We continue our Akili Employee Spotlight Series and introduce Brandon Davis. This week we learned more about the newest addition to our Snowflake practice!
Tell us more about your role and what you like most about it.
My role is Snowflake Solution Leader which entails developing and delivering consulting service offerings around the Snowflake Cloud Data Platform. Snowflake is a relatively new partnership for Akili, and I like that I get to play a key role in creating our client solutions and methodologies.
What drew you to Akili? Is Akili what was described to you and what you expected?
I have known about Akili since version 1, and I perceived it as a strong brand. I liked the company’s size, culture and values. The idea of helping to build and grow a practice around Snowflake and data strategy was interesting to me, and I knew there would be potential for overlap with areas where Akili is already successful such as supply chain forecasting.
So far, I would say that the reality has been aligned with my expectations, and I have been impressed with our team. We have really talented consultants!
What’s your favorite Akili memory? Or what are you looking forward to most in working at Akili?
I am definitely looking forward to a time when we can get together in larger groups without worrying about Coronavirus, etc. I have enjoyed the social interaction that we have now with social distancing, etc., but I know this company likes to have a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to being able to do more of that in the future.
What makes Akili stand out from the rest?
The combination of not taking yourself too seriously and yet holding each other accountable for excellence can be difficult to achieve. I think we do that pretty well at Akili, though. The consultants with whom I have worked with are self-motivated and are working to develop their own skills, as well as contributing to the success of both our clients and Akili.
What are 3 career lesson you’ve learned thus far?
1. Whenever you are faced with something daunting – a complex project, difficult client situation, etc., try not to focus too much on the big, complex problem. Find the smaller, manageable pieces that you can deal with each day, and keep chipping away at it. I have found that by doing that for a while, the problem starts to look less challenging and complex. Then you can deal with it more holistically.
2. Play to your strengths, and diversify your skills over time. If you like being technical, then seek out technical roles and develop expertise that will make you more marketable. But pay attention to other areas like project management and some basics in programming, building dashboards, etc. Build up those areas opportunistically, and it will make you a better consultant overall.
3. A little bit of empathy goes a long way. If you can understand what a day in the life of your client / customer is like, then you can align your solutions to their needs. Sometimes people can’t articulate their requirements in the context of a software implementation, but if you can combine your expertise with some knowledge of their world, you can help fill in the gaps.
What advice do you have for prospective candidates?
The most successful consultants I have seen have taken ownership of the problems we are trying to solve for our clients. If you can look beyond the deliverables, tasks, and project plans to understand what we are really trying to achieve, your work will typically reflect that understanding. If you want to work in true partnership with your clients, then Akili’s values are aligned to that approach.
What has been the most important innovation you have witnessed in your lifetime?
I am showing my age, but it has to be the Internet. I can remember when the world wasn’t as connected as it is today. We can work with colleagues and clients from around the world from our homes, chat with friends, buy everything online, etc. There are certainly pros and cons to being so connected all of the time, but that is by far the biggest change I have experienced.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I spend a lot of time with the family – our kids can typically find ways to keep us busy. We are active within our local church community, which is a big part of our social life these days. I have also recently started cycling and am enjoying it.
But I am really passionate about using technology to solve problems – I’m a total nerd!
Motto or personal mantra?
Think big, start small, learn fast. If you have a vision for something, you don’t necessarily need to have the entire path planned out to start the journey towards it. You can learn along the way. But if you start the journey without a vision, you can end up in a random destination!