At Accenture I’ve supported multiple E-Procurement engagements, coordinating and executing several datacenter consolidation and migration projects for enterprise implementations. I’ve been with Accenture some time—I joined directly out of college, and during the dot.com boom I was staffed in San Francisco. I resettled in North Carolina to join a project there, but I’ve spent much of the last two years in Manila.
The skillset I’ve built at Accenture is what has allowed me to be successful in the ballooning expeditions. The methodical, data-driven approach I learned at Accenture translated into methodical, safe and successful flights. The skills developed in working with teams are what have allowed me to work with all the specialists needed, around the globe, to make our flights come to life. In fact, when I’m ballooning I use a task-sheet I developed on Accenture engagements.
As a technical projects manager, I’m lucky enough to be able to do my job anywhere in the world. When I’m working on a ballooning goal, say, crossing the English Channel, I might need to make several scouting missions. I bring my work with me, and work my balloon activities into my free time.
And that works both ways. When I’m in the Philippines for work, I have my hot-air balloon shipped to me. When we aren’t working, my project team joins me for flights. I’ve had 20 Accenture people from the Manila office join me on the balloon.
Combining ballooning and work is pretty important to me. My proudest moment was coming into the Accenture office and finding that my managing director had pinned up the full-page newspaper story covering one of my flights onto the bulletin board for our team to read. The fact that she was excited about this accomplishment meant so much to me. That gave me a major boost.
Have you ever seen the movie Up? If yes, what I do might seem familiar. I’m an aeronaut. I fly manned balloons, but not the traditional, single hot air balloons you’ve probably seen. I fly cluster balloons—hundreds of toy helium balloons tethered together. Not long ago I crossed Mexican desserts in a small house, attached to hundreds of toy helium balloons. I flew another small house for National Geographic, and that aired on the NatGeo channel worldwide. I’ve crossed many significant landscapes, including the English Channel, the Alps, and the Great Lakes. Most recently, I broke a world record for the longest flight of its kind, using the largest assembly of cluster balloons. I flew 466 miles at an altitude of 23,650 feet in an attempt to cross the Atlantic.
I’ve traveled all over the world, and have been in 30 countries and counting. If you can believe this, I once took a wrong turn and ended up in Bosnia Herzegovina. To keep fit, I bike to work whenever I can.
I didn’t start as a world-record holder, or as a balloon expert of any kind. I joined the firm and started my delivery for Accenture. In that time, I also started ballooning. I developed in both areas and, after some years, I find myself immersed in a world that a couple years ago I didn’t know anything about, and have become an expert in that area. Even more than the technical delivery is the ability to envision large, successful projects, which is one of the greatest things my 13 years at Accenture has taught me.
One of the best things about Accenture is its people. A key characteristic of Accenture people is that we enjoy a good challenge. We are comfortable wading into complexity and finding a workable solution, and our passion for results often leads us to keep exploring long after less intrepid souls would have turned back. I think Accenture hires people who are intrinsically self-motivated. It’s natural for our people to be looking ahead and thinking of the great challenges that can be tackled. This experience from Accenture has translated to my own personal goals, as it has for many in the company. I now naturally pursue the next level in my life outside the company, just as we all do when serving our clients inside Accenture.
Watch Jonathan in action as an Aeronaut, Technologist, and Executive, and see how you can be greater than you imagined in a career with Accenture.