Path to Partnership: Insights from RSPA’s NextGen Rising Stars

By: RSPA NextGen Community

In the retail IT industry, partnerships are the key to innovation and success. Channel veterans have their established partnership network and know who to call, but what about the next generation of leaders? Where are they looking to build partnerships? To gain insight from the industry’s emerging leaders, the RSPA turned to the RSPA NextGen 40 Under 40 Rising Stars. Sharing their perspectives are:

  • Christin Dorner of Star Micronics
  • Jessica Maroney of Metropolitan Sales
  • Truman Meecham of Alpha POS
  • Sami Alakkam of JRs POS Depot
  • Alejandro Swaby of Cervion Systems
  • Blake Rouse of Cardknox
  • David Sohn of Helpt

Where is the first place you look to find new partners in the retail technology industry?
Dorner: This is a large but small industry. There are a lot of known places to visit and meet new people once you start networking. I love to visit trade shows, talk to people on social media, and have colleagues introduce me to others in the industry. 

Rouse: When in the office, the first places I look for new partners are industry newsletters, trade publications and LinkedIn. These online resources are a fantastic source for building targeted partner lists.

Maroney: Whether it’s attending an RSPA event or browsing the RSPA New Member Spotlight page, we have made some wonderful connections in the retail technology industry through RSPA. I can confirm that the more involved you are, the more new partners you are bound to meet!

Sohn: The RSPA Member Directory. Being a member has incredible benefits, and being able to find people through the community means supporting the community.

Swaby: Feedback from existing customers on what they need, then go to the RSPA community (other resellers) to see what options might be available and what they have successfully activated.

What is your preferred avenue to connect with new partners?
Alakkam: I have found that discovery calls are always best when establishing new relationships. Emails are fine for sustained long-term communication but getting on the phone with a new partner to learn more about them and their business is key to understanding the synergies that exist.

Maroney: Nothing beats in-person events. Exhibiting or just walking around at a trade show or conference offers a great avenue for connecting with new partners. In-person events will always be my preferred way to meet people, but webinars, if marketed and conducted well, are a close second.

Sohn: In-person events! RetailNOW was a blast and getting face time with partners is incredibly beneficial when it comes to building solid relationships.

Swaby: Almost always a warm introduction via e-mail.

Meecham: I enjoy scheduling calls to discuss new partner opportunities.

RSPA and its members continue to collaborate and find ways to create impactful relationships. A prime example is best practice sharing that takes place in the RSPA Community meetings. The RSPA NextGen Community meets monthly to provide a support network and resources for future generations and their companies to advance in the retail technology industry. If you would like to get involved in the NextGen Community, please email RSPA VP of Member Services Ashley Naggy at