Thoughtworker Spotlight: Nafisha Budhwani

Thoughtworks Canada

Thoughtworks Canada

May 12, 2023

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Two images of Nafisha, one of her smiling at the camera, another wearing a Viking cap with horns.

Nafisha Budhwani is a risk taker, relationship builder and world traveler. As the Director for Products and Channels for Global Partnerships at Thoughtworks, Nafisha leads new partnerships that Thoughtworks embarks on (outside of cloud providers) and works closely with all partners and Thoughtworks cross-functional stakeholders to package Thoughtworks solutions with partner services and products to build new GTM (go-to-market) strategies to increase outbound demand.

With her client-centricity and innovative nature, she helps Thoughtworkers boost their knowledge to support partnerships while leveraging her program management and delivery leadership in building client connections to solve problems and accelerate value creation.  

When she’s not scaling all types of partnerships, you can find Nafisha traveling to breathtaking landscapes, jamming to ’90s R&B and designing her new home with her family from scratch, while tuning into home renovation/DIY shows for design inspiration. 

Can you guess what Nafisha’s favourite product is? Hint: This product follows her all over the world and has seen some gorgeous seascapes.

Tell us about what you do in 50 words or less.

I am responsible for all new partnerships that Thoughtworks embarks on, outside of the 3 big cloud providers. Working closely with service line leaders, sales, marketing and other cross functional stakeholders, I package up our solutions and offerings along with our partner products and services, and introduce them to the market through our partner channels. As a program management and delivery leader by trade, I drive impact through building client connections, helping solve problems and to accelerate value creation.

What’s the most interesting challenge you’re working on?

I’m excited about helping set the path forward for how we explore, decide, activate, manage and scale all types of partnerships (such as technology and consulting) at Thoughtworks. As a new function that only started in 2019 (initially focused on cloud partnerships), there are many opportunities for us to leverage partnerships as an organization to help us grow and accelerate the value we can deliver to our clients.  

What inspired you to have the career you have today?

I have always been client-centric, thinking about the ways to not only help, but innovate and improve the status quo. I’m not comfortable with complacency, so I strive to maximize value and achieve more with the people I work with, for and lead. My inspiration and drive comes from my parents, who immigrated to Canada and worked hard in labour-intensive jobs, providing a better life for my brother and I. They valued education, hard work, ambition, gratitude and servitude to give back and help others.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?

Graduating from Schulich with my MBA and sharing that moment with my mom and dad. During and after my MBA, I was active at York University in the start-up space, and helped with the inception and deployment of LaunchYU through Innovation York.

If you could go back in time and give yourself career advice, what would it be?

My advice would be to stick with my gut and take more risks. I’ve had a few great ideas and projects that had I invested more in them, I could have made more of an impact. Nowadays, it’s difficult to find time and take risks with all of the “adult commitments”.

What do you love to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my partner Jeff and my step daughter Mia.  She’s 11 and so much fun to be around. She keeps me relevant with TikTok. 

Travelling is another big one for me. Just before the pandemic, I went on a work trip to Ecuador and Brazil, I knocked off a bucket list item on my personal time by visiting the Galapagos. Another bucket list item I checked off was getting up at 4am to watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?

Album – 90s R&B Spotify list

Movie – One I could watch over and over again, Pretty Woman (and the soundtrack is amazing)

Book – Anything Colleen Hoover 

And finally, what’s your favourite product and why? 

I traveled a lot as a student.  When I was doing my MBA, I did a Global Leadership Project (final consulting project required to graduate) in Israel. I would use Skype to video chat with my parents (who don’t get to travel much because they worked seven days a week for 12 hours managing their own grocery store) and I could show them the world.  I remember calling my dad from Turkey back in 2013 and he was telling customers in the store, “I need to go! My daughter is calling from Turkey.” 

I showed him the view of the Bosphorus Sea and everything around me, and he just lit up with excitement and awe. It was a very touching moment to connect with my parents in that moment and share with them what I was experiencing; all due to technology.

Ever since then, I’m a huge FaceTime and WhatsApp video fan because I can stay connected with my family and friends from all over the world.

First image is Nafisha, her husband, and step-daughter smiling. Middle photo is Nafisha in Turkey on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, and last image is Nafisha posing near turtles on Galapagos

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