Shirley Wigley looks at the industry with optimistic eyes
Former Sophos country manager returns to NZ and takes up role with SMS eTechnologiesBy Vera Alves, Auckland | Thursday, 21 June 2012
Shirley Wigley is the daughter of New Zealand's first and only wrestler to be included in the country's Sports Hall of Fame, Lofty Blomfield. She carries that heritage with pride and it was from her father that she learnt that "you can be anything you want to be".
So here she is - exactly where she wants to be right now. The former Sophos country manager has now joined Kaspersky's distributor SMS eTechnologies. The IT security field is Wigley's arena and where she feels the most comfortable. She was previously territory manager for security distributor Chillisoft. It was a job with Fuji Xerox Printers, however, that brought her back to New Zealand after a stint overseas.
At just 24 years old, she was the youngest country manager for Avery UK globally. "That probably set me on a path of management but also knowing how far I can push myself to succeed. I ended up in IT because I had been very involved in teaching myself java scripting," she recalls. "I’ve always had a penchant for IT though, and so this industry gives me everything I need and want in a job."
Her decades of experience working with channel partners means she knows exactly what the community wants and needs. " I always say to my resellers, ‘ I’m a seal – train me.’ I also always tell them, 'I’m not working for your typical distributor'. This is about delivering what our resellers expect, that makes my job very easy. I guess you could say one of my major skills is that I’m adaptable. I do like being told by my resellers what they want," she says.
Having spent time both in Europe and in Australia, Wigley says she has a positive outlook on the industry in New Zealand. "New Zealand is fine. I feel economically our industry has come through a couple of very hard years. Certainly everyone felt it but I do see some positive attitude out there in the industry and a willingness to start taking small risks again," she says.
In her new role, Wigley will be focusing on sending "a strong message out to resellers in New Zealand about ZyXel". "For the small to medium sized businesses in New Zealand, business grade security appliances and services, wireless LAN access points, and gigabit Ethernet switches with firewall, anti-virus, content filtering, and VPN functions in a single appliance at the most competitive prices out there is very good news for our resellers," she explains.
Her second focus will be on getting resellers to buy Kaspersky from SMS eTechnologies. "As the largest distributor of Kaspersky across Australia and New Zealand, we’ve got some very good reasons why they might want to talk to me."
• Where do you live now and where did you grow up and have lived before?
I live in Pukekohe and was brought up Auckland but spent a lot if time working overseas before coming back to New Zealand.
• Are you married? Kids?
I’m not married and have no children but do have good friends with kids I can borrow occasionally.
• What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading 1632 which is in the Ring of Fire Series, a fictional futuristic book about a town in Germany in the 1400’s being transplanted into modern day America – it's riveting!
• Who is your mentor? Or someone you admire professionally?
I have been fortunate in my working career to have a few, most recently I admire our ANZ manager Tony Stratton. Tenacious and a great leader, and always willing to impart some of his wisdom – he’s always there for me.
• What would be the best advice you could give to someone in the same business as you?
The best advice I could give to someone else in the same business is to remember this is New Zealand, we do things a little differently here. Relationships are important in NZ and they become lifetime ones.
• Do you have any favourite sports?
My favourite sport is dressage. I want to compete again at FEI level and I also enjoy dressage judging for Equestrian NZ.
• What's your favourite gadget?
• And your favourite website?
At the moment and especially with the Olympics coming up it would have to be You Tube.
• What's your drink of choice?
What I drink most is coffee. A glass of Chardonnay on a Friday night enjoying the end of the week is pretty good though.
• What do you think has been the single most important advance in technology?
• If you weren't in technology, what would you be doing?
I’d actually be in Europe competing in dressage and training others.
• What do you like about the IT industry?
The people in IT here in New Zealand are great. They are innovative and hard working. I also like the constant daily rate that this industry changes, it takes some keeping up with but I find it challenging.
• Could you describe what a typical day in your role involves?
Typically, I try to make as many calls as I can in the morning to resellers and in the afternoon get out and meet with new customers.
• How do you keep the work/leisure balance?
For me there isn’t any! It’s about work. Being single my priorities are different. I guess that's easy for me to say but I do get a lot out of my work and my job.
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