My view from the front row – 22 years of watching Avanade deliver for its people

  • Posted on April 4, 2022
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes

I was in the room where it happened. I sat in a conference room on the Microsoft campus while Mitch Hill chose Avanade from a list of contenders for the name of the new joint venture between Accenture and Microsoft (or Alaska and Montana as all the coded documents read). And I stood behind the cameras as Steve Ballmer and Joe Forehand introduced Avanade to the world.

Avanade was conceived and created due to the thoughtful effort of a dedicated team of people 22 years ago. I was impressed then by the passion of the people around those conference room tables—people determined to create something new and different. They were looking for the spunk and spirit of a dot.com start-up software company. They wanted Avanade to put people first, to give them the freedom and resources to create something new.

Helping with the communications to launch Avanade in 2000 was my last—and possibly favorite—project as an Accenture employee. I left soon after to join a dot.com start-up (which didn’t). I soon found out I was in the process of creating something of my own. My oldest child, Caroline, and Avanade “launched” at roughly the same time. I returned to Avanade in 2011 as a freelancer, which means I’ve had a front row seat to a couple of amazing growth journeys that started in 2000.

Lately, I have been interviewing people about what drew them to Avanade and what makes this place different from other places they’ve worked. I hear similar themes, including how good Avanade is at encouraging each person to bring his/her/their ambitions and perspectives and talents here, where they are given the chance to pursue things they care about. I don’t quite understand how a company can achieve so much as a group while also valuing individuality so highly, but Avanade definitely gets it. And delivers it.

The other day, it occurred to me that the vision those people had about Avanade 22 years ago in Seattle is on display every day. Somehow, this place continues to feel and operate like a people-driven software company, even as it grows in size and reach. As a freelancer, it’s fun to have this close-but-still-outside vantage point, and have the background to see where things began and how far they’ve come.

My front-row audience perspective applies to being Caroline’s mom, too. And my hopes for her are similar to what I think Avanade tries to offer its people. I want her to be her full self, to pursue her dreams and to be a proud part of our family. 

When I look at Caroline, I see someone who is figuring out how to stand on her own and make her way into the world. Avanade is ahead of her on that front, but I am still excited to see where they both go next.

Carrie Schafer

Love this blog post Amy! It's definitely cool to see another contractor colleague sharing their views and insights into a company we know so well and have watched evolve into something so magnificent. Congrats, now let's get back to work! :-)  

April 12, 2022

Kathy Hays

Great article Amy! Captures the Avanade story as well as your own. Love that a contract employee has been featured - so much a part of today’s workforce!

April 7, 2022

Amy Storey

Thanks, Kathy! One of my favorite things about Avanade is that they welcome everyone to the team--including contractors. And our long-term relationships with clients are good all the way around, I believe.

April 7, 2022

Kendra Capozzi Parker

Thank you Amy for so eloquently sharing such an insightful perspective on what I affectionately call this "big, little company, nobody knows."  You nailed so many of the special characteristics that have also kept me here for 15 years; people-first, an appreciation for the problem-solver/can-do attitude, and simply some of the most creative, caring & intelligent folks around.  How lucky we are to be orange ;)

April 6, 2022

Amy Storey

Agreed! Or at least "orange adjacent," in my case!

April 7, 2022

Paul Bifford

Thanks for sharing Amy. I had not heard that the code names were Alaska and Montana. I still have people outside Avanade struggle to pronounce our name. As a side note, my youngest, Sloan Maxwell, launched a little after my Avanade career and reminds me it's been 15 years. 

April 5, 2022

Amy Storey

Thanks for reading, Paul. These kids are a helpful but sometimes terrifying live example of the passage of time!

April 6, 2022

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