Can you describe a bit about your background before joining AirWalk
I’ve always been involved in sales or sales management and over the years I have worked in a number of different fields. In my first year out of school, back in the early nineties, I sold an assorted range of products ranging from regular industries like insurance and books, to a crazy few months selling ladies’ nail care kits and “replica” perfume!
After gaining project management experience in the petrochemical industry and honing my sales management skills working for a vehicle telematics company, I finally began what has now been a 20-year journey in information technology when I started working for AltaVista in 1999. For those who don’t remember the AltaVista search engine, we were the Google of our day, until Google came along and informed us that we weren’t. I was immediately captivated by the technology scene and the environment and though I didn’t know much about the web back then (I remember asking my manager to explain to me what a pixel was), I was surrounded by some of the brightest engineers and software developers in the industry so my learning curve, although steep, was rapid.
After AltaVista I started a web development and digital marketing business and, for the next 15 years, worked on projects as diverse as web-based recruitment platforms, e-commerce applications and content management systems, to outdoor signage and branding for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Over the past few years, since selling my business, my focus has been on helping companies adapt to new, agile ways of working in a technical landscape where innovation, agility and speed are the strongest currencies and entire industries are being disrupted by nimble start-ups and organisations that have adopted this new mindset and approach to work.
What was it that made you join AirWalk?
I was initially attracted to AirWalk and the team because of where they were on the journey. With a small core team working out of a tech hub in the City of London, AirWalk, in many ways, looked like a start-up. The pedigree, experience and industry relationships of the partners and consultants, however, mean that AirWalk are engaged with some of the largest organisations and well-known financial institutions in the world. Not a bad start for a start-up.
Up until this point, all new projects and sales had been as a result of personal relationships and there was no sales department. This means that as Head of Sales, I’ll have the scope to build and shape the sales function and strategy from the ground up, so I get to combine my desire to promote DevOps and Cloud computing with my inner entrepreneurial drive, and build out AirWalk’s sales team as a start-up within a start-up.
What challenges are you helping your clients solve?
As well as making sure we find the right team to assist our clients with major change programmes and project portfolios, my role is to help our customers to improve organisational performance and to transform their business into a technology organisation that can learn and adapt as required. I firmly believe that if an organisation can fully embrace self-organising teams, adopt DevOps and Agile ways of working and go all-in on cloud computing, this will be the last “transformation” they will need to undertake. For a modern, learning organisation, change will be business as usual and hardly noticeable, as it will be iteratively adopted one small release at a time.
What makes AirWalk the right company to help those clients?
Our people. AirWalk’s leadership team and consultants have a long and varied history of successfully forming, recovering and delivering transformational programmes in some of the world’s largest organisations. As a company, we are not fazed by scale or complexity and we have a reputation for delivering in fast moving, highly-regulated environments. In the digital space, we have built and run complex enterprise cloud estates across multiple regions and hundreds of applications. For some of our clients, we are their cloud team. This level of confidence has not been placed in us overnight, but after years of successfully delivering complex programmes and consistently navigating digital change.
What is your ambition for AirWalk and your career over the next few years?
Clearly, as Head of Sales, my main focus is on building out our sales pipeline and increasing revenue across the business. That being the case, I have no desire to build a sales team that has to bring in business at any cost. Instead, I will build on the reputation and relationships built by our leadership team, and partner with our customers in a way that we become trusted advisors and are treated as an extension of their team. Done correctly, this will ensure that we continue to engage with great customers on interesting projects where we can make a big impact and move the needle in a meaningful way.
Personally, I plan to continue building on my technical ability, learning skills such as programming and version control and obtain certifications in relevant areas such as AWS architecture and cloud computing. This isn’t strictly necessary for my role but having a deeper level of insight into the technical areas that my customers face on a daily basis has had a massive impact on my ability to assist in finding the right solution – and there’s nothing like the pressure of an exam or the promise of a certificate to focus the attention!
What might we find you doing outside of work?
I love getting outside and getting lost in the wild. Camping, hiking in the mountains and trail running are my favourite activities but I also enjoy kayaking and mountain biking. Though I do enter public races and competitions, I mainly do them for enjoyment and to keep fit.
When I have the time, I’m a huge fan of travelling – road trips in particular – and really enjoy seeing new places. Combining these passions, my wife and I love to go running when in foreign countries as a means of thoroughly exploring the area.
Though I try to exercise every day, you might just as easily find me reading a good book, binge-watching Netflix or socialising with friends and family.
If you could have a billboard that would be seen by millions of people, what message would you put on it
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Abraham Lincoln