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      3 min read

      Meet the team: John Appleby

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      Kicking off our Meet the team blog series, we are featuring our Chief Executive Officer, John Appleby. Prior to Avantra, John served as the Global Head of DDM/HANA Center of Excellence at SAP and as the Global Head of SAP HANA solutions at Bluefin Solutions, subsequently acquired by Mindtree. John is a recognized thought leader in the SAP market and was part of SAP’s Mentors Group. Read on to get to know John a bit better.

      What's one professional skill you're currently working on?

      We are a growth company, so for me it’s all about bringing in talent that can do their functional area, setting their goals, and getting out of their way. This is a challenging skill to master because you have to get comfortable in letting go.

      What's your go to productivity trick?

      I have a few. One I learned from Tony Tsieh of Zappos is not to be overly available. Of course, the team need to know that you’re there for them, but if you become too available, you prevent their ability to solve their own problems and think independently. I don’t have push email or notifications on my iPhone. Another is flights. I love flying because it creates a focus zone with no distractions, and I’m at my most productive.

      What's one thing that surprised you about working at Avantra?

      Our incredible culture. We are a software business but we care about our people, customers and the world, in a way that you don’t meet in other organizations. People are almost always caring, respectful and thoughtful - but still direct, and fast moving. It’s not something you see every day and it makes Avantra a very special place.

      What would we most likely find you doing on the weekend?

      If I’m not spending time with my wife and three year old, you’re going to find me doing something with my hands. I’m a builder in my business and at home, and I could be building a playset by hand, chopping trees or fitting a new drain. I love learning new skills and YouTube and Reddit have made this easier than ever.

      Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

      It’s probably my ability to see detail and the bigger picture at the same time, and switch between them. As a student I was able to study languages and science at the same time, and I think it gives me a unique perspective on life.

      What's your favorite TV show - the one you're always watching on repeat?

      I have a three year old who is Star Wars crazy, so we are always watching something. Right now his favorite is the Empire Strikes Back, but we go all over the gamut and I think Disney is doing an incredible job building out new content.

      What's the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

      I’ve been fortunate to be blessed with amazing coaches, so I’ve had so much great advice. One that stuck with me was from Jim Hagemann-Snabe, Chairman of Siemens. At the time I was doing board and advisory roles. Jim suggested that I might find board work interesting, but unfulfilling. He was right, and that’s why I took this job.

      Did Jim articulate why he thought that may be the case?

      People like Jim don’t need to do specifics. He knew that I was doing board work, and also knew I wasn’t ready to do that full time and needed to get back to a role as an executive. This was his way of provoking an inner thought process so that I’d figure out what needed to be done. That’s his genius as a leader.

      Ask John anything!

      We're opening up the floor to you to ask our CEO anything! Your questions can be about the future of Avantra, the automated operations trends or something entirely different.

      Submit your questions to marketing@avantra.com. Be sure to follow John on Twitter, and connect with him on LinkedIn. Catch some of his latest articles around AIOps in the SAP environment on digionmica.com.

      Read Avantra's SAP security ebook.