Managing global cultures and vendor partners
As Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and International Markets, Avinash Advani’s job role is to manage and nurture executive relationships with vendor partners. In addition, it includes launching and developing new geographical territories for StarLink and driving strategy across the organisation. Advani’s sense of job satisfaction comes from managing across multiple cultures, and working with best-of-breed and next-generation technology vendors.
However, Advani does point out that his job satisfaction and the challenges of the job are also closely linked. “Expanding into new markets is extremely exciting, but a lot of hard work goes into replicating external success locally. Keeping your finger on the pulse of bleeding edge technology is fascinating but ensuring you make the right investment choices into vendors is a challenge that must be overcome, if you are to be recognised as a thought leader and trusted advisor,” he explains.
Advani first encountered technology at the age of 8 when his father bought him an Apple Mac IIc, and then a PC a few years later. Advani then proceeded to take apart the PC and over time by the age of 11, finally built his own PC. “It struck me then that I wanted to study something related to computers,” he reflects. In high school, he pursued all the computer classes that were possible and then completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering at Purdue University in the US. It was then Advani realised that technology was a passion.
In 2005, Advani left an engineering role at Cisco in the San Francisco Bay area to move to Dubai, to pursue not just developing technology but also to sell it. Looking ahead, he believes machine learning, automation, and software-defined-everything, are the hot technology talking points.
“Keeping your finger on the pulse of bleeding-edge technology is fascinating”
Advani describes his management style as setting smart goals, defining strategy, and executing with plans. He tries not to micro manage unless necessary, and instead aims to provide guidance, direction, leadership, and rewarding strong performers. “As a management style, I am most like The Pacesetter. Since achieving excellence and high standards are fundamentally important to me when I perform my own tasks, I do so with passion to instill motivation into the team and nurture self-direction.”
About his work style, Advani describes it as, “definitely democratic.” He puts trust in his employees and empowers them to make decisions. “I prefer to delegate authority to my team members to encourage their leadership skills and then listen to their feedback.” To make this happen Advani requires communication and makes it a point to often meet one-on-one with employees and as a team. This brings out useful suggestions and ideas for the organisation as a whole.
Advani manages the demands of his work-life by effective time management and prioritisation. He firmly believes in this philosophy: Without planning, plan to fail. Regardless of how much time and effort is spent at work, the key is to achieve a balance between work and life, while ensuring there is sufficient time and effort given to life, he feels. During his time-off Advani enjoys movies, traveling, food, skiing, golf, and reading.
Avinash Advani at StarLink, enjoys the challenge of expanding into new global markets and investing into bleeding-edge technology vendors.