We had the good fortune of connecting with Devang Soni and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Devang, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking

With over two decades of experience in business and technology transformation, I have had a great career in helping & guiding Fortune 500 organizations toward digital & technology innovation and growth. I have an extensive background in technology, including Cloud, Data & AI. I recently served as the Managing Director at Accenture LLP, where I led major transformation programs for clients and the Application Modernization and Migration Practice in the US SOUTH Region. Before that, served as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and advisor to the board at Computer Data Source, Inc., where I was responsible for driving the technology vision and growth of the business and leading large-scale global service delivery.

With this experience along with the entrepreneur spirit, I started Drive Growth | Ventures, a Venture Capital Firm that I founded in 2024, with focus on Data & AI investments in Healthcare, FinTech and Aerospace.

I love to work and serve our clients; help create client value and operate with one mindset of client-centricity with impact and outcomes for their businesses. While doing that, the key is to focus on our people, focus on our culture, drive excellence, build high-performing teams, and nonetheless form lifelong friendships.

The last 20 years have been a lot of fun; I have loved every moment of it! And looking forward to more fun ahead with the new venture.

Do you have a budget? How do you think about your personal finances and how do you make lifestyle and spending decisions?

It is very important to continue to work in our means as it relates to our personal finances and business finances. Affording a lifestyle is very much driven by the input and output of the funds that we work through every month and every year. The decisions that I focus on are very much driven based on savings, leisure and fixed monthly budgets. The principles are the same as we walk from our personal finances to business finances. Try to be least leveraged in the mix, so profits are not only going towards interests on the money owed, rather you can enjoy some of the profits and focus on savings for the future.

Risk taking how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/Career?

In my journey through digital and technology transformation, risk-taking has been a pivotal force, shaping not just my career but my approach to innovation and growth. Rooted in my background in technology and my leadership in driving change for Fortune 50 clients, I view risk-taking as an essential ingredient for progress.

Embracing Uncertainty: The leap into cloud technologies, data AI, and digital transformation represents my belief in uncertainty as a fertile ground for innovation. It’s about seeing beyond the immediate challenges to the potential that lies in unexplored territories.

Calculated Decisions: My risk-taking is strategic, informed by expertise and a deep understanding of the landscape. It’s about making decisions with a clear vision of their potential to drive transformative change.

Resilience in Adversity: The journey includes setbacks, but each serves as a lesson and a stepping stone. My involvement in cancer support and research is a testament to transforming personal and professional challenges into opportunities for impact.

In summary, risk-taking, for me, is about embracing the unknown with strategic foresight, resilience, and a commitment to innovation. It’s a philosophy that has guided me to explore new frontiers and achieve meaningful success in the technology sector.

Where are you from and how did your background and upbringing impact who you are today?

Early Childhood: I had a humble beginning as a kid, being around our vast family, cousins, and friends. Growing up as kids, we were fortunate enough to have been surrounded by our parents to get the support and the nurturing needed to continue our growth and stay grounded in the reality of life. They always instilled the philosophy that if someone approaches you for help, they believe and have trust that you would be able to help them; never miss that opportunity to help others. Whenever possible, whatever possible, help the community and drive community work that can impact hundreds if not thousands around you.

I always saw my father helping the community, his inner circle, and his outer circle of people he knows, giving up his time and family time and leading up to donations for the community’s wellbeing. At the young age of 79, he never misses doing that, even today. Perhaps what we saw happening around us growing up as kids built this mindset in me.

Surat, India: Born and raised in India, we moved across a few cities before settling down in Surat, which I still call home away from the Dallas home. Spend most of my teenage years in Surat, including getting my early and college education there. Going back there to visit every year, I love to see the hustle and bustle of life and enjoy the super delicious food options in the city. Surat is nicknamed the Diamond City and the Textile Capital of the World. Surat City recently welcomed the opening of the largest building in the world called the Surat Diamond Bourse. A city worth visiting if you ever made your way to India.

Early life in the US: Life here in the US started similarly, surrounded by family, cousins, and new friends. The early years were focused on education, the first job, the pleasures of buying the first car, and owning the first apartment; it was a joy and led to settling in the US. We also moved around in the US, in the early days between Greensboro, NC and Cary, NC, and then a long stretch in New Jersey before finally settling in Dallas, TX, with my wife and two kids. The sense of community and a well-balanced quality of life is very much enjoyable in this part of the country. If you are ever in Dallas, please do reach out, would be happy to crab a coffee.

