Business today doesn’t demand just waking up and going to work. To be successful and fulfilled, it takes more than the daily grind. At Rubicon, we not only encourage innovation and creative thinking but challenge team members to set the bar and their goals high.  

This deems true for Ashish Juneja, Rubicon’s Director of Operations and Special Initiatives. Ashish led two large initiatives successfully in our company within the past 6 months. Complex in nature, Ashish managed to align all moving parts while exceeding the expectations of key stakeholders. And, he not only did the job… he blew everyone away. He used strategic thinking mixed with his personal work ethic to move mountains, meet tight deadlines, communicate effectively and close two deals to further solidify Rubicon’s growing position in the marketplace.

To recognize his efforts, Ashish received the first George Washington Carver Innovation Award. As the inaugural recipient, Ashish is part of a coveted group of employees who will receive the GWCIA for not only thinking outside the box but thinking like there is no box. Aligning with our core value, embrace learning and new ideas, this peer-nominated recognition will acknowledge team members across the company who are challenging the status quo and making an impact through innovation.

We sat down with Ashish to learn more about what it means to receive this award and how he integrates innovation into his role at Rubicon:

1. George Washington Carver said, “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” What does this quote mean to you?

ASHISH: During my professional career, I have noticed that everyone is trying to do things the way they are told or the easiest way out. That is how business used to train people, especially consultants. Do the same thing and get the same results. When I began my career in consulting, I realized very quickly I was not hired to get the same results.

If they wanted that, they wouldn’t need me. I was hired to think outside the box. I challenged myself to not stay confined to my comfort zone, but alternatively push myself to think differently. Failure is a theme in doing things differently. More likely than not you will fail before you succeed, but in those failures is where you evolve and change. It is where you learn the most important lessons.”

2. George Washington Carver was an inventor and someone we look to in this company as a mentor guiding our creativity. Why is it important to continue innovating in business?

ASHISH: “Business is evolving and becoming more complicated. It used to be easy and standardized. With so much competition nowadays, you have to figure out ways to get ahead of everyone. You have to continuously anticipate needs.”

3. George Washington Carver aligns with our core value of embrace learning and new ideas. How did you incorporate new ideas into the acquisition process?

ASHISH: “It is important to engage people across the company to get a mix of ideas and collaboration. Initially, when making decisions at Rubicon, the deciders have a specific perspective, because of their industry experience. When a problem is presented they have a defined way of thinking.

With my background in consulting, my opinions are broader and coming into this company, I did not have a foundational knowledge of the industry so immediately I am going to bring a different perspective. My job in this process was to present ideas and options to everyone that are diverse and have been fully vetted.

I made sure to include a variety of contributors to provide different perspectives. I also made sure we did not decline an option or idea just because it was different. All perspectives are important.”

4. What is one quote that you live and lead by?

ASHISH: “What you cannot measure you cannot track and you cannot improve.” This quote is the foundation of my career. Always create results. No matter what you are thinking about, you need to figure out a way to measure success to know your direction.”

5. Who do you admire and why?

ASHISH: There are actually two people I admire. One in my professional career and one in my personal life”:

Professional: “My professional mentor and someone I really admire in business I met during my time working at McKinsey & Company. He is one of the partners in the company. He truly taught me what it takes to succeed. How one can take his or her job seriously, but balance it with other things like family at the highest of levels.

He taught me that keeping your mind stress free allows you to perform better in the workplace and be present in your personal life. New ideas cannot cultivate in a stressful mindset.”

Personal: “My life mentor is my father. He has the hardest work ethic I know. From modest means to success, growing up I saw the sacrifices he had to make to take care of us. It really brings humility to things. We do differ in our definitions of success. His definition of success is if the decision has a negative rearing for somebody you are not doing something right. Success is the decisions that make everyone happy.

My definition of success is if the decision is not making you a little uncomfortable, then you’re not going to make a change.”

6. Since starting at Rubicon, how have you incorporated recycling and sustainability into your life:

ASHISH: “From my consulting days, I have been trained to look through the lens of how to cut cost and make an impact. It is easy to take that mentality and apply it to recycling and sustainability. I am always thinking about how to reduce whether cost or waste and I think it’s cool you can make money out of trash.

Since starting here, I have become more sensitive and aware when I throw away trash. With this knowledge, I have taught my children to identify the bins by colors. Seeing the next generation point out on their own that their trash should go in a blue bin vs. black bin is really inspiring. When you have exposure which we do on a daily basis at work, you know the true impact of what you are doing and it’s something you cannot ignore.”

7. What does success mean to you?

ASHISH: “Consulting provided me the ability to make a large impact at a high level. With the diversity of projects I worked on, I was learning in all dimensions.

Now at Rubicon, I love that I have exposure to different functions cross-functionally without the travel life a consultant has to endure. I am part of the decisions that define the company and critical to its success, but I don’t have to leave my family during the week.

At Rubicon, I can accomplish the two objectives I have set for my career: getting exposure to leadership and working on different functions. The best part is I can also have balance, my family is happy and more flexibility each day because we have great benefits. That is truly the definition of success for me.”

There is no one more deserving than Ashish to receive this honorable award. When the award process was announced at our company meeting, he was already populating a mental list of team members that he wants to nominate. Needless to say, he was completely shocked when his name was called. Congratulations, Ashish!

Looking to join the Rubicon team? Take a look through the open opportunities on our Careers page.