For CQUniversity graduate and the President of GHD Digital' Kumar Parakala' putting people first has always been the key to his success. He has had a successful career as a global professional services leader' innovator' and award-winning start-up founder. Now' CQUniversity has recognised Kumar's commitment to driving business growth and innovation through digital transformation' naming him the 2021 Alumnus of the Year for Industry Achievement.
The annual awards recognise high-achieving graduates across four categories' and the 2021 recipients represent CQUniversity's diverse alumni cohort.
An Australian for more than three decades' Kumar Parakala moved to Rockhampton in Central Queensland from Hyderabad in India to study his Master of Information Systems with CQUniversity in 1991.
At CQU' he quickly established a strong network in the supportive community and found a deep sense of inclusivity and belonging.
"I chose CQUniversity because they were incredibly responsive' and everyone was going out of their way to welcome me with open arms'" said Mr Parakala.
"Professors treated you like equals' and I could feel the trust that they had in me – as a student' this was very empowering. Eventually' this paved the way for my first entrepreneurial venture with CQUni called the Centre for Business Information Management' which focused on the local business community. My experience was truly life-changing."
After graduating' Mr Parakala became Director of Corporate Services for St. Andrew's Hillcrest Private Hospital in Rockhampton.
He then went on to join the Queensland Government' becoming its then-youngest ever Chief Information Officer and winning the Government's Excellence Award in 2000.
Arriving in Sydney' Mr Parakala joined the global consultancy firm KPMG' held many senior leadership roles and served as a senior partner' advising some of the world's largest companies over the next 15 years' before founding the digital agency Technova in 2015.
With a proven digital start-up mindset' Mr Parakala joined global professional services company GHD in 2017. Shortly after' in 2018 GHD Digital was launched. GHD Digital is one of the world's fastest-growing digital businesses' with phenomenal growth from 30 to almost 600 people in less than three years.
Mr Parakala's national and international contributions were recognised by the ACS' the ICT sector's professional body' with his induction into its Hall of Fame.
"My advice is never to follow the crowd'" said Mr Parakala. His career trajectory and life's journey clearly showcasing the value of going against the grain.
"I've taken risks that many hesitate to take because my ambition for greater good was always higher than the ambition I had for myself'" he said.
"Be bold to go where no one has gone before and serve others in a way no one has ever served before."
CQUniversity is set to share the Alumni Award recipients' stories in its new podcast series' How to Change a Life' launching on Monday' March 8' 2021.