One month into his time at Pax8, Rob Rae is focused on MSP growth and gearing up for Beyond 2023. Plus, he shares why joining Pax8 made sense at this stage in his career.
Pax8 announced in February that channel veteran Rob Rae has joined the company as CVP of Community and Ecosystems. Rae is no stranger to the channel ecosystem. His 25-year career has spanned multiple roles and companies in the industry and introduced him to many MSP partners who see him as a true leader in the space.
With a month under his belt, and Beyond 2023, the inaugural partner conference from Pax8 coming soon, Rae is focused on strengthening the work Pax8 already does to enable MSPs and their SMB clients. Along with that, he is gearing up to host Beyond and securing a few additional surprises for attendees.
Pax8 is a “natural fit” for Rob Rae
When Rae decided it was time to look for a new opportunity, many speculated he might join Pax8. Which of course, he did. Now, he sees his role as a bit of a full circle moment. Years ago, he met Ryan Walsh (Pax8 Chief Strategy Officer) and Nick Heddy (Pax8 Chief Commerce Officer) at an industry event and, after hearing the early Pax8 mission, offered them both a chance to work with him.
“Honestly, I didn’t quite get it at first. I heard them both out and offered them the chance to work with me. Of course, I laugh about that now, given I’m now the one they offered a job to. I always tell people to never burn a bridge in the channel. You never know where you might end up years down the road.”
Fast forward several years, and now Rae finds himself working with the company he once couldn’t understand. He credits that to the business maturity and culture around supporting MSPs that Rae sees as a perfect fit for his own ethos.
MSP growth remains top priority
Rae’s channel experience has taken him through many of the industry’s largest shifts. Starting with the transition from reseller to MSP, then to the cloud, and now to the heightened need for cybersecurity practices, Rae has seen MSPs pivot many times over. His commitment presently is to help Pax8 partners be successful through change.
“We’ve seen a lot of pivots in the channel and in tech, and I think we’re now at the next big pivot moment around cybersecurity and also just how we manage cloud services across the board. It’s an exciting opportunity for everyone for sure, but we need to make sure MSPs are ready to keep pivoting.”
Also exciting for Rae is a fresh start with a new role. After nine years at Datto, Rae has jumped into learning the Pax8 way and defining his role as CVP of Community and Ecosystems. Rae sees the “Community” half of his title as dedicated to MSPs, while “Ecosystems” will focus on the broader relationships between Pax8, vendors, and partners.
Gearing up to go Beyond
Rae’s first major project is planning and hosting Beyond, the inaugural channel partner conference presented by Pax8 in June. He, alongside the Pax8 Channel team and others, is committed to ensuring the event is not only worthwhile but transformative for attendees.
In the packed schedule of keynote addresses and boardroom sessions, Rae sees huge potential for MSPs of every size and for professionals across unique types of roles.
“MSPs gain a lot from traveling and networking at shows, and that’s nothing new. But Beyond really is the one that MSPs should plan to attend in 2023. It’s a truly unique opportunity to attend a vendor-neutral, partner-focused event that is focused on helping them grow their entire business model, not on selling them a particular product.”
Rae also highlights the strength of Pax8 Academy as one of the top reasons why Beyond, even as a conference in its first year, will be such a worthwhile event. With a combined 600 years of experience, the Pax8 Academy team is no stranger to education and enablement.
“Our Academy coaches are, truly, some of the best in the business I have ever seen. With their backgrounds and knowledge, all of these sessions will be truly top-notch, and I know MSPs are going to walk out of Beyond seeing a return on investment for their attendance.”
Rob Rae’s top five for MSPs at Beyond
The Beyond agenda is packed with sessions tailored to everything from business development to the digital transformation affecting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). To Rae, MSPs should spend time on their business not in their business, meaning less time on standard operations and more time on growth and strategy. Beyond has been built for all elements of an MSP’s practice, including:
- Fast-Track to Climbing the Technical Career Ladder
- Cybersecurity Starts with Your Team: Creating a Culture of Security
- Mastering Business Maturity: Overcoming Common MSP Growth Challenges (Anywhere in the Journey)
- Gross Margin Demystified: Boost Your Bottom Line
- And more!
The importance of innovation
Pax8 is rooted in a supportive, inclusive culture that extends to its employees and its channel partners. Of the four values Pax8 lives and breathes by (Elev8, Advoc8, Innov8, and Celebr8), Rae is most drawn toward Innov8.
“Innovation is what makes the channel so successful. Our technological capabilities have just grown and grown from where they were when I started twenty plus years ago. Pax8, too, is incredibly innovative in the way we enable partners through our Academy programs and the Marketplace. It’s a great time to be in the channel, and to be at Pax8, because of the innovation.”
As he begins to fully flesh out his role and settle in, Rae has already seen the Pax8 culture come to life through internal discussions and future planning. As he puts it, Pax8 “practices what it preaches” and everyone, from leadership down, keeps MSPs the core focus of all business decisions. Rae has already suggested new opportunities and paths to further enable Pax8 partners, and many of them will be implemented in the near future.
“Pax8 really does care, and I think that has been the most exciting for me to see. You never fully know what a company is like until you’re in it, and I can honestly say Pax8 is internally what it says it is externally. Our partner relationships are really what make Pax8 successful, and I’m excited to continue to build upon those and develop trusted partnerships.”
Register today to lock in your attendance at Beyond
So, what exactly do Rae and Pax8 have up their sleeves to make Beyond even better? Well, for starters, a heightened focus on cybersecurity through interactive experiences designed for security professionals, by security professionals. The Beyond agenda is already jam-packed, but that doesn’t mean a few additional opportunities can’t be added as Rae and the team continue to flesh out partnerships with others across the channel.