Elite athlete to Avanade Advisory: Meet Margaret Lu

  • Posted on May 31, 2023
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Elite athlete to Avanade Advisory

Avanade Advisory is always looking for new talent to join its team – people who really know how to embrace a challenge, understand a problem, come up with solutions and be agile and able to cope with continual change, rather than be fazed by it. It’s about finding candidates who like to learn, explore and seek answers, regardless of whether they have a background in tech or consultancy – because those skills –can be developed once they are on board.

Athlete Career Transition (ACT) is a recruitment company that has developed a comprehensive transition program for elite athletes at all stages of their career and beyond, enabling them to successfully transfer their talent into the appropriate business environments. When approached to ask if she would pilot a recruitment partnership, Global Advisory Lead Jillian Moore jumped at the chance.

“People who come to us with diverse backgrounds, such as athletes, will have learned things about the importance of teams, the importance of leadership and the importance of working together to solve problems and coming up with new ways of doing things,” she said. “That would make them perfect for working with Avanade Advisory.”

A few months on, we are delighted to introduce you to one of new recruits who joined Avanade recently through the partnership between ACT and Avanade Advisory.

Meet Margaret Lu, who recently started at Avanade as a senior consultant in Advisory but was previously both World Champion and 8-time USA National Fencing Champion. Based in New York, Margaret is also a member of USA Fencing’s inaugural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Committee with a focus on women, race and LGBTQ+ equity. They have been instrumental in USA Fencing’s first transgender athlete policy as well as the organization’s decision to give preference to states with more LGBTQ+ inclusive laws when selecting future host cities for national tournaments.

Margaret is LUMA certified and enjoys facilitating Design Thinking sessions and brings many skills to Avanade Advisory. They’re interested in learning more about sustainability, design, Avanade X and the Viva Suite and Power Platform. Let’s get to know Margaret a bit more!

What appealed about Avanade as an employer and how are you finding it?

I joined Avanade because the company’s values align to my own. I was looking to join a tech company led by a woman of color – it was essential for me to join a tech company with multiple women in leadership positions.

I am nonbinary and my pronouns are they/she, so when a group manager used my correct pronouns in our interview, it made me feel seen and respected, and confirmed Avanade is a place I wanted to be. I appreciate how Avanade doesn’t just expect you to have a life outside of work but encourages it. The organization sees the value in the combination of my elite athletic experience and 5+ years of varied industry experiences – some of which include insurance, food tech, LGBTQ+ consulting and global corporate partnerships to support the UN’s Sustainable Development goals.

Being at Avanade allows me to support the communities I belong to, and I wanted a company where my intersectional identities and multitudes would be valued!

What skills from your background in sports do you feel are transferrable to your role at Avanade?

Fencing is called “physical chess” and is a highly cerebral sport. There are many parallels to sport and business that are well documented. I have the confidence to lead meetings after preparation, take initiative on projects, lead and further progress in workstreams. I am also focused, passionate and engaged, with the ability to learn and have a growth mindset.

As an athlete, the physical and mental discipline necessary for my sport has required me to develop strategies to help me with time and energy management. My genuine interest in getting to know different people, have empathy for them, and hear their stories, strengths and interests, helps fuel me and makes collaboration with my colleagues at Avanade enjoyable. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to over 33 different countries for my sport, which has given me perspective and appreciation for a variety of cultures and people from different walks of life.

Anything else we should know?

I studied Organizational Psychology and Business Management at Columbia University. I am a proud New Yorker, but would love to spend time living in San Francisco, Tokyo, Amsterdam or Berlin! I’m also an Ambassador for Athlete Ally and The Women’s Sports Foundation founded by Billie Jean King. I once moderated a panel with her where we discussed being queer women in sport and business, as well as her movie “The Battle of the Sexes.”

I am a pro-bono coach for  the nonprofit PISTE Academy – which is run by my friend Nzingha Prescod, a World Champion Teammate and two-time Olympian – where I volunteer my time to teach fencing to underserved youth in NYC. I also belong to a queer/trans/non-binary bike group called NightCAP which meets weekly. I bike multiple times a week and plan to go bikepacking with friends this year!

I look forward to getting more involved with Prism this year, including with Pride planning and Lesbians Who Tech. I attended Lesbians Who Tech in 2022 as the sole Avanade representative and would love to attend again in 2023 with a cohort of more Avanade folks, and potentially speak. It will be their 10-year anniversary.

 I occasionally go into the NYC Avanade and Accenture offices and am happy to meet up with people there.

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