It’s no exaggeration to say Greg Wasserman knows more than just a thing or two about partnerships. After working in various sales positions at the start of his career, he entered the partnerships industry in 2019. Now, he’s handling partnerships and growth for Castmagic, an AI startup focused on turning long-form audio into easily usable assets.

But as recently as last year, Greg still had some gaps in his knowledge—until he went through Firneo’s Certified Partnerships Professional program, that is. In just a few weeks, Greg picked up critical insider tips and techniques for getting internal buy-in, changing the culture around partnerships programs, and all while meeting other people involved with his field of choice.

How Greg Became a Partnerships Pro

Greg entered the working world as an assistant mattress buyer at Robinsons-May/Meier & Frank before moving to Yahoo in 2006. He eventually earned a sales manager position there and spent the next five-and-a-half years honing his business acumen. 

Eventually, Greg was able to parlay his skillset into a position at Freebird—a ridesharing rewards platform—where he was tasked with finding advertisers that would reward riders. 

But the truth? He was actually responsible for leading the startup’s partnerships program. 

Once Greg picked up the partnerships bug, he never looked back. His experience at Freebird and enthusiasm for the space gave him the industry insights he needed to land a job with Maple Media as director of global sales, business development, and partnerships. 

Greg’s Biggest Partnerships Challenges

However, nothing is a given in partnerships, and even at the top levels Greg has dealt with his share of struggles. It’s an extremely diverse field that requires a wide range of both soft and hard skills, and he quickly realized that he had some important gaps to fill if he wanted to become a complete partnerships package. 

Securing Internal Buy-In

In his first “official” partnerships role at Freebird, Greg had to contend with minimal internal support. He needed to boost ecosystem engagement ASAP or he was going to risk losing his job, but the lack of internal buy-in actively made it harder for him to function in this role.

“Getting internal buy-in is hard for everyone,” he noted. “When partnerships people get fired or have trouble building their partner programs, it’s often because they don’t have internal buy-in or upper management is too narrow-minded to see the value of what they’re doing.”

Working Without Support

His experience at Maple Media highlighted another common problem among partnerships pros—namely, the low level of support typically given to partnerships departments by leadership. At Maple Media, he was told outright that the company’s marketing department would not support him.

“Like most people in partnerships, I fell into the industry. In my last two jobs, I was a lone wolf—I was unsupported and trying to figure out how to do my job by myself,” he said.

Unfortunately, Greg’s lack of professional support went beyond the companies he worked for. In other business roles it’s a relatively easy task to connect with peers and build a network of relationships to develop your career. A lack of an obvious community made it extremely difficult to get the answers he needed to excel. 

Keeping Up With the Industry

Before he entered his current position at Castmagic in the spring of 2023, Greg had some downtime to prepare for his new role. During that period, he focused on improving his skill set and connecting with other people so he’d be as prepared as possible to hit the ground running.  However, as with any break, he needed to keep his knowledge of the partnerships industry fresh so he would be ready to take the reins. 

How Firneo Helped Greg

Greg first heard about Firneo through PartnerHacker and went through the Certified Partnerships Professional program in the fall of 2022. 

“At that point, I hadn’t received any formal partnerships training. I thought Firneo’s program would be a great way to learn what I didn’t know and talk to other people doing the same thing as me,” he said.

One of the things Greg liked most about Firneo’s course was how it divided partnerships knowledge into different categories. Each of the program’s eight weeks focuses on a single aspect of the industry, from understanding the value of partnerships (week one) to bringing partnerships to market (week eight). And one of Greg’s most prominent partnerships pain points—getting buy-in—is the sole subject of the program’s second week.

Greg also appreciated the program’s focus on interactivity and participant feedback.

“Each person brought their own experiences with partnerships and their unique perspectives on the industry to the table, and there were so many good takeaways from a lot of diverse voices. Obviously, different people have different views on partnerships, but you’d never be able to anticipate the responses people gave. Those were some of the biggest ‘a-ha!’ moments of my career,” he said.

Ultimately, Greg enjoyed Firneo’s program so much that he signed up for another cohort in the winter of 2023. According to Greg, he largely used his second run-through as a networking opportunity.

“I had learned a lot the first time around, and I remembered how game-changing a partnerships community would have been in my previous roles. This was the perfect opportunity to refresh my skills, reinforce knowledge, and connect with as many people as possible.” 

While many Firneo participants are up-and-coming partnerships pros trying to get off to a strong start in their industry, it also allowed him to link up with a host of experts and veterans who offered him top-tier insights into deep strategic aspects of the space.  

“Regardless of where you are in your career or your company, the knowledge you’ll get from Firneo will give you a fresh look at the partnerships industry,” Greg said.

Get the Partnerships Knowledge You Need

The partnerships field is infamous for not giving people the knowledge they need to get started, leading to a situation where even skilled professionals can struggle with fundamentals like getting buy-in. No matter where you are in your career, there are always new layers to develop and old habits to evolve. 

Whether you’re an incoming partnerships professional interested in building the foundation for your new career or an industry veteran looking to brush up on your knowledge, you won’t find a better source of partnerships expertise than Firneo. If you’re interested, don’t wait—get enrolled in our Certified Partnerships Professional program today and take your career to the next level. 

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