Humanity 2.0—Powered by Technology
- Posted on December 7, 2018
- Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Amidst all the talk and fear this past year about technology robbing us of our humanity and our jobs, I must confess that I see a very different story unfolding. I see technology removing geographic barriers, enabling us to connect more easily, and giving us places to share our own stories and learn about others. Maybe it’s because I am an engineer who is fascinated with the human applications of technology innovation. Or maybe my role as a CEO has me thinking about how to show clients the many ways that technology can change things for the better. Or maybe I am just an optimist who sees opportunity rather than doom and gloom as we embrace more digital innovations.
I can certainly point to our founding CEO and my immediate predecessor, Mitch Hill as one my sources of inspiration. Mitch led Avanade through our first eight years of growth with an unwavering focus on the power of technology innovation and the desire to make sure that everyone could benefit from it. He always factored people’s lives into his thinking about the business and was passionate about being an advocate for future generations. Part of his legacy was a focus on education and a belief that continuous, hands-on learning was a necessary way of life in our world of technology.
Which is why, when we decided to award scholarships to women who wanted to pursue degrees in STEM, we saw partnering with Mitch’s alma mater, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly), was a very natural fit. In 2015, we helped change the lives of five young women at Cal Poly as we launched our Avanade STEM Scholarship program. (Our initial class also included scholars at University College of London and University of Pretoria.)
What we didn’t fully realize at the time was the impact our scholarships would have on these students’ lives. One of our first scholars, Nandita Chauhan, moved to the United States when she was six. Her parents wanted Nandita and her sister to have access to quality education from an early age. Once here, the Chauhans spent years worried about how they might afford university.
When Nandita called her father to tell him she had won the Avanade scholarship to pay for her degree, both of them wept tears of joy. Her father said the scholarship was “the best thing to happen to our family in a very long time.”
We didn’t choose Nandita—she was selected directly by Cal Poly, who knew the applicants and their stories and needs. Once we met her—early in her university career—we were thrilled to have her in our orbit. We were even more delighted when, after completing her degree in computer science, Nandita chose us. She’s now part of our Avanade family having recently started with us as a technology consultant.
As of today, we have 40 Avanade scholars—including our first class of graduates—in China, France, Italy, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. I look forward to watching our scholars and the people of Avanade shape the next generation of human-powered innovation. It’s stories like Nandita’s that keep me excited about the work we do here at Avanade. In 18 years with this company—10 as CEO—I have seen first-hand the human impact of the work we do with our clients, their customers and their employees. We’ve also created a culture of compassion that makes me proud to be a part of Avanade.
It is a culture that Mitch Hill inspired from the very start, with his words and his actions. As we approach the 5-year anniversary of his death, I believe we continue his legacy by staying focused on the ways technology illuminates our humanity rather than diminishes it.
Learn more about Nandita's story by watching the video below: