As Indiana’s tech community continues to grow and mature, it’s getting harder and harder to narrow down the winners for our annual Tech 25 Awards program. Clearly, there is a wealth of tech talent in the Hoosier state, and they are making incredible moves. Join us in celebrating the Tech 25 class of 2020 through this profile series and learn a bit more about each winner.

A love for data meets a passion for business strategy and decision-making in Ninad Thanawala.  He has held various titles throughout his career, including  research scientist, consultant, and marketer. He also founded and exited a seed-stage fintech company as a student at Cornell University.

In his current role as a people insights analyst, Ninad is an advisor across Roche’s Americas region for answering tough questions about people and culture. He uses his unique skill-set of data science and advisory acumen to solve problems and assist his community. Ninad maintains a high level of community involvement and serves on the board of the United Way of Central Indiana and as a liaison to tech organizations in Indy.

What led you to get into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?

I’m highly motivated by seeing the impact that technology can have in the lives of others. My first job in tech was a high school internship, where I used machine learning to answer questions about public health. Here, I learned how much value technology and data had to make a difference in society. I continued this throughout my early career in pharmaceuticals, where I used high-performance computing and data science to simulate clinical trials for diabetes patients. Today, I continue to leverage analytics and technology to enable our employees to grow, contribute, and do what they love: using science to help patients.

What are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?

One of the exciting things about my role is that no single day will look the same. My responsibilities include account management for People and Culture and I also lead an organizational transformation team that drives organization innovation for data and metrics. In addition, I have the opportunity to lead a small team of allies within our resource group for women leaders at Roche, in which I build and execute the strategy for ally engagement and steward our network of allies for women.

Which resources would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?

People analytics (or insights) is at the intersection of analytics, people/culture, and technology. For those interested in this field, I would highly recommend developing some foundational knowledge in the area that one is least familiar with. Keith McNulty and David Green are both widely-recognized thought leaders in the space of people analytics, the former focusing more on data science and the latter speaking more to HR technology. Josh Bersin is another excellent influencer from an advisory perspective. I also recommend attending one of many people analytics conferences, such as PAFOW, HR Leaders, etc., (lots of virtual options).

Ninad Thanawalaa is a Tech 25 winner who is helping to grow and improve the tech landscape of Indiana. He was nominated by his Director Customer Experience and Initiatives, Kim Klein. To learn more about the Tech 25 Awards, click here.

Visit the Indianapolis Business Journal website to see the full listing and celebration of the 2020 Tech 25 honorees in the joint CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards supplement. You can also watch a video of the livestream from the CTO of the Year and Tech 25 Awards virtual event.