A Q&A with Andrea Meredith, GM Consultancy & Delivery, Northern
11th March 2021
Author Andrea Meredith
We catch up with Andrea to find out more about her Davanti journey, which began in 2008. Now GM Consultancy and Delivery, Northern, Andrea’s mission is to grow a truly consultative and long-term delivery and engagement management capability and foster long-term relationships, all with the ultimate goal of helping our customers get closer to their customers.
“It’s great to have Andrea in the GM Consultancy and Delivery, Northern role, leading our work with our Northern customers and driving quality and engagement with a consulting-led approach. In her role, Andrea brings a real balance of Davanti’s customer-first focus and our mission to bring customer experience transformation to life in every client engagement.
Andrea’s history with Davanti means she has an in-depth understanding of the DNA of our clients and the industries and work that we’ve been doing with them over many years, and brings invaluable insight to our exec team.”
– John Bessey, CEO
Tell us about your role, what it entails and how it helps bring Davanti’s customers closer to their customers.
In my role, my focus is on long-term relationship management, working with our customers to make sure they’re achieving their strategic outcomes, and showing that we’ve got their back.
The way we work at Davanti is that we’re not just here to deliver a piece of technology. We like to think beyond the immediate project and to be trusted partners with our customers, making sure that we’re helping them to create a positive impact and to achieve their goals more efficiently and effectively. It’s my role to help our customers see the way forward, to storm and form and take the next steps.
At Davanti, our goal is to grow a delivery and engagement management capability that supports a range of customers and facets of business and ultimately to help our customers get closer to their customers.
Tell us about your Davanti journey…
I’m what you might call a repeat offender. I started with Davanti in 2008 when I came on board as a senior project manager working on large-scale software implementations, prior to being aligned to Salesforce technology. I left to have a baby and then wanted to spend more time with my child growing up, so I tried my hand at contracting. Luckily, I had such a great relationship with (founders) Justin and Rob, that when they tapped me on the shoulder to come and help out, I happily did!
In the last year, I moved away from project delivery mode into engagement and relationship management, which I absolutely love. I thrive on developing relationships and stakeholder engagement, so it’s the perfect role for me. I love being an orchestrator, helping to bring the right people and teams together to do what they do best to meet the needs of the customer.
Coming from a delivery background, I understand enough about the various parts of a project and know the right questions to ask and who I need to involve when it comes to other domains like systems and ecosystems architecture.
How did you end up where you are today?
Going further back, before my time with Davanti, back in the day I studied marketing but never went into a marketing role.
While I was studying, I worked part-time for an HR consultancy, where I became the records and knowledge management manager. As part of that role, I got involved with the replacement of the candidate application system, moving from an old black screen to new Windows-based software. I wrote the business case, did product assessment and secured the funding for the project – and was heavily involved from there in all aspects of the implementation.
From there I developed a hankering for projects. I was fuelled by orchestrating and coordinating all the moving parts, and being able to lead the prioritisation and decision-making process. So I moved into a project management role and became a senior project manager at Peace Software in 2000, which is where I met Justin.
I then moved away from the software development side of project management to the business implementation side, moving into change management and compliance. Before you know it, a few years later, Justin rang me up and said, “I’m starting a business…” and the rest is history!
I pretty much fell into doing what I’m doing and it’s totally up my alley.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My kid! But seriously, I’m achievement-oriented, so I really love having good people around me that I know I can trust. What gets me up each day is knowing that something can be done today – whether that’s something internal to Davanti that makes things tick better or finding a solution for a customer that helps them move to the next step.
I also just love getting to hang out with the team. I thrive off other people’s vibes, and we’re really lucky at Davanti to have so many cool and diverse people around us, each with great stories and experiences.
When you’re not busy helping Davanti’s customers get closer to their customers, what are you doing?
I’ve got a child, a dog and a husband… the ‘flatties’, I call them. We love getting away to our bach not far out of Auckland and hanging out in and on the water. I’m also a real family and friends person. A good wine and a chat with girlfriends always help me to slow down and take a breath.
What are you reading at the moment?
RFPs! Aside from those, I’m trying to make my way through Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi. I’ve heard lots about it over the years.
Sources of inspiration?
My son – his fresh thinking and the negotiation skills of a 10-year-old!
The body of women who are on boards or in executive roles across businesses in New Zealand. It’s not out of reach for any young girl out there.
Favourite quote or mantra to live by?
The glass is always half full.