SonicWall CEO Bill Conner Wins Inaugural SC Media 2017 Reboot Leadership Award

Bill Conner has dedicated his entire career to technology and cybersecurity. It’s a mission that is rightfully acknowledged — not only via customer confidence, partner growth and upward revenue, but also industry accolades.

A new addition to SonicWall’s achievements the past year, Conner is the newest recipient of the inaugural SC Media Reboot Leadership Award. He is one of only six other elite executives honored in the publication’s top management category.

“Cybersecurity is more than technology. It’s an organic and ongoing collaboration that requires tools, skill and awareness at all levels,” said Conner. “This award is a byproduct of the dedication, support and trust in our global teams, partners, distributors and end customers. This is just the beginning of SonicWall’s renewed, aggressive and focused approach to keep customers and business safe from both known and unknown cyber threats.”

The SC Media Reboot Leadership Awards 2017 are an extension of SC Media’s Reboot edition. They are the first in what will be an ongoing awards program that enables SC Media to honor executives and professional leaders for their unique, inventive and inspiring contributions that improve security, shape the industry, provide thought leadership and otherwise have a positive impact on cybersecurity.

Logo for SC Media Reboot Leadership Award for Bill Conner

The SC Media Reboot Leadership honorees were selected based on how they changed the practice or understanding of cybersecurity for the better. The awards were organized in nine different categories, including influencers, thought leaders, top management, threat seekers, chief information officers, chief privacy officers, outstanding freshmen, outstanding educator and rising stars.

Joining SonicWall in November 2016, Conner has helped galvanize the company via new products and services, commitment to partner channels and increased global awareness.

In June, SonicWall announced the company surpassed 3 million firewalls sold and achieved 50 percent growth in partner deal registrations, reflecting more than $250 million in new pipeline. SonicWall collected 19 industry awards for its strategy, portfolio and leadership since becoming an independent company in November 2016 and Conner was announced CEO.

“Bill has been a tireless advocate for addressing cybersecurity threats through countless engagements with Capitol Hill, the media, and in the private sector when counseling the nation’s business leaders,” Michael Chertoff, Chairman of the Chertoff Group and the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security told SC Magazine.

In early August, CRN recognized SonicWall’s momentum and named Conner one of the top-25 most influential executives of 2017.

“The top executive has had partners cheering, as the now stand-alone network security vendor launched its new partner-focused strategy and key new technologies — like Capture Advanced Threat Protection — to bring enterprise-grade security solutions to SMB partners and customers,” CRN noted in the award profile.

Robert (Bob) VanKirk on Twitter
Robert (Bob) VanKirk
As the SVP and Chief Revenue Officer for SonicWall, Bob is responsible for driving top-line revenue across SonicWall’s global regions. Prior to his current role, Bob was SVP of Strategic Sales, implementing direct customer touch across SonicWall’s strategic accounts and key verticals such as the U.S. federal government, retail, state and local government, and education.

In less than eight months, the team delivered key revenue with record quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year growth. Prior to Strategic Sales, VanKirk was SonicWall’s Chief Marketing Officer where he led the corporate, product management, product marketing and field marketing teams. In just over a year, the teams successfully launched record product releases, new threat data and a new corporate campaign with global marketing programs. As a result, SonicWall set new records around installed base upgrades, in-bound contact sales, press and media coverage, social engagement, and industry awards and recognition, resulting in being named Marketing Team of the Year in the 2018 Info Security Product Guide Global Excellence Awards.

Prior to joining SonicWall, Bob was Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing with Silent Circle, the leader in enterprise privacy. Key accomplishments included establishing updated sales processes, increasing customer retention and implementing Silent Circle’s go-to-market strategy with a focus on driving revenue via channel partners. This resulted in delivering rapid growth and customer acquisition within the enterprise segment globally. Prior to Silent Circle, Bob was SVP of Americas Sales and Service with Entrust for 14 years where he drove regional sales and service across the Americas, ran global marketing, implemented Entrust’s Customer Value Analysis initiative and established the inside sales and SSL teams. The team consistently delivered year-over-year growth, surpassing two times the market growth rate, adding a record number of net new Fortune 1,000 customers with world class renewal rates across the installed base.

Bob received a B.A. from Davidson College and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University in Business and Policy.
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