Meet Ian Kahn, a partner at PwC. Ian has been at PwC for almost 20 years. He joined the firm right out of college. Ian is not only very involved in Salesforce, but he helped start a Salesforce practice at PwC, while still spending time helping others, including his three young daughters. Learn more about Ian in this trailblazing partner interview.
Tell us more about yourself.
Ian: I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, and spent my summers working in hospitality while studying business. I began my career helping with Y2K readiness projects with a lot of largescale ERP solutions. I also consulted for startups in Boston.
Where do you find your passion?
Ian: I got a taste for my passion when helping clients with digital transformation. I had the idea to start up a Salesforce practice at PwC because our customer started asking about it. Once we got involved in the Salesforce ecosystem, we’ve grown ever since.
What challenges did you face when you decided to start up the Salesforce practice at PwC?
Ian: Any time you build a new business there is always the question of relevance and value. How do you prove to the other partners that investing time in the development of new business is going to make a meaningful impact for the company? The other challenge is getting into the ecosystem. It moves very fast, and sometimes it’s hard for mature firms to keep up. We were very focused on top-down strategy, and solving customer challenges with Salesforce. I think we’ve done a pretty good job.
What do you like about your job?
Ian: Because Salesforce is moving so fast, it’s never dull. I enjoy doing things that haven’t been done before; creating solutions for tomorrow, that didn’t exist yesterday. I enjoy working on multidimensional teams, with creative people, and creating business strategies with world-class technologies in order to come up with something that is amazing.
One of my favorite quotes is: “You can accomplish everything as long as you don’t care who gets credit.” I really believe that. As a team, we constantly build new capabilities that didn’t exist before, in order to drive amazing results for our clients. Talk about being an innovation junkie! If you can get fired up about helping clients with the most important problems every day, and at the same time, transform the way you deliver value, it’s a lot of fun.
How do you find new ways to disrupt and change the game?
Ian: I travel to spend time with customers, and during that time, I ask questions and listen. I sync with Salesforce product teams and product leaders, because they understand the latest innovations now and in the future. It’s all about doing your own research, and constantly pushing yourself to learn and to develop. It’s commitment, but for me it’s a passion and it’s a lot of fun.
What does being a Trailblazer that mean to you?
Ian: It’s someone who isn’t afraid to extend themselves into new areas and to push beyond barriers. Trailblazers create new opportunities for those coming up behind. I learned a lot from the Trailblazers before me. We all need to be Trailblazers in order create opportunities for the next generation of leaders.
What do you do to blaze trails outside of the work?
Ian: It certainly starts with family. My wife and I have three daughters, ages nine to three, and we’re blazing trails all of the time. I stay pretty busy, so it’s important to watch them grow. To be healthy both professionally and personally, you’ve got to take care of your whole person, in all dimensions of your life. Make sure you keep the right balance.
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