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Konica Minolta's Laura Blackmer Named to CRN's 2024 Channel Chiefs List

Konica Minolta's Laura Blackmer Named to CRN's 2024 Channel Chiefs List

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. has announced CRN has named Laura Blackmer, president of dealer sales, to its 2024 list of Channel Chiefs. The list, released annually, recognizes the IT vendor and distribution executives who are driving strategy and setting the channel agenda for their companies.

"This list truly represents the best in our industry and I am honored to again be named among these amazing leaders," Blackmer said. "I could not do what I do without my phenomenal team that works so hard every day with our dealers, finding solutions to meet their needs and helping them diversify their portfolios to ensure success."

Blackmer joined Konica Minolta's executive team in December 2017 as senior vice president of dealer sales and was promoted to president of dealer sales in 2022. She is responsible for the sales and management of the company's extensive dealer network that represents and sells its products and managed IT services. Her notable experience includes various roles in both sales and executive leadership within the technology industry. This honor represents Blackmer's fourth time as a CRN Channel Chief and she is a five-time honoree of CRN's Women of the Channel list.

"This is such a well-deserved honor for Laura, who is an exceptional leader, is so well respected in our industry and is a trusted ally to our dealer partners," said Sam Errigo, president and CEO, Konica Minolta. "Laura rolls with the constant changes in our market, keeping dealers informed about new, cutting-edge technology and developing fresh go-to-market strategies that help them grow their businesses."

"These channel evangelists are dedicated to supporting solution providers and achieving growth by implementing robust partner programs and unique business strategies," said Jennifer Follett, vice president of U.S. content and executive editor, CRN, at The Channel Company. "Their efforts are instrumental in helping partners bring essential solutions to market. The Channel Company is pleased to acknowledge these prominent channel leaders and looks forward to chronicling their achievements throughout the year."

CRN's 2024 Channel Chiefs list can be viewed online.

In other news, Konica Minolta has announced it has been named a finalist in two categories of Ragan's Employee Communications Awards, Class of 2024. The award program celebrates the most outstanding internal communications campaigns and initiatives from the past year, shining a spotlight on companies and individuals that have excelled in cultivating effective communication, engagement and collaboration within their organizations. Konica Minolta was recognized in both the Employee Recognition or Reward Program and Internal Event Strategy categories.

Finalist: Employee Recognition or Reward Program

Konica Minolta's entry in the Employee Recognition or Reward Program category outlined its lofty goals for its new program, which included enhancing manager appreciation and employee collaboration, providing a common design and delivery platform and reinforcing Konica Minolta's company values. It also sought to address feedback from employees who were asking for enhanced rewards and team member recognition.

Konica Minolta's team wanted to provide a solution that incorporated feedback from employees and required their participation as a key to sustainable change. The team leveraged knowledge from field-based employees and learnings from existing programs, facilitated focus group meetings and surveyed leaders to review current programs and systems in detail. Data revealed that a culture of saying thanks via peer-to-peer and leader-to-employee recognition is critical to ongoing engagement, promoting expected values and performance and being an employer of choice.

Following extensive reviews, an off-the-shelf program that stood out was Bonusly, which offers manager-to-employee and peer-to-peer recognition. The platform provides points that can then be turned in for rewards including apparel, services, gift cards, travel, groceries, entertainment and donations to charitable organizations.

"Since the implementation of this program, saying thanks and employee recognition has become a key component of our culture and way of working," said Vicky Ringwood, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Konica Minolta. "Today our employees receive an average of 3.5 recognitions each month, reinforcing strong performance and demonstration of our company values. The program is one of the ways we have enhanced the employee experience while reinforcing a culture of inclusion. The program helps us retain those who contribute the most to our success through regular recognition of their impact."

Finalist: Internal Event Strategy

Konica Minolta had a special opportunity for its entry into the Internal Event Strategy award category, with 2023 marking its 150-year anniversary. The overall anniversary campaign was a global effort, led by marketing teams in each region who also collaborated with cross-functional teams at their respective locations to weave the messaging and imagery into daily activities. The campaign honored Konica Minolta's rich history of innovation and sought to evoke pride in the company's heritage among employees and customers alike. Konica Minolta incorporated the themes of its historical achievement to create an exciting FY23 Kick-off General Session that transformed its traditional employee town hall into a robust and virtual event.

The goals of the event included reigniting employee enthusiasm behind one vision, engaging and exciting the company's employee community as well as kick-starting its internal brand activation around the anniversary. These goals were ambitious as the company had to engage employees in all offices across the United States and Canada, and optimize their participation.

To do this, the marketing team created multiple touchpoints and activations to make everyone feel included, no matter where they were located. A 90-minute general session — held at the company's U.S. headquarters in New Jersey and live-streamed across all North American offices — featured a presentation peppered with photos, videos and a live CEO award presentation. To further the inclusive strategy, the team encouraged employees to watch in groups together, and a 150-year anniversary microsite was created, which included videos and a virtual museum. In the post-event survey, 83% of the employees who responded rated the FY23 Kick-off and activations as Excellent or Good, and when asked how informative the General Session was, 91% said it was Excellent or Good.

"The role of employee communications is ever more critical in the post-pandemic work environment, for ensuring everyone is marching toward the same goals, especially in businesses that are transforming like Konica Minolta," said Stacey Sujeebun, director of corporate marketing & brand communications, Konica Minolta. "Knowing this, it was key that our kick-off activities inspired and activated our employees to bring to life our corporate vision. We have seen overall engagement with our corporate strategy increased according to our employee survey, which is fantastic to see."

"Congratulations to Konica Minolta," said Brendan Gannon, senior marketing manager for Ragan's and PR Daily's Awards programs. "Your work showcases the impact of effective communication and engagement in driving success for your employees and organization."

Konica Minolta will be honored with the other finalists during Ragan's Employee Communications Awards Luncheon, which will take place April 18 at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

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