Why Wasabi: Madison McDaniel's Partner Marketing Journey

August 17, 2022By Sean Greenhalgh

As part of our #WhyWasabi series, I interviewed Madison McDaniel, Wasabi's Manager of Global Partner Programs and Operations. Madison was recently named to CRN's Rising Female Stars of the IT Channel and is a 3-time CRN Women of the Channel List Member for overseeing the activation of Wasabi’s global partners and implementing Wasabi’s MDF program with its EMEA partners to run new campaigns and recruit new end users.

Sean Greenhalgh: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What were you doing before joining Wasabi?

Madison McDaniel: I was actually fortunate enough to join Wasabi while I was still in school. I attended Northeastern University, just down Huntington Ave from Wasabi HQ in Boston as a business major, and was looking for an internship in event marketing. I had done some work with events in previous co-op positions and loved it, so when I found Wasabi, I immediately knew it was the right fit for me. You don’t see many tech companies in the B2B space that are so passionate about branding and fun marketing. I started in the fall of 2019 as an event marketing intern while finishing my degree and the rest is history! I was the fifth person on the marketing team at the time and it’s been amazing to watch the team grow to the nearly 30 that we have now.

SG: How did your college experience prepare you for the work that you do now?

MM: I feel really lucky that I had so many opportunities to explore the world outside of the classroom at Northeastern. I had two different study abroad experiences during my five years, which really helped me collaborate with our international teams at Wasabi and understand cultural differences and marketing approaches. Additionally, being able to have three different co-ops at Northeastern really helped me understand just where in marketing I fit, which I truly believe is in the event and partnerships world. While I’ve never been a shy person, taking on leadership roles in clubs on campus prepared me to take the lead on projects early on in my professional career.

SG: Please describe your professional journey so far…

MM: I’m really lucky that my post-graduate career has entirely been at Wasabi. I started as an events intern, but really quickly learned about partner marketing and was able to help launch the Wasabi Partner Network before I graduated college. The team always encouraged me to learn as much as I could and explore different areas of focus, which led me to do a lot of work in email marketing and automation, and I found I really enjoyed the operations side of things as well. Covid-19 heavily impacted my line of work as an events marketer. As a team, we quickly had to pivot to virtual events and webinars at a crucial stage in our growth as a company, and I learned so much in those first six months while we were all figuring it out. In 2021, I had the amazing opportunity to support our international teams as they were hitting a phase of hypergrowth and to learn more about the different needs our partners have in both EMEA and APAC. Now in 2022, I’ve had a full circle moment as I focus on our global events strategy and optimizing our operations for the Partner Network. It’s really cool to look back and see how each step in my path has prepared me for my current role and I’m really excited to be making a big impact on the company as the Manager of Global Partner Programs and Operations.

SG: Can you describe the importance of mentorship in your career?

MM: My Wasabi mentors have meant everything to me! I’m so grateful to have mentors and leaders who have taken so much time to get to know me and guide me toward the best opportunities for my experience and personality. They’ve definitely pushed me to grow when I needed it and celebrated my successes. I’m lucky to have found so many mentors at Wasabi who have each brought me different perspectives and advice, and have made time for me whenever I asked. I can only hope that I can bring that level of mentorship to others throughout my career.

SG: How has working at Wasabi helped enable you to succeed professionally?

MM: I know that whenever I am ready to leave Wasabi, I am set up to take the tech world by storm. I’ve been so encouraged by the team to learn as much as I can, to join whatever meetings look interesting to me, and to take on projects that are probably a little out of my comfort zone. Because of that, I truly feel like I have a view into the entire company and understand why each area of the company is making the decisions that they do. I’ve worked with all kinds of people, in every region, and with every skill set. I truly don’t know how I could be set up better for my career in the future.

SG: What advice would you give younger women just entering the workforce?

MM: I think I have three main pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up – You know more than you think you do! Whether it’s asking a question, raising your hand for a project, or needing help; speaking up is one of the best things you can do to grow as fast as you can.

  2. Find a mentor – As I mentioned, my mentors have been instrumental in getting me to where I am now. Find someone who will help you grow, to who you feel comfortable asking any questions, and who will support you when you need to vent. This can be several people who each fulfill different roles too!

  3. Set boundaries – In the remote work world, it’s easy to work all hours of the day and be constantly available. However, this is only going to lead to burnout and it isn’t sustainable. Find activities outside of work that bring you joy, and make sure you are working with your manager to set realistic goals and working hours so that you can stay motivated long term

SG: What do you love about working at Wasabi?

MM: The team here is my absolute favorite part of Wasabi; it’s a group of people that I learn from every day during work hours, but I also love to hang out with after hours. Even when we push each other, it’s a group that doesn’t point fingers and always has each other’s backs.

SG: Describe your team in three words or less:

MM: Motivated, spunky, and a little out-of-the-box (if you put hyphens in it, it makes it one word, right?)

SG: Cloud storage could seem a little boring to some, what keeps you excited and motivated in this industry?

MM: Five years ago, I never would have thought that I would spend my days selling storage. What really caught my eye about Wasabi is how fun we make storage! I love that our team gets so creative with our marketing and because our product is simple and easy to understand, we get to have fun with it. My favorite part is the wide variety of things that our customers and partners are doing with our storage. We’re storing thousands of bird pictures for a local university, the in-progress editing files for a new blockbuster film, and maybe the research that will cure diseases, who knows? It’s fun to bring a product to market that can really do so much.

SG: Who are your professional heroes?

MM: This sounds so cheesy, but the first person who came to mind is our SVP of Marketing, Laurie Mitchell. There aren’t many women in tech that are in the spotlight, so Laurie was really one of the first women who proved to me that you can have it all. She has a beautiful family, has been working in tech for her entire career, and is now leading our marketing team with so much grace. Throughout all of it, she’s made so much time to guide me and I’ve learned SO much from her example. If I can have half the career she has had, I will be so happy!

SG: You live in Boston. What’s your favorite thing about living here?

MM: There’s always so much to explore! I’m not a New England native, originally from Minnesota, so I love the access to the ocean and the beauty of the region. I’ve had so much fun traveling around New England and finding all of the little towns and other big cities in the area. Cape Cod has been a personal favorite of mine, and I’ve now got a yearly trip planned with friends going to new towns up the Cape each time. This year we’re headed to Truro!

Keep up with Madison on LinkedIn!

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