In the latest edition of Life @ Netskope, we sat down with Melissa Nacerino, Head of Global Channel and Alliance Marketing for Netskope. While Melissa has only been with Netskope for about five months, she brings nearly two decades of experience in channel and alliance marketing in the tech industry and beyond. Plus, she’s recently been named to CRN’s prestigious 2021 Channel Chief list. Here’s our conversation:
What is your favorite thing about Netskope, and why?
It’s the people, with their passion and sincerity. They really make a difference. I feel very fortunate to be part of this amazing culture that is genuinely cultivated and valued. And when you layer on top the technology, the innovation, and the opportunity, I think what people here feel and know is that this is a pretty unique and special point in time. You don’t often get to be at a career-defining company with an unprecedented market opportunity. And we are just getting started.
How do you describe your role to friends and family?
Truth be told, my friends and family have no idea what I do. So I try to describe it like a car dealership. When you go to purchase a car, that dealership doesn’t make the car. The manufacturer does. But the dealership sells the car and they service it. Then I explain that in this scenario, I work for the manufacturer. The company that makes the product. And our amazing partner ecosystem is like all of the local dealerships. They give us extended reach, add value, expertise, services. And my job is supporting that extended network of partners globally.
What does being recognized on CRN’s 2021 Channel Chiefs list mean to you and Netskope’s channel program overall?
It’s definitely a testament to Netskope and to our program, and the dedication to our partner ecosystem, to have both myself and Dave Rogers recognized by CRN. For me, I’m personally grateful, humbled as well, to be listed among so many industry leaders that I respect tremendously.
What’s a piece of advice you would give to young women who are looking at getting into the tech industry?
We need more women in tech, more diversity in this industry overall, which means we need to promote and encourage greater interest in STEM early on. There’s also a lot of facets to being in tech, it’s not only the engineering roles. We have positions in sales and marketing, human resources. There are just so many different paths open to young professionals that we probably don’t talk about enough. As for advice: you don’t have to have it all figured out. Opportunities come at every turn. Your path is not always straightforward and that’s okay. Actually, that’s what makes the journey exciting.
Why are efforts to promote networking opportunities for women and groups like Netskope’s AWON important to you?
It’s about providing professional growth and support for our team members, whether you’re early in your career, whether you’re looking to move roles or up the ranks. There’s so much brainpower across our organization and within our collective experiences. Groups like AWON give us a vehicle to help guide one another and pay it forward. I was at a conference in London last year and one of the speakers said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Meaning, if we are not seeing ourselves reflected in positions, in tech, in leadership, it’s difficult to set a path if you never imagined that path even existed. There is so much we can do, not only for each other or within Netskope, but for the professional landscape as a whole. We are all role models for our next generation of leaders. That could be a role model for your daughter or your niece or your friend or someone who saw you speak to a class. You’ve opened their eyes. If we are going to close the diversity gap in tech, we need to do our part to make sure our candidate pool becomes more reflective of the diverse, inclusive organizations we are striving to build.
If you could watch one TV show for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I mean, right now, it’s Billions (please come back on soon!). It’s my go-to and I’m obsessed with it. The writing and the storylines are brilliant. I also live in New York and I have worked in government, so there’s a lot of familiarity that I see within the show. I actually won tickets to go to an advanced screening of the season three finale! It was in this tiny theater in Gramercy Park. We got to be a part of an exclusive reception, participate in a Q&A with the writers, and even got swag bags. I felt so cool.