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Meet Harp: Global Head of Channel Operations
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Elena Francis
11th July, 2024

Meet Harp: Global Head of Channel Operations

For nearly a decade, Harp Athwal has been a major contributor towards maximising The Adaptavist Group's vision, significantly contributing to its growth and success.
Harp Athwal has been a critical team member of The Adaptavist Group for almost ten years. With an impressive journey from aspiring stuntman and firefighter to tech industry leader, Harp's story is as inspiring as it is motivating. Let's dive into the career journey and leadership philosophy of our Global Head of Channel Operations.

Early aspirations and entry into tech

As a child, Harp was captivated by the excitement of being a stuntman, inspired by Lee Majors in The Fall Guy. He was also impressed by the noble job of firefighting and saving lives. However, the allure of the ever-evolving technology industry eventually gripped his ambitions. His interest in tech can be traced back to when he first started avidly playing video games like Winter Games, California Games, NHL 94, and Doom—a passion that led to constant upgrades to his PC, nurturing a deeper fascination with tech.

Background

With over 25 years of experience in the technology industry, Harp has played a crucial role in transforming emerging companies into global leaders. His leadership philosophy centres on building relationships rather than focusing solely on revenue, believing that strong relationships naturally lead to business success.
Harp's experience with Atlassian products began during his tenure as VP of Technology at Artez Interactive (2003-2013). Leading the Release Management and QA team, he transitioned from Bugzilla to Jira and from BugTracker to Service Desk, marking the start of a long and fruitful relationship with Atlassian tools.
Over the years, Harp has witnessed significant milestones in the Atlassian ecosystem. He recalls the end of HipChat and Stride as pivotal moments, where Atlassian began to truly focus on its core user base, emphasising its commitment to people and processes.

Overcoming challenges

Combining technical knowledge with exceptional relationship-building skills, Harp excels in fostering leadership and growth within his teams. He takes pride in hiring and mentoring diverse individuals, helping them overcome obstacles and realise their potential as leaders.
And he’s had to deal with obstacles of his own. Throughout his career, Harp has unfortunately faced lots of racism. While achieving major accomplishments in his work life, he noticed he didn’t receive the same levels of respect and recognition as his white peers. Despite these challenges, he has remained resilient, focusing on being a positive force for change and not letting discrimination discourage and discredit him. His ability to rise above adversity and maintain his commitment to excellence is a testament to his character and leadership.
One of Harp's most significant achievements at The Adaptavist Group is the high number of colleagues he has mentored and promoted. Seeing these individuals thrive and move into leadership roles is a source of immense pride and fulfilment. It demonstrates how his leadership skills inspire others, who go on to adopt his management expertise when they take up more senior roles.

Leadership style

Harp's leadership style revolves around providing a clear vision and mission, ensuring team alignment, and avoiding micromanagement. He believes in empowering his team to take ownership and work collaboratively towards common goals. He ensures everyone on his team understands why individually they are critical to their shared success and encourages them to expand their core strengths and collaboration skills.
Colleagues admire Harp for his thoughtful approach to decision-making. Drawing inspiration from Nelson Mandela, he makes a point to listen to everyone's input before sharing his own perspective, fostering a well-rounded and inclusive decision-making process. He welcomes differing perspectives and many times, they have redefined his pre-existing opinions.

Hobbies and interests

Outside of work, Harp has a passion for construction, a hobby he has pursued since the age of 13. During the pandemic, he built a house on a small lake north of Toronto, a project that took three years to complete. This hands-on activity offers a creative outlet and a break from the demands of his professional life.

A new role and plans for the future

Recently, Harp was appointed the Global Head of Channel Operations at The Adaptavist Group. In his new role, he works even closer on strategy specific to the Atlassian ecosystem. Previously, many great discussions and ideas were floated at meetings and events but never became a reality. Harp ensures the team follows through on their ambitious thoughts and wants to maintain collaborative relationships based on operations excellence with our ecosystem partners. His focus will be on streamlining operations and fostering growth, keeping The Adaptavist Group on its upward trajectory.
Having been instrumental in The Adaptavist Group's growth, Harp looks forward to continuing this exciting journey. With new offerings and ideas on the horizon, he remains committed to providing exceptional value to clients and enjoying the ride.
Harp's journey is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and leadership. His contributions to The Adaptavist Group have been invaluable, and his future endeavours promise continued success and innovation.

Want to see what Harp's up to?