Since joining the Wipro family, Appirians have made integration a top priority — ensuring a smooth transition for our workers, customers, and partners. Every employee — Appirians and Wiproites alike — has contributed in some way to what has so far been a hugely successful integration. But there have been some key individuals who have really stepped up to the plate, and many who have taken on new roles and responsibilities to make sure we keep that momentum going.
We decided to sit down with some of these outstanding people, get to know a little more about them, highlight their achievements, and find out how they have helped foster a top-notch integration experience.
Meet our Appirian:
Yoni Barkan — With his recent promotion, Yoni is now leading a new team in the Marketing Group called “Solutions and Innovation,” where they will develop innovative vertical solutions. In his prior role as a Solution Architect, he focused on the nonprofit industry and worked with some of Appirio’s largest clients. Yoni’s work has been focused within the CRM space since 2003, including work on projects ranging from education to the White House. Yoni now lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn (the land of strollers and dogs) with his two children, lovely wife, and cuddly little 85-pound pitbull. He was born, raised, and educated in California. (Go Bears!)
What did you do before getting into the tech space?
I was a theater director and ran a Shakespeare company in the basement of a Berkeley pizza parlor. Little known fact: Shakespeare, pizza, and beer go remarkably well together!
How did you end up at Appirio?
I saw Narinder Singh on stage at Dreamforce presenting our Starbucks community solution and knew Appirio was where I wanted to work. When I had the opportunity, I jumped at it.
Tell us a little bit about your new role and how your career has evolved.
I am always a bit surprised by how my career has evolved. When I started in consulting, I was your typical business analyst (with a creative and slightly technical perspective), and grew into a Solution Architect, leading some pretty complex projects. While I had some pre-sales experience, when I came to Appirio, I became dedicated to the presales solution engineering/architecture path and really fell in love with it. From there, it’s an easy jump to marketing. But to be honest, I think that it’s all fundamentally the same idea — finding interesting and creative solutions to problems.
What do you do for fun?
Fun? Hobbies? What are those? I have two young children … I work harder between 5:30pm and 8am than I do any other time of the day!
Any guilty pleasures?
I love fantasy and sci-fi books. Huge fan of Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, and a bunch more. But my guilty pleasure might really be iPhone games … I just can’t stop myself. Those in-app purchases will be my downfall.
What has been your most memorable moment while working at Appirio?
There have been quite a few — the last few years have been packed with some incredible moments. The highlight might have been last year’s Dreamforce, where I had the opportunity to present at the Salesforce.org Theater and demoed our nonprofit version of the DineEquity Lightning Bolt solution. We created a faux nonprofit organization called the “Youth of Nations, International,” developed a brand identity, mission, and story — all to frame our Salesforce community solution. To me, that is the best part of the job — the opportunity to be creative, highly technical, and sell at the same time.
How does your role impact our integration success?
I think there are two ways I impact our integration success: The first is how I interact with my new colleagues on the Wipro side. We’ve had to be ambassadors for Appirio, show our best qualities, and demonstrate why the way we work and our culture are so critical to our success. The second way is more straightforward — my new team will be an integrated team and I will have colleagues all over the world; our success as one team will impact the success of the organization’s overall integration.
What have you learned going through this integration?
I have been thinking about how we define and break down the idea of a company culture into tangible and meaningful parts. And what we need to do, specifically, to maintain that culture. I have been through mergers before, and the first thing that seems to change is the culture. In our case, I think one critical element is that we make an effort to recognize the success of our people — things like Chatter shoutouts or Heroes in the Ranks awards — these are such simple ideas, but make such an impact.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I was given was to surround myself with talented people and let them do what they do best and work as a team. I was given that advice as a theater director, but I think it applies to so many aspects of our professional (and personal) lives.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The list is very long, but if I were to limit it to a few printable items — #1: Be patient and thoughtful in how you deal with the people around you, and #2: Focus on cultivating relationships for the long term. It is your friends and family that matter the most.
Finish this sentence: Someday, I want to…
… live in a cabin on a lake in the woods or go into space — I can’t decide! Maybe both?