Welcome back to another edition of the Maven Wave Leadership Spotlight! This week, we had a chance to sit down with Duke Sullivan, Managing Director of Sales. When he’s not hitting the ski slopes or hanging out in the water with friends and family, Sullivan is leading Maven Wave’s exceptional Sales team into a new era of growth and development. And as a native New Englander, we learned he’s a loyal Red Sox fan (though we won’t hold that against him here in the Windy City). Check out the rest of our interview below!
Introduce yourself and tell us about your role at Maven Wave.
I’m Duke Sullivan, Managing Director of Sales. I’ve been in consulting and systems integration for over 25 years at boutique firms as well as large GSIs. Early in my career, I was in infrastructure sales before getting into data warehouse design and delivery. Later, I helped shape and grow a few consulting practices — including data strategy and architecture, CIO advisory, and business process automation — at one of the largest offshore outsourcing firms in India. More recently, I led strategic partnerships and sales for two different IoT platform/solution firms.
Now, at Maven Wave, I’m helping mature and scale our sales organization as well as prepare for the huge growth we’re experiencing in the market.
What are the top highlights of your career so far?
I was part of a leadership team that grew a business and IT consulting organization (inside a GSI) from around 60 in North America to approximately 1,700 people globally over seven years.
What is your favorite part of working at Maven Wave?
The people, culture, its involvement in the advanced technology and cloud space, and the rapid expansion. Growth is fun!
What does company culture mean to you? Why is it important?
It means being creative, spirited, satisfied, and successful — not just individually, but together with the entire Maven Wave team. It also means genuinely caring about each other, the process (work hard, play hard), and the outcome. For me, it’s the difference between wanting to work and having to work. When a company has a strong sense of culture, you celebrate the journey, each other, and collective success.
Where do you see the cloud market in the next few years?
I see the near-term demand for public cloud accelerating, though for early adopters the workloads will be more challenging. I also see multi-cloud competition increasing, FinOps becoming more critical as costs continue to rise, and innovation (e.g., AI/ML, edge, IoT) becoming the key differentiator as our clients progress along the cloud maturity curve.
What makes the work Maven Wave does meaningful?
Our work is meaningful because we enable our clients’ digital transformation and impact their business performance, whether by reducing costs or releasing business value through innovation and improved customer experience.
What goals do you have for your team for the remainder of this year? What are your long-term goals?
I want to help us grow. To keep growing, we need to build more pipeline with a greater mix of services and across more accounts. Simultaneously, we need to build relationships and get higher and wider within our customers. We need to sell smarter and more effectively. Heading into 2022, we need to build our team by hiring and enabling our sellers more thoughtfully. We need to build a sales development organization, levering more junior sellers to help us find and engage with net new logos.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I’m a player-coach. I like to guide, challenge, and motivate while also rolling up my sleeves and digging in to collaborate on account strategy and opportunity win plans.
What is something about you that always surprises people?
I did eight weeks of non-compulsory Army ROTC basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was a rare, non-obligation program. I did it for the fun of it, and to get in great shape, with no intention of committing to a life in the military. I regretted my decision one week into it, but I valued the experience once successfully completed.
How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
I am happiest either skiing in the winter or out on my boat in the summer with family and friends.
Rapid Question Round
- Hot dog or hamburger? One of each. Please and thank you.
- Pizza: Chicago or New York-style? What, no Boston style? I’ll go NY.
- Cats or dogs? Dogs. Although I think my dog, Bruin, is actually part cat.
- Early morning or late night? Late night
- Creative or logical? Hopefully, a little of both.
- Math or history? History, though not exact dates or names. It’s the stories that I like.
- Dine-in or delivery? Depends on the company. Ideally, dine-in.
- Ocean or mountains? I need both. Ocean in Summer; mountains in Winter
- Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert.
- Speed or accuracy? It seems I used to be more about accuracy. Now, it’s all about speed.
- Books or movies? Movies
- Cubs or Sox? Sox… Red Sox.
- Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon? Neither; what’s on ESPN?
- Ice Cream or Gelato? Ice Cream
- Christmas or Halloween? My two favorite holidays. Wait, is Halloween a holiday? Of course, it is!
Get the latest industry news and insights delivered straight to your inbox.