Special Interests and Hobbies: I have loved science and math from my early days in school. I always take advantage of every opportunity to participate in science initiatives, including local science & engineering fairs and coaching local school district students on scientific research. Recently, I served as the Judge at the Regeneron International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF) hosted in Dallas, TX, an opportunity to learn something new and meet a talented new generation of scientists and researchers. A recent blog post where I talk about my experiences from the ISEF 2023 participation.

Outside work, I am an avid athlete who loves participating in half-marathons, long-distance cycling events, triathlons, and Spartan races. I am also an Avid Table Tennis player. I have been at the forefront of these efforts to drive health and fitness in the local communities. Additionally, I have amassed a collection of over 10,000+ postal stamps across some 130+ countries.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from growing up.

I have two favorite memories from my childhood days.

When I was about ten years old, my maternal Grandfather handed me over his postal stamp collection of 300 unique stamps; he and I had no idea what I would do with his collection of over 20 years. He traveled to places early on, mainly across India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. During the same time, my grandfather introduced me to the encyclopedia to learn about these stamps and their origination of countries, people, religions, and places. I was stunned to see his collection, the care he took of those stamps, and how well organized his collection was. My Grandfather taught me a lot about these Stamps, their origin, the cultures, the people, the traditions, and the big heads on these postal stamps. He taught me how to trade these postal stamps and find their equivalent based on their age, uniqueness, number of prints, etc. All I had to do was work towards it. I am so glad that I took what he gave me, considering his legacy, and some 35 years later, grew it to a collection of 10,000 plus stamps. I wouldn’t have thought of this if my grandfather hadn’t gotten me started on it at that young age.

Another unique memory from my childhood and early teenage years is my love for roller skating. It started as a “let’s go to learn roller skating”; we would fall and learn something new. I started making friends there, learning new tricks on roller skates, learning artistic skating, learning speed skating, and dislocating bones in the body :-). It was no less than 3 to 4 hours of dedicated skating daily – Monday to Sunday and the best six years of my childhood and teenage years with this sport. It led me to local District championships, State championships, and some lifelong friendships.

Small childhood memories leave a tremendous and profound impact on the rest of your life!

Thank you, Shoutout DFW, for the outstanding questions and the opportunity to sit down with y’all.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Obstacles and challenges I consider as opportunities to grow in life. We are constantly hit with something, and we all go through it; at times, it’s the fit’s occurrence of that challenge, sometimes a repeat, just in a different flavor. I strongly believe in learning lessons from these challenges and then converting them into opportunities to learn and grow in the future. I recently had a chance to read a book – The Surrender Experiment, by Michael A. Singer. He gives examples of this approach of letting destiny decide, which leads to not just thinking about the short-term goals but about how the challenges of today will lead towards much bigger and better things in the future.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
What value of principle matters most to you? Why?

Helping people around us and impacting the communities

Executive Sponsor, Co-founder of the Cancer Support Group (sub-ERG) within Accenture – Started a sub-ERG for Accenture employees to provide support to Cancer Survivors, Cancer Patients, and Caregivers, a sounding board, and a private space for people to talk freely about their journey. The Group is meant to support individuals who need the most help, understand the disease, and help connect the bridge between health care plans and survivor stories of encouragement. This also became one of the main reasons that we were able to drive awareness within our health benefits programs to offer additional support for Cancer Patients. Though I am no longer involved with this organization, it remains near and dear to my heart.

Board Member at Cancer Support Communities of North Texas (CSCNT) – Similar to the efforts with the Cancer Support Group, I ran into a great organization in North Texas focused on providing Emotional and Psychological support to Cancer Patients, Families, and Caregivers. The work they are driving is excellent in the sense of their reach within the community and the support they provide to people battling this disease with group sessions, individual sessions catered to caregivers & patients, online sessions, and lifestyle classes. The goal of all of this is to help with various side effects of cancer, which unfortunately include social isolation, anxiety, depression, other side effects of medications, chemo, radiation, and emerging treatments.

Board Member at National Math & Science Initiative (NMSI) – A STEM education organization that provides professional development programs for STEM educators that help build the STEM Innovators and Leaders of tomorrow. The reach of this organization is astounding, with 2.7+ Million Students, 68,000+ Teachers, and 1800+ School Systems. The work that our organization is doing around STEM education is impactful and profound, reaching within our communities. The teach-the-teacher approach resonates with getting the proliferation of STEM education deep down into our school districts. A recent stat published by NMSI shows the impact of STEM education and college degrees: NMSI program has twice the rate of graduations (35%) compared to the National average (18%).

Website: https://drivegrowth.medium.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/driveselfgrowth

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/devang-soni/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/driveselfgrowth

Facebook: https://facebook.com/driveselfgrowth

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.