Mira Winner's Studio | Trailblazer Award - Rupal Thanawala

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This is a podcast episode titled, Mira Winner's Studio | Trailblazer Award - Rupal Thanawala. The summary for this episode is: <p>Rupal Thanawala, CEO of Trident Systems, sits down with Inside Indiana Business's Gerry Dick to talk about winning the 2023 Trailblazer Award during&nbsp;the&nbsp;24th&nbsp;annual TechPoint Mira Awards gala.</p><p><br></p><p>The Trailblazer Award recognizes visionaries whose contributions have had lasting and significant impact on the state and its technology ecosystem.</p>
Warning: This transcript was created using AI and will contain several inaccuracies.

Gerry Dick: Rupal, congratulations. The Trailblazer Award is quite an honor and so well very much richly deserved on your part. You and your husband co-founded Triton Systems here in Indianapolis 20 years ago, but your story goes far beyond that. You grew up in India, right? With no thought, I'm sure at the time, that you would ultimately be a tech community business leader. Talk about that journey and growing up in India.

Rupal Thanawala: Yeah, so growing up in India, I come from very... um... very humble beginnings, but at the same time I come from background where my parents did not even complete their elementary school, and women did not even work outside homes. I guess the highest person I'd seen who had gone to this completed the school were their high schools. So I really did not have any role models growing up, and I knew that ultimately when I turn 18, I'll get married and take care of my family. So that's been my journey. But at the same time, I met some wonderful friends while I was in high school, and they said, why don't you consider going to engineering school? And my parents thought that I'll be changing some light bulbs or digging the roads, because at that time, that was the definition of engineering that that job women did not do. Whereas I decided to go for a biomedical engineering. So often my parents didn't even understand what I'm studying, but they were very supportive and they said, we want you to achieve your dreams. Yeah.

Gerry Dick: You arrived in the United States in 1996. Talk about your arrival in the US and your path. This, this great path to technology and leadership.

Rupal Thanawala: So I came to the United States in 1996 because my husband got a job here and I was already a biomedical engineer, so I said, okay, you know, let's go out and check out how it is. And I came here and I realized that software was probably more easier for me to get my visa and all. So I got my visa and started working in SAP consulting. But then very shortly we decided that, you know, why don't we start our own venture? Mm-Hmm. . So in 2022, we started our company called Trident Systems.

Gerry Dick: Talk about Trident systems consulting company, again, two decades old. Great success. Talk about the company.

Rupal Thanawala: So Trident Systems, if you ask me what we do, we are problem solvers. And on a personal level, I'm a problem solver for community and my clients. We have at Trident Systems over 50 consultants working in 10 different countries, and we have very niche consulting skills and we help our clients to solve their toughest SAP transformation problems. But then also we are very much focusing on financial compliance and e-invoicing, which is a newest compliance all over the globe. And very soon similar requirements are coming in US also. So we are literally, you know building as we are flying as you say. And that's what we are doing. We hear about a new requirement coming in, say right now we are working in Poland, Australia, France, Belgium, and then when the government announces the requirements, we build the software that actually goes between the government and their SAP or any other systems they have.

Gerry Dick: Beyond the company, you are so involved in the community, in the tech community, business community. You mentioned you didn't have role models growing up, but you have become a role model, model, certainly for a lot of people. Among the many things you're passionate about was Operation Allies. Talk about that two years ago, you really took an active leadership role in that initiative.

Rupal Thanawala: So it is multiple reasons, to be honest, to be part of that program in no specific order. Number one, I knew what is a journey of an immigrant and coming to this country and starting a new life. I knew the challenges. That's one of them. Secondly, I knew firsthand because my son is in US Military Academy at West Point, and I heard from him that mom, in any country, when we go at war, the locals really help us out and without their help, nobody can protect our servicemen and women in that country. So, and we owe them this. So I really got a firsthand very detailed information who are coming here, why are they coming here, and how are they going to come here? So I knew that these are people who have been waited. They really have gone through some of the basic background check and all, and they're coming to us because we actually promised them.

Rupal Thanawala: So I knew it, I'd done my homework. But then when I met them, I realized that when you're coming from foreign country, digital equity is the key enabler for success in this country and in a time and age in any country. And they were coming here with really very limited resources, just a backpack. So how do we make sure that they're successful in this country? And digital equity is very important, whether it's from the, you start from education, entrepreneurship, or employment or just being a US citizen or just a person who is trying to set up the new life here. And I think I was so blessed that my entire Indiana Tech community answered my call. I had 15 plus organizations, and I cannot name all of them in this short interview, but Asian American Alliance and BDPA joined the forces. They answered my call and they said, you know, let's go forward, Rupal.

Rupal Thanawala: You can lead this project. And in a very short time, we could set up classrooms in the tents where we actually leveraged all of the mobile technology and all the technology we have from virtual classroom perspective. We could set up the classrooms in the tents. And we also set up computer labs for the adults. And I hear such heartwarming stories from individuals, a woman who has come, come to the US with four children and was really struggling. What I, what I do, she has an iPad. She is learning English. There's a 10 year old girl. It was her first experience going to the school in a tent, and she was in a te she was in tears. Whereas we have also got many new guests, we call them guest, many guests who were pilots, nurses, doctors, and they wanted to get certification. So a very small gift from Indiana has actually helped, helped 92,000 new guests across the nation and our gifts helped nine and that are all of the military bases where we had an Afghan refugees who came from Afghani... Afghanistan to the US. And Indiana has, actually, it's not me, my entire Indiana Tech community said, you know, we are going to make sure that everyone who comes to Indiana or US has digital equity.

Gerry Dick: Rup Thanawala is the winner of the Trailblazer Award for TechPoint. Rupal, The Operation Allies Initiative just one example of the many that you've participated in. Congratulations.

Rupal Thanawala: Thank you very much.


Rupal Thanawala, CEO of Trident Systems, sits down with Inside Indiana Business's Gerry Dick to talk about winning the 2023 Trailblazer Award during the 24th annual TechPoint Mira Awards gala.

The Trailblazer Award recognizes visionaries whose contributions have had lasting and significant impact on the state and its technology ecosystem.