Avanade Alum: Meet Donté Henry, 18-year Avanade employee

  • Posted on June 4, 2019
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Donte Henry

When someone moves on from a company, it’s always felt as a loss to the team. But when that person has been with the company from the beginning, influencing the culture as well as the business, it can feel like losing a family member.

When Donté Henry came to Avanade 18 years ago as an original member of our infrastructure practice, things looked a little different. Microsoft’s influence had the strongest pull within the company, which was very technology-focused.

“I think at the time, the value was really all about bringing smart people into the company and then bringing these thoughtful technical solutions to our clients,” Donté said. “That was the holy grail: doing it smarter and better. Where it’s evolved to is that we have a much broader understanding of what our clients need. It’s not always focused on technology, it’s really their business needs.”

In short, Avanade evolved to become more people-focused. With a background in infrastructure, Donté was no stranger to the value of technology, but over his career at Avanade, he established a clear passion for people, serving as a mentor for many.

Which team members inspired him to invest in them? Everyone.

“If they made it into the front door, it meant that they had something special to offer Avanade, and that’s what I always looked for,” he said. “It was very inspiring to me to see people who were young and hungry to learn and also very capable of adapting to new client environments and taking on new technologies. Those types of individuals got me excited about the prospect for the future. To me it was about giving to others what had been given to me at Avanade. It was important to me to keep that culture going.”

As of this spring, Donté no longer works for Avanade. After nearly two decades with the company – his final role was that of Client Executive, recently wrapping up a 200,000-plus O365 deployment for a big client – he chose to leave to pursue another passion of his: meditation. It may seem like a complete departure from his work at Avanade, but Donté doesn’t see it that way. He’ll be teaching others to meditate, combining his love for the practice with his talent for nurturing others.

“I got to a point where I realized that everything I do starts from the practice of training my mind,” he said. “That became so central for me, and it really affected how I showed up at work as well. I realized I wanted to share the benefits I was getting from that with others. So I made the career shift so I could dedicate my time to helping others also discover the power of their own mind, and how they can use the power of their mind to help make their lives positive.”

He realizes this transition – leaving the world he’s known for so long and the career he’s worked very hard to build – is a risk. But Donté isn’t afraid of risk; in fact, his team members’ ability to embrace it was one of his favorite things about working at Avanade.

“In the West region where I worked, we have not only smart, capable folks like you see throughout Avanade, but I think we have folks who are more natural risk takers,” he said. “That’s something I love the most about my coworkers, and that’s what I miss today — the great group of people that I worked with. I deeply miss them already.”

Though he’s excited about this next chapter, much of his Avanade family are anxious to know if he would ever consider returning to the company.

“You know, something really amazing that I can’t even believe happened is Adam Warby sent me an email to my personal email address, basically just to thank me for my time at Avanade and to let me know that I’m always welcome back in the family,” Donté said. “That meant so much to me; it blew me away. And that to me, very much captures the type of people that I believe work at Avanade. The fact that Adam would even take the time to do something like that helps solidify my feelings that Avanade is a very special place to be.”

So would he return?

“It would have to be in the capacity that fit in with where I am today in life,” he said. “I wouldn’t look to try to reboot what I did in the past. But if there was a role where I could make a contribution and I felt the qualities that I bring that are beneficial to others, that I could express those at the company, I would be back in a heartbeat. No question.”

Ali Achikzai

I consider Donté a mentor. He was one of Avanade’s finest! His professionalism earned your respect, his calm demeanor no matter what the situation at a client site was reassuring, and his charm and wisdom is admirable. Outside of work he carries himself just as great; he’s just an overall classy fellow. Hope we haven’t seen the last of him at Avanade #ICallItTheComeback -LL..  

August 21, 2019

Andy Wilson

I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Donté in-person due to the 9-hour time difference but did have the fortune of being prepared by him for a role at a social media giant I was earmarked for over 6 years ago now. Accenture were already settled into the project and given the sensitive nature of the work, I had to undergo interviews with Donté, Accenture, and a number of exec-level people from the client.

Cutting a long story short, after a fairly laborious interview process, I made it to the final face-to-face near Covent Garden in London where I clearly left their client unimpressed with my answers. Donté eventually received word of my unsuccessful application but still took the time out to be supportive and say "Don't worry, I'm still a fan of Andy Wilson" even though Avanade had lost the chance of filling the role. Normally I would let this kind of setback knock my self-belief but Donté gave me the impression that the client's loss will be my next project's gain.

I wish him all the best in his future endeavours. I'm a big fan of Donté Henry.

June 16, 2019

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