This month's profile features Brian Phillips, a Florida-based Appirian who joined the company at the end of last year. Here he responds to our combination of work-related and random questions covering childhood memories, bucket-list ambitions, and what attracted him to Appirio.
If you could meet one person living or dead, who would it be and why?
Ernest Hemingway, American writer and sportsman. He lived an adventurous lifestyle, traveling the world in search of fish, game, and adventure. Ernest said things, such as:
- There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
- Courage is grace under pressure.
- The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.
- Never mistake motion for action.
If you could pick one celebrity to be a member of your family, who would it be?
For fun and something different, on this one I would choose Gardner Minshew, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ mustachioed backup rookie–turned–starter quarterback, who coined the “Minshew Mania” craze last season. My sons and I are Jaguars fans and season ticket holders, and it would sure be fun for all of us if he were part of our family. Gardner Minshew would be easy to hang out with, enjoys many of our same hobbies and interests, and would generate a great deal of excitement in our family.
What is one of your favorite childhood memories?
One of my favorite memories from childhood was from my early teens, when I embarked on a 10-day backpacking excursion through the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. During this voyage, I was able to rock climb, rappel, whitewater raft, and more. It was one of my most memorable childhood adventures, and one that I recollect and tell stories from to this day.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
If I were an animal, I would be a dolphin. As a native Floridian, I love to spend my free time in the ocean (diving, boating, and surfing), and dolphins are beautiful mammals who are highly intelligent, who work together in teams, and who have very few predators.
Chocolate or vanilla?
If you had a million dollars to donate to any charity you wanted, what charity would you give to?
If I had a million dollars to donate to any charity, I would give it to the Alzheimer’s Association. This nonprofit volunteer health organization focuses on care, support, and research for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is close to my heart and close to my family, and I am praying for a cure.
What is the next thing you want to cross off your bucket list?
I have been very fortunate to cross many things off my bucket list in recent years. However, the next thing that I want to cross off my bucket list is to take my kids to Costa Rica to surf, fish, dive, and serve the local community. I have been to Costa Rica several times on mission trips and surfing trips, and I would love to bring my sons to experience what I have…loving on the people and surfing the waves of Costa Rica.
What is one piece of advice you would love to share with the next generation?
I would remind the next generation to maintain an attitude of gratitude, fighting against a culture of entitlement. Too many young people believe that they deserve certain privileges and have unreasonable expectations of others and of the world around them. Entitlement shifts us from taking responsibility and instead gives rise to pointing fingers and blaming others, often for our own insecurities. Gratitude, on the other hand, involves being thankful for everything and having an appreciation (rather than an expectation) of others. I am not grateful because I am happy…I am happy because I am grateful.
“No, we don’t always get what we want. But consider this: there are people who will never have what you have right now.”
What does a Global Operations Head do for Appirio?
This role exists to drive operational rigor, business growth, and continuous improvement through leadership and optimization of several internal business processes. These include areas such as:
- Global talent supply chain management:
- Workforce planning.
- Centralized staffing, demand, and capacity management.
- Competency, role, and career progression.
- Learning and development and certification programs.
- Execution of the Global Workforce Plan through sourcing, recruiting, and hiring (external experienced professionals, internal Wipro transfers, fresh trainees, and contractors).
- Financial planning and analysis
- Planning and monitoring budgetary and fiscal performance. Analysis of planned vs. actual P&L, root causes, and continuous improvement.
- Manage manpower and nonpower budget controls to ensure target margins are achieved.
- Business management
- Support and contribute to the design and development of our internal tools and processes.
- Support and contribute to sales and delivery methodology, governance, and customer satisfaction processes.
- Collect, analyze, and distribute data and reports to Appirio leadership to inform business decisions.
- Drive continuous improvement to identify and implement more efficient and effective ways to accomplish business goals.
What attracted you to the company?
I was primarily attracted to Appirio by the people and the culture, which demonstrated an environment of empowerment, accountability, teamwork, and fun. I was also attracted by the challenge of helping to bring together two distinct organizations (Appirio and Wipro) who traditionally sold, delivered, hired, staffed, and operated very differently from one another. The combined value of Wipro and Appirio are “Better Together,” like Reese’s is chocolate and peanut butter. Both are very good on their own, but together they are greater than the sum of their parts. My past consulting leadership experience spans both smaller regional consultancies and large global enterprises, and I am excited to bring all of this experience to bear at Appirio as we continue the ongoing evolution of our company toward greater scale, impact, and results.
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