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Love Where You Work: The Fun, Passionate, and Validating Truth About Working at AHEAD

As of late, I officially made it through my first thirty days as an AHEAD employee; I joined the company as a Technical Architect specializing in networking and Cisco technologies in late June of 2016. Upon finishing my first month, I was asked to describe my experience over the last thirty days in three words. The words I chose? Fun, passionate, and validating. It’s not quite that simple, though. For my first blog post, I am going to explain why I chose these words, as well as provide an in-depth look at my experience with AHEAD thus far.

1. Fun

Joining AHEAD has been a crazy, fast, and exciting ride. From onboarding to technical sprints to immersion in the latest industry trends, products, and innovations, this process has been similar to that of riding a roller coaster (without the slow-climbing start!). Come to think of it, it’s actually included a real-life roller coaster ride atop the New York, New York Hotel in Las Vegas while I was attending the Cisco Live conference last month!

Upon arriving at AHEAD’s Chicago headquarters for new hire orientation, my first day jitters were immediately quelled by the sheer number of colleagues that approached me, introduced themselves, and excitedly welcomed me to the team… all before the day even formally began. I started alongside two other Technical Architects, and although I can only speak for myself, it felt as though after just a couple of hours that we were already part of the AHEAD family.

The rest of the day ran just as smoothly. AHEAD’s onboarding process was comprehensive, organized, and jam-packed with useful information and presentations from department heads across the company. By the end, it was apparent that I wasn’t the only one excited for their new role at AHEAD and the opportunities and benefits that come along with it.

In the weeks that have followed, I have enjoyed getting to know and work with the Michigan and Ohio teams, meeting customers in both geographies, and jumping into existing projects. One of the things that I’ve been tasked with is researching and evaluating the numerous products in the marketplace that provide public and private network connectivity and network services to Amazon Web Services. Sounds cool, right? I think so. One of the things I love and appreciate is that every day here is new; there is no status quo. For someone who craves learning and being challenged, that’s what makes this job fun. 

2. Passionate 

I was fortunate to join the company the same week as AHEAD’s annual Looking AHEAD technology summit. Having sat through three days of orientation, I was welcomed by the opportunity to attend AHEAD’s largest event of the year to see our colleagues, partners, and customers speak to AHEAD’s capabilities, strategy, and vision. 

As an engineer, one of the attractions of working for AHEAD was that I would get to work alongside and learn from incredibly smart people. The technical talent at AHEAD is—for want of a better word—insane. Yet as I watched numerous sessions during Looking AHEAD presented by engineers and executives alike, what I noticed was that if they were A+ for their technical knowledge and skill sets, they were off the chart for passion about what they do.

I am passionate about what I do too. I get excited about delivering solutions that enable IT to better serve the business and I revel in being able to understand complex networks, decipher requirements, and design elegant solutions. I have even been known to refer to certain Cisco products as “my baby” due to the passion I feel for their quality and ability. To AHEADians, this is not weird. AHEAD achieves success for our customers not just because we understand technology or because we can deploy storage or networks at an accelerated rate, but because we are passionate about what we do. I see this in my colleagues day in and day out.  We get a kick out of turning what we do into valuable solutions for customers.

3. Validating

As my start date approached, my excitement grew. I was looking forward to joining an organization with a clear message, a proven strategy, exceptional talent, and an intentional emphasis on culture. 

During my first month, I was able to attend Cisco Live in Las Vegas with several fellow AHEADians. This year, Cisco’s annual conference attracted nearly 28,000 IT professionals and executives desiring to learn more about specific technologies, network with others, and gain insight into how Cisco and its ecosystem partners see technology and innovation transforming digital business. 

Cisco’s main message was focused on innovation. Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s CEO, gave the opening keynote where he said, “It’s the business issue that’s driving the adoption of technology. In other words, for companies to move forward, innovate, and compete, IT and line-of-business have to come together.” What I took from this is that there has to be collaboration between technology and the business. Together they have to innovate to stay competitive. This message directly aligns with AHEAD’s core values: collaborate, innovate, drive.

The more that I hear from thought leaders, startups, and visionaries, the clearer it is to me that AHEAD not only understands the issues facing businesses today, but that they (we) have a clear strategy on how to deliver on solving them. The most exemplary instance of this is AHEAD’s Cloud Delivery Platform (CDP). The CDP is the platform created by AHEAD that tightly integrates our core solutions areas (Enterprise Service Management, Cloud Management and Automation, Mobility, and Data Center Infrastructure) to enable IT to accelerate and simplify the delivery of applications and services to the business. The CDP was created as AHEAD’s solution to the challenges that arise due to transformation in the enterprise and serves as our key strategy to solving the everyday issues businesses face today. 

The past thirty days have validated all that I knew about AHEAD prior to joining and the excitement I had about becoming part of the family. I can only hope that the next thirty days—and beyond—continue to be just as fun, passionate, and validating. AHEAD is an exciting place to be and I am very happy to be here.

To learn more about AHEAD’s Cloud Delivery Platform that I mentioned above, click the button below to visit our CDP page where you can also sign up to meet with our experts and evaluate new technologies. 

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