Jennifer Richey’s lessons for Women in Partnerships

Jennifer Richey’s lessons for Women in Partnerships

Jennifer (Totten) Richey has worn a lot of hats in her 20+ year career journey through partnerships and ecosystems in B2B tech. In 2022, Jennifer joined the Partnership Leaders team to co-lead the Women in Partnerships group after spending over a decade navigating the male-dominated field of partnerships.

Jennifer (Totten) Richey has worn a lot of hats in her 20+ year career journey through partnerships and ecosystems in B2B tech. In 2022, Jennifer joined the Partnership Leaders team to co-lead the Women in Partnerships group after spending over a decade navigating the male-dominated field of partnerships.

Jennifer’s Journey to Partnerships

women in tech

Jennifer tried several different paths before she found her passion in partnerships. It all started with a position that would ultimately alter the trajectory of her future career.

“I found this ad, and it was really creative and philosophical,” Jennifer said. “It said something like, ‘ if you’re passionate about building strong relationships and driving business together – and if you’re passionate about learning how to digitize business operations…’. It spoke to my business soul in a very artsy kind of way.” The interview lasted 5 minutes before they knew Jennifer was right for the job. 

Doug Burgum, the current governor of North Dakota, served as Jennifer’s first inspiration in the partnership world as president of Great Plains Software. “Burgum would get up on stage at the Great Plains conferences and deliver these amazing keynote speeches that were so inspirational and spoke to how interconnected everything was” Jennifer recalls. “That was what made me passionate about working in partnerships.” 

Jennifer worked her way across various roles in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem. From business operations, to sales, marketing, and customer account management, but always working with, through, and for partners in service of the customer. After 15 years, she moved into a focused partner channel and program management role. There she grew the channel business 100% YOY and helped their partners grow their businesses up to 50% YOY. From there, she moved out of the MSDYN ecosystem and into iPaaS (Integration-platform-as-a-service). There she served as an alliance director and then moved onto a global role leading partner marketing and programs. Even though she enjoyed the work she did, she constantly found herself going back to her strategic and operational roots. 

That’s when she found and joined Vena Solutions. Currently, the Senior Director of Ecosystem, Jennifer says her current role takes everything she’s done over her career. It allows her to “collaborate, align, drive and facilitate partner and ecosystem initiatives across the business.” She feels as though this new role is an incredibly exciting opportunity. “We are in the process of matrixing the partnership and ecosystem function and focus across every department: product, marketing, sales, professional services, customer success, strategy, ops, finance, and legal..”

Hope for the Younger Generation

“Everything I do in life is focused on paving a better path for their generation,” Jennifer says when discussing her kids. “I’m a mom – or play mom – to 6 amazing human beings. They teach me a lot about how to be a better human.” With 25 years in the game, Jennifer has experienced the changes that have come with being a woman in the workplace. “When I started in my early 20s, men, in general, were not as respectful as they are now,” she notes. “I spent a lot of years overworking to prove myself – I was 24-25 years old, meeting with CEOs who were, 99% of the time, middle-aged men. So I had to really know my craft. I had to be the expert. I had to over-perform. So I worked 70-80 hours a week.” 

She spent most of her career, like most women in tech did at the time – overworked and underpaid. Her goal was to change corporate culture. She achieved it in the best way she knew how, which was through forming partnerships with those around her. 

Jennifer recalls moving into a new company where only one woman held a position on the executive leadership team. The first conversation she had with the CEO about starting a women’s program, which is exactly what she went on to do. “I co-founded a program with a really dynamic woman that I had the pleasure of working with,” Jennifer said. “She’s about 20 years younger than me, which was awesome, and I learned a lot from her. I’m a big believer in intergenerational mentorship.”

The work that Jennifer has done is paying off. Every year we continue to see more and more women step into partnership and leadership roles. “As younger generations come in, they are just naturally better humans. That means we’re doing a decent job at being good parents, leaders and decision-makers.”

Advice for others women in partnerships

Jennifer has experienced a lot in her more than 20 years of working in tech. Her biggest advice is to check in with yourself as often as possible. Realigning your goals will not only help you stay focused, but avoid burnout as well – something that’s all too common, especially for women, in the tech industry.

Jennifer also encourages women and non-binary individuals to really spend time investing in self-care. This doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, as some of Jennifer’s favorite self-care tactics are completely free. “Take a breather, walk, nap, take your vacation days, exercise, meditate. Partnerships work is  challenging and intensive- but it can be so rewarding if you come at it from a balanced and healthy perspective.”

Get advice from and connect with hundreds of powerful women in partnerships from different backgrounds. Join Partnership Leaders’ Women in Partnerships group. Hundreds of industry professionals turn to Partnership Leaders for support with their latest projects, answers to burning questions and more. 

Dig deeper into the career journeys of impactful ladies in the industry when you download Powerful Women in Partnerships. Get inspiration on more powerful women in the industry in our Women in Partnerships spotlights.

Join The 1700+ Leaders Transforming Partnerships

As a member of Partnership Leaders you will:
  • Build and learn with the top partner people at the best companies around the world.
  • Increase your impact and accelerate your career with proven resources, tools, and best practices.
  • Grow a network of peers, partners, and advisors with common objectives.

Apply for a membership here!

Login error!