Ryan Zielonka

Affiliation: 
Capgemini Consulting
Position: 
Digital Transformation Senior Consultant
Member Since: 
2014

I'm a lifelong student, educator, writer, consultant, and public speaker. I work for Capgemini's corporate strategy and transformation group as a management consultant in the Business and Technology Innovation practice. 

I've spent a great deal of time helping bolster Capgemini's presence in the digital transformation space. My current responsibilities include business development, thought leadership development, solution and offering generation, and client-side delivery. I've led or contributed to efforts surrounding digital customer experience in the manufacturing sector, cloud enterprise implementation and migration in the life sciences sector, operations transformation and corporate strategy in the retail apparel industry, technology innovation in the consumer products industry, and incentive compensation in the pharmaceuticals industry. I also spent time in Capgemini's federal civilian practice where I worked for a large civilian defense client in Washington, D.C.

Before joining Capgemini, I was a Henry Luce Next Generation research fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research. There, I headed the development of the NBR Alumni Network website and online portal. I also provided research support and policy analysis to NBR constituents and contributed to NBR's annual Strategic Asia volume. My independent research efforts culminated in a piece on internet governance and cyber-security titled "China.com: A Clash of Digital Civilizations."

I received both my MA in International Studies (2009) and BA in Political Science (2005) from the University of Washington, and graduated from my master's program with top honors.
 

Q & A: 

When I was in high school, I wish someone would have told me… to think about where I wanted to be in 20 years, and begin working backward from there, taking action in the here and now. Even if that end goal changes, you set yourself up with an operating system for life, prioritizing what brings you, those you love, and those around you wellness and happiness.

The things I found most helpful to support my college experience were... forging close relationships with my professors.

I was able to pay for college by… teaching guitar to students of all ages, and benefitting from the tens of thousands of hours my second-generation Polish immigrant parents put into raising and providing for me.

The best piece of career or college advice I ever received was…  that iconic leaders learn for the sake of learning, and to take seriously my education. Because once you leave school, job responsibilities and life will, in general, eat up most of your time, so make sure you leave space to continue one’s personal development.

The first three things I would do on my first day at work would be…  (1) To find out what’s most important to my manager at work, what keeps her or him up at night; (2) to listen intently and study the dynamics of the workplace in order to find ways to make myself indispensible; and (3) to reach out to senior leadership, to be bold and audacious in learning about the company or organization and how I can best support it.

 

What excites me most about my work & the contribution I can make is…how the difficult but rewarding lessons I learned can be passed on and give those younger than myself the necessary insight to help them realize their potential.

Something I am really bad at that I’d love to be great at is… wrapping a burrito (I could never graduate to the burrito line when I worked at Taco Time in high school).

It would be impossible for me to give up…anything that I set my mind to. Success often comes down to not quitting when everyone else does.

My favorite sports team is… the McLaren Formula One racing team.

I joined the YouthForce Board because… outside of hard work and dedication, opportunities are crucial to a young person’s personal and professional success – and that’s what YouthForce and the Boys and Girls Club provide. The Club in downtown Bellevue gave me the opportunity to perform live it was nearly impossible to find a venue where my fellow underage bandmates and I could play. Plus, the people are amazing – it’s a group I feel honored to be a part of.