardly considered the cutting edge of tech, though they had a loyal fan base and were deeply entrenched with customers. She was excited by the challenge. “I got really jazzed up about the opportunity because they were trying to make calculators cool again,” Dismore says. “I am not a scientist and I am not an engineer, but I had to learn how to market to them.”
She took those hard-won learnings and has since risen through the ranks and today, she heads both the commercial and consumer channel organization for the Americas, part of a global sales collective that makes up nearly 90 percent of HP’s yearly revenue.
If there’s one little known fact about HP, it’s that most of its business flows through the channel, a diverse group of companies who sell, install and service HP products (think: retailers, big box stores, office supply stores, e-tailers, distributors and local players called “VARs,” or value-added resellers).
Dismore is a champion of HP’s “channel first” strategy and spends nearly every week on the road meeting with partners — racking up some 250,000 airmiles last year and getting way too familiar with the best airport lounges.
It goes without saying that managing such a critical organization takes tenacity, grit and strong leadership skills — it also requires the ability to truly connect with channel partners to understand their needs and help them grow their bottom line. She’s accumulated a slew of accolades, the most recent of which include CRN’s Power 100: The Most Powerful Women of the Channel 2018 and CRN’s 2018 "50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs” and in January, was honored by trade group Women in Consumer Technology as a finalist for its Legacy Awards.
Dismore, a self-proclaimed “beach girl” and a mother to a blended family of six, spoke with the Garage from her home base in Austin, Texas.