INDIANAPOLIS — Rupal Thanawala, long-time community advocate and CEO of tech and business advisory firm Trident Systems LLC in Fishers, says of her growing company, “We walk in the door, say ‘what’s your challenge?’ And we fix it.”
That attitude goes far beyond Trident – a professional service provider specializing in business strategy and digital transformation for supply chain and global financial compliance, which has 50 employees and a fast-growing footprint that covers more than 30 countries – to her civic work in central Indiana.
Thanawala’s efforts have led the Indiana Chamber of Commerce to name her its 2022 NextEra Energy Resources Dynamic Leader of the Year.
“When you think about leadership, you think about someone with initiative and drive to make things better for others,” offers Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “Whether working on behalf of her clients, serving as a mentor for her employees or countless other groups – particularly those that are under-represented, or jumping in with both feet on any number of volunteer efforts, Rupal exhibits those traits.”
There are many adjectives that describe Thanawala, he continues, including eager, energetic, intelligent, and innovative. But the best word to describe the Mumbai native who moved to the U.S. three decades ago might be “fixer.”
For instance, last year, she jumped head-first into an effort to outfit Camp Atterbury with a commercial-grade computer lab for people uprooted from their Afghan homes and transplanted here due to the upheaval in that country. The digital literacy project was instrumental in helping young Afghans not only with educational opportunities but entertainment. The adults used the lab for resume building and job searches as well as a vital connection to family in far-flung locations. The program initiated by Thanawala was quickly expanded to nine military bases turned into refugee camps throughout the U.S. and impacted 94,000 guests.
Thanawala has championed numerous under-represented groups over the years, including serving as president of the Asian American Alliance; board member of BDPA, formerly the Black Data Processing Associates; and technology editor for the Indianapolis Recorder, a volunteer position she says helps bring technology news and information to Black and urban audiences. She is also on the supervisory committee for Financial Center Credit Union.
If you ask Thanawala to describe herself, she doesn’t hesitate: “I’m truly a servant leader.”
“It’s my personal calling,” she shares. “As a business leader, we owe it to give back to our community. It’s imperative that we give back in terms of tech education, working on issues regarding diversity and inclusion, and preparing leaders of various backgrounds for tomorrow.”
The Dynamic Leader of the Year Award will be presented at the Indiana Chamber’s 33rd Annual Awards Dinner, presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, on November 16 at the Indiana Convention Center. A table of 10 starts at $1,995 and individual tickets are $195 each. All tickets can be purchased online at www.indianachamber.com/ad or by calling 800-824-6885.
The ceremony will feature three other statewide honors: the Cummins Community of the Year (announced as Columbus on August 29), Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year, and Birch Bayh-Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year. The government leader of the year will be announced by early October and the business leader of the year will be revealed at the November 16 awards program.
The event speaker sponsor is OneAmerica and PNC is the opening reception sponsor. Corporate sponsors are AT&T Indiana, French Lick Resort, Indiana University, NIPSCO, Republic Airways/Lift Academy, Tilson, and Zimmer Biomet.
Contributing sponsors are AECOM Hunt, Community Health Network, Corteva Agriscience, Fineline Printing Group, Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council, The Kroger Co., Markey’s, MCM CPAs & Advisors, Roche Diagnostics Corporation and Subaru of Indiana Automotive.
Additional sponsorships for the Indiana Chamber’s 33rd Annual Awards program are available by contacting Jim Wagner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Media interested in covering the awards event should contact Matt Ottinger at (317) 264-7541 or email@example.com.
The 2021 Indiana Chamber Dynamic Leader of the Year recipient was Megan Glover of 120Water in Zionsville.