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    Philippa Christian named vendor partnership or alliance professional of the year

    March 2024

    Philippa Christian named vendor partnership or alliance professional of the year

    Philippa Christian, Global Head of Partnerships and Alliances- Sales, has been named WaterTechnology Vendor partnership professional of the year at the Women in Technology & Data Awards 2024. We sat down with Philippa to discuss her career to date, her advice to peers – and those seeking roles – in the financial services sector, and what the accolade means to her.

    Tell us more about role and journey here at Moody’s?

    I joined Moody's through the Bureau van Dijk (BvD) acquisition in 2017. During my tenure at BvD for many years I was a sales representative selling to financial institutions, professional services and consultants. I evolved my role into a Know Your Customer subject matter expert focused on pre- sales. Leading up to the Moody’s acquisition I identified a need to bring structure and evolve third -party agreements we were papering with clients and technology organizations. I spoke to senior management then about a partnership program that I intended to set up upon my return from maternity leave. Upon my return we expanded the partnership program to be more strategic in nature. The aim being to build and evolve strategic partnerships for Moody's that complement its strategy to support growth at scale. This led to my current role of leading a global team of partnership relationship managers.

    Could you elaborate on your strategy for identifying potential partners, nurturing these relationships, and fostering their growth?

    Identifying new possible partnerships targets is a core part of the role and is often quite complex. We have many partnership requests on a weekly basis and are lucky to be able to qualify those from an exciting pool of innovative technology companies. We use a qualification process we have honed with experience. In partnerships, you need to be very clear on what your organizational requirements look like as these can change frequently due to strategy shifts and acquisitions or investments. We look for organizations that have a unique selling point which is unlikely to conflict with our own product development strategy – or, ideally, complements it as far as the roadmap allows. The personality and cultural fit is really important just as in any business or personal relationship. Expectations for both organizations have to be realistic and agreeable: everything from timescales to budget and the amount of development or go-to-market work required.

    What advice and insights could you offer to individuals aspiring to a role similar to yours?

    You will need the ability to convey ideas clearly, negotiate terms, and articulate the value of collaboration. Partnership managers need to think strategically to identify potential opportunities, align partnerships with organizational goals, and create win-win scenarios. You will need to be a great relationship builder internally and externally and I believe sales experience is crucial in this role.

    Is there a particular project or initiative in your career thus far that you feel especially proud of? If so, could you tell us more about it?

    It would have to be this current partnership team and strategy. I have built up a team that has deep understanding of operation and strategy across a large complex business that is growing exponentially both in revenue, people, acquisitions and investments. We need to be nimble and agile in our approach and this flexibility helps provide confidence in our mission.

    Can you share details about your current and upcoming projects and their significance in relation to your role?

    For the 2024 sales year, the team strategy is to focus on strategic partnerships that can scale fast for Moody’s. We also want to maximize our learning around the impact GenAI will have on our partnership strategy particularly as it relates to large language models that can learn from our deep and vast data content and represent a threat to our growth, if not managed carefully.

    During your career journey, what is the most impactful lesson you've learned?

    Setbacks are your best opportunities to learn. When things don’t go well do your best to use them as an opportunity for professional growth.

    Do you have any specific advice or guidance for women who are just starting their journey in this industry?

    Show up, don’t hide, value your work and look for a mentor early on. This mentor can help you navigate the company and industry you are in and also support you in making the right connections and relationships with stakeholders. Build a network of supporters around you. Continually strive to meet new people each week and understand what they do in their roles and how you may impact them and how they might impact you.