Q&A with Kelly Hartman, JFrog’s New Channels & Alliances SVP

Kelly Hartman

As JFrog continues to grow, having a strong channel partner and ecosystem strategy is key to reaching our business objectives because we want to be able to offer our customers not only top-notch JFrog products, but reliable, end-to-end solutions and strategies for their evolving enterprises.  With that in mind, we are thrilled to welcome Kelly Hartman as our new SVP of Global Channels and Alliances.  Kelly has extensive experience in building partner programs for some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies, achieving huge wins for IBM, AWS, and Cisco in her 20+ year career. 

In an effort to help the JFrog community, customers, and partners get to know Kelly a bit better on both a personal and professional level, we met her for a casual Q&A about how she got started, who inspired her path, what she finds most appealing about DevOps, and how she plans to help JFrog grow its partner ecosystem. Here’s what she had to say:

What are some key points in your career that helped shape you and where you are today?

I took an unorthodox path into the corporate world by starting in the United States Air Force and then transitioning to civilian roles in technology. My military background taught me the importance of teamwork, trust, and service before self — all things that are required for strong leadership in any situation. 

Almost everything I learned about building and leading a strong channel came from over a decade at Cisco Systems. It was one of the first companies to recognize the importance of a value-based ecosystem with a level playing field for all partner types who bring value, not necessarily those who simply spend the most money. It was a new approach to a loyalty program if you will, and one that shifted the way other companies thought about their channel programs. 

And then, of course, building the partner ecosystem for the leading cloud provider gave me the opportunity to take everything I had learned and use it to reinvent myself, my thinking, and my approach. The rise of hyper-scale cloud environments provided an opportunity for all companies to do things differently and find new revenue streams. It created opportunities for a whole new generation of companies to become the most sought-after to partner with, and JFrog is a great example. 

Who was the most influential mentor in your life and why? 

My most notable mentor was Monica, my first female boss in tech. She demonstrated the kind of leadership you read about but don’t think is possible. She built a team of people that she believed in, even if others didn’t give those same people a chance. She inspired everyone to be better, to get their MBAs, to be loyal and have each other’s backs. My teammates worked around the clock, not because she asked us to, but because we felt supported, we knew our ideas and work were appreciated, and she would make sure we were rewarded in ways that were meaningful for each person. After witnessing and being part of Monica’s team, I’ve worked hard to build teams and treat people the way Monica did. Everyone who has worked for me knows her name, even if they’ve never met her! The biggest compliment I can receive is when I tell Monica’s story, and my team members say I am just like her, then tell me that is how they lead their teams. It goes along with the expression, in a world where you can be anything, be kind. Kindness and true empathy go a long way at work and in life.

As an accomplished female leader in high-tech, what advice would you give to other females looking to pursue a career in technology? 

Beginning my career in the military in an airborne role — that was only available to men shortly before I joined — provided an opportunity to prove myself, test my strength and resolve, and develop greater capabilities at every step of my career. You quickly realize that making it to a certain point doesn’t guarantee future success; you need to keep learning, pushing, getting better and doing better. You have to shift your expectations and continually raise your bar and definition for success. 

Transitioning from the military to a civilian role was a new level of learning and growing for me. Although I had a technical background, I had to learn everything new for the roles I took. I pushed myself to the business side by taking on new roles outside my comfort zone to ensure I was rounding out my experience and skills. That said, my advice to females looking to pursue a career in technology is to not be intimidated by what you don’t know. Be confident in what you can bring to the table, no matter what mix of experience that may be. You can build upon and grow as long as you are willing to do so. Thus, the only thing working against reaching your goals is your own fear and uncertainty. The sooner you can learn to overcome them, the more unstoppable you will become.

What attracted you to DevOps overall and — more specifically – JFrog?

I remember when the concept of DevOps was introduced to me several years ago as the combination of development and operations. But for me, sitting in a place where we had separate groups setting up networks, installing servers, and owning the configurations of devices, I could immediately see where it was necessary to move development teams under an operations leader in order to streamline processes. 

Then when I joined AWS, it clicked for me that DevOps is not just a technology, but an organizational and cultural change that’s absolutely needed as enterprise environments become more dynamic. If you design for high availability and leverage the elasticity those environments provide, things are going online and offline constantly. This means you need to have a reliable, single source of truth that can help keep track of any/all changes that happen or are expected to happen, as well as what to do if things are not functioning normally.  This was the beginning of my excitement for JFrog, because not only did I have an appreciation for the fact that everything today is software enabled, but I also quickly noted that when it came to solving problems in dynamic technology environments – it’s all about the binaries. 

From an ecosystem perspective, I believe DevOps creates new opportunities, significantly higher margins, and whitespace for MSPs and other ecosystem partners to deliver products and services to new markets. 

With so much experience working with some of the world’s largest tech companies, what would you say are some of the opportunities for JFrog as it grows its partner ecosystem? 

I believe JFrog is poised for hockey stick growth at this point. By spending time listening to both the community and customers, JFrog has built a platform that every company will need, whether they know it or not. In a world where everything contains software, companies need to become savvier with how they build products, manage updates and patches, push out new features securely, and reliably. 

All companies that develop new solutions will need JFrog’s Platform to help manage their end-to-end software supply chain and be successful in a smart and connected world. In essence, other software providers, cloud providers, and companies who integrate capabilities into new solutions create opportunities to partner with JFrog and solve challenges for those whose core businesses now demand a coordinated approach to software change management. JFrog has a strong strategy, a uniquely differentiated product, and a massive market opportunity. I couldn’t be more excited to help blow it out of the water.