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Consultants Collective Profile: Venkat Avasarala

We’re pleased to continue our feature series, Consultants Collective Profiles, to introduce you to our member consultants and advisors, executive coaches, clients and other extraordinary people. These profiles go beyond the professional bio to provide a more personal glimpse and offer an opportunity for us to get to know each other better as people as we strive to create connections and build community. This month we feature one of our senior consultants, Venkat Avasarala, a leader in business and technology strategy with more than 18 years of experience and a keen focus on strategy and operations, marketing and technology strategy, business process development, and problem-solving.

Who is your favorite hero in fiction?

Iron Man — Tony Stark is super cool, super rich, and super stylish with a dash of arrogance (ok, may be more than a dash). But, behind all of it, he is genuinely a good man, who strives constantly to be better than his father and to make him proud. And, did I mention that he is super rich? 🙂

Who is your favorite composer?

My favorite composer is a renowned Indian composer, A.R. Rahman, who won two Oscars for his original score and original song in Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” called “Jai Ho.” While the songs in that movie are not particularly my favorites, some of Rahman’s earlier scores do leave me enthralled.

What is a hobby of yours?

I love tennis – both playing and watching. I played so much tennis last year that I actually fractured one of my ankles and went on a 5-month rehab and just when I was getting to ready to get back on the court, COVID-19 hit and put a damper on it. I hope to return to the court in the beginning of June.

What is the last book read?

I recently read The Trusted Advisor by Robert M. GalfordCharles H. GreenDavid H. Maister, a fine book for anyone to read in who is in management consulting or an advisor role.

Why do you do what you do?

Problem-solving! While there are myriad ways one can solve a problem, finding an efficient solution, if not the most efficient solution, backed by data and facts is a key skill that is core to management consulting. Frankly, most of the work that goes into each engagement I take on involves grinding, menial tasks such as market research, data gathering, subject matter expert interviews, etc. But, the 15-20% of the time that I spend analyzing and synthesizing the data and gleaning insights from it is the most rewarding part. And, conveying these insights to clients is more of an art than a science, and I absolutely cherish that part.

What is your favorite quote? 

I have a few personal favorites but the two that I most quote are

  1. “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution” – by Albert Einstein
  2. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet” – by William Shakespeare from Romeo & Juliet

What is your latest accomplishment?

Recently, I accepted the Treasurer position on the board of a non-profit organization, High Tech High Heels – Silicon Valley Chapter.  It’s an organization that believes that the world will be a better place when there is a diverse, qualified workforce with more opportunities for women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Having women represented equitably in STEM careers will not only increase innovation and make our nation more competitive but will also have far-reaching global economic and societal benefits. I strongly believe in the mission of this organization and I am thrilled to be a part of it and to advance its cause.

My latest whimsical accomplishment is the hand-stand T-shirt challenge, which made me happy during this quarantine period. 

What would you say is your chief characteristic?

If I have to pick just one, I’d say dependability, because it encompasses so many other characteristics that I bring to the table such as accuracy, punctuality, and loyalty, among others.

What makes you happy?

I am a creature who thrives on simple pleasures. From a good joke to watching rain drops on the sill of my window while enjoying a hot cup of tea to crossing off all my to dos on my day planner, to curling up in my bed and reading a book or watching a good movie.

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