In Conversation—Achiever

It’s often said that the best leaders are constant learners.

Aditi Kulkarni started her career as a techie focused on delivering optimized code. Today, she leads the intelligent automation powerhouse for Accenture Technology Centers in India (ATCI).

She shares how continuous learning helps her stay relevant, build confidence to take on new challenges and gives her an edge in her career.

Pushing the envelope and pursuing the drive for challenges

It’s been 16 incredible years at Accenture. Initially, I led various diverse portfolios and played delivery roles within our Financial Services and Communications, Media and Technology practices, leading large system integration and application outsourcing engagements.

Being exposed to direct client interactions and helping them through their transformation journey in modern engineering, modern operations and digital transformation not only grew my knowledge; it also helped me stay relevant and build a deeper understanding of new technologies and business domain.

In 2018, I accepted a new role as Automation, Agile and DevOps Lead in ATCI. I saw this as an exciting challenge and went for it, full throttle.

Today, my team and I are driving the development of industrialized modern engineering and intelligent automation solutions for our clients, so they can innovate at speed and accelerate their digital and post-digital transformation journey.

One of the special moments in this journey was winning Accenture’s prestigious Invention of the Year award for myWizard®, our intelligent automation platform, which is helping some of our biggest clients realize their automation vision.

Maintaining a strong grip along the line of changes

As a child, I used to practice rope Mallakhamb—yoga and aerobics on a rope tied to the ceiling. Very few people know that I was a national champion for a few years and also performed international demonstrations.

Thanks to this sport, I learned early on that to excel, we need to be creative, welcome changes and challenges, stay bold and, most importantly, be a team player.

So, raising our game as one team and building the skills of my colleagues are important lessons I apply to my work, every day. Our continuous learning environment enables us to lead epic disruption for our clients.

That’s why we invest in focused programs, training and skilling in New IT for our people.

Curiosity-fueled learning and leading

If there’s one thing that’s given me the confidence to go for so many changes in my career, it’s my passion for learning, driven by constant curiosity. I don’t miss an opportunity to take courses on our online learning platforms and stay relevant in a rapidly changing business landscape.

I completed four courses last year: SAFe® Agilist, big data certification from the University of San Diego, machine learning specialization from the University of Washington and a Google Cloud Platform specialization!

As a leader, I make it a point to share my experiences and knowledge at different company and industry forums. At the Automation Tech Fest—a multi-city, experiential learning extravaganza we recently organized—I interacted with my fellow panelists and a packed audience on "Leading Epic Disruption with Automation."

Many of our people also signed up for our industry-specific automation certification courses. I couldn’t be more excited to be part of and spearheading this supercharged team.

If you’ve read Malcolm Gladwell’s "Blink" and liked it, you’re probably like me—swift in making decisions. And all my decisions are fact-based.

As a leader, I firmly believe that it is important to be decisive. Making a wrong decision and course-correcting in time is better than making no decision or postponing it.

Healthy mind, healthy advice

My family is my backbone. They give me the strength to go after my dreams and never look back. I spend quality time with my family, especially my 10-year-old daughter.

For a healthy mind and body, I jog for eight to 10 kilometers (five to seven miles) every day.

Best advice I’ve ever received? Don’t be afraid to accept new challenges.

In this era of disruptive technology, it’s important to continuously learn and take risks and new challenges with confidence. You must be able to convert an organization’s vision to an action plan and explain it to your teams in a clear and compelling way.

Don’t be afraid to make bold and tough decisions. Set a goal in your career and then go after it with all the passion and commitment you’ve got.

You may need to change the plan you’re working toward, but stay true to your goal.

And find a good mentor who you can look up to and seek out for help when you need it the most.

Aditi Kulkarni shares how continuous learning helped grow her career from techie to Intelligent Automation leader.
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