Extraordinary Ordinary People: Deeptanshu Tiwari

It was my first trip to Noida. First trip to our vendor’s office. Peak Pacific, founded by Aviation Learning Technology guru and stalwart, Kishor Mistry, was a startup in its first year. We had a couple of big clients and one of the critical projects was being developed by our vendor, a big services company. The project hadn’t been moving as expected. The CEO Kishor asked me to go down to the vendor office and see if we could move things along.

I had been given a big cabin with a huge desk and had met the VP and other senior managers … and Account Manager, Deep. I had a seemingly endless supply of coffee and enough time to twiddle my thumbs for a whole day – hadn’t seen any team member nor any deliverable progress. So on the second day, early morning, I had walked up the stairs, found the team working on our project and realised it needed work and planning if deadlines were to be met. The Project Manager and the team were a bit lost since they needed guidance. Soon, a giant of a young man came running up. It was Deeptanshu Tiwari (the Account Manager). I asked him to arrange for a session with the team led by someone who would drive execution so that we could get back on track.

“I will get it done within the hour. And I, personally, will execute this project from hereon. Within the hour.” I remember the calm, smiling face clearly.

We had spoken a few times on the phone and each time he had done what he had said he would. And he did again. The project ran on time, to quality and he personally took over communication and project management.

And that’s something extraordinary I can tell you. Everyone says “Ho jayega (it’ll happen),” but it doesn’t and if it does, it is rarely on time. And if it is, there are gaps in quality.

But Deep always met his deadlines and to quality. Always. And there’s a reason that is ordinary and yet extraordinary: he is a sincere and honest person who values his word.

Years later, in March 2013, I got a call from Deep. “Dada, I am Pune airport. What’s the office address?” Forty minutes later he walked into our office in Pune, smiling broadly. We had chai and I told him to relax and enjoy his first week and ease into work. Peak Pacific was still a startup, operating out of two row houses and we had a handful of employees, around 12-15. I was used to doing things with scarce resources and marshalling people. Deep had joined us from a very big company. He enjoyed his chai and 15 minutes later, since I was occupied on a call, he jumped right into a difficult project situation, marshalling the team, talking to the client, coordinating with the admin to get his laptop, leading, arranging, negotiating for his accommodation …

Over the next six-and-a-half years, Deep imbibed the Founder’s vision, taking ownership of the company’s challenges, attracting talent, grooming anyone who had half an inclination, taking on every role that the management asked him to take up, always in addition and often juggling internal and external expectations simultaneously, always trusting management decisions, and implementing them in his own style. He led and followed, argued and cajoled, always wearing the company vision on his sleeve, helping everybody move forward.

Many people in the industry know Deep but few are aware of how he came to become the person he is. A firebrand student leader, young entrepreneur, event manager, Deep turned to a corporate sector job to curb his instincts and stabilise his risk-taking appetite so that he could leverage his cultural upbringing and add value to people and the wider world.

I have worked with hundreds of professionals in the global Learning industry in the past two decades and I can easily say that I have learned the most from Deep. His ability to communicate in plain language is incredible. A BSc (Honours) in Statistics, Deep’s quick decision making is always backed by judicious awareness and study of data. An MBA in Marketing, he constantly keeps abreast of industry trends using and adapting emerging technology in his daily work. A certified Lominger Competency professional, Deep is also a domain expert in Kirkpatrick Evaluation models.

But what I admire about him the most is that he is a family man. And not just for his family, but for others as well. If he’s in your life, he will be there for you – you can bank on it. And that’s a value system that you can see in everything Deep does. He doesn’t hang out with employees and team members and clients because they are important to business – he does it because he genuinely enjoys their company and is interested in their lives and little sorrows and joys.

Today, Deep goes onto his next organisation in a new city and I know he will bring joy and success to that new family. I can’t believe that I won’t have as a travel companion on business trips or as a food recommender or jalebi-sharer or to share Banarasi memories with. But it is a matter of great pride that he has grown to be a First Among Equals, a professional who will add great value to any C-suite team.

I will miss him as a colleague, as a go-to person, as an advisor, as a professional collaborator. There are some people in our lives in whose company we always feel relaxed and are able to give in to the instinct to depend on another, because they will have your back. Deeptanshu Tiwari is one such person in my life.

All the best Deep 😃

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