Dave Allston

Managing Partner

TRADITIONAL BIO

During Dave’s 22 years in consulting, and his additional six years in industry, he has demonstrated a thoughtful, multidimensional approach to problem solving and developing plans, organizational structures, and processes that promote alignment and growth within both Fortune 500 companies and private interests. Dave’s specialties include: M&A due diligence and integration planning, the design and implementation of culture-building plans, and the delivery of large, complex, technology solutions, including the development and execution of IT strategies, the transition to outsourced providers, the management of technology vendors, and the implementation of ERP systems. Dave has broad industry experience with specific depth in the utilities, financial services, energy, and healthcare industries.

Prior to joining Thought Ensemble, Dave was a senior partner with management consulting firm Sendero. Dave’s additional consulting experience was gained while working at Accenture (Andersen Consulting) and Tactica Technology Group. His industry experience was gained while serving in IT leadership positions at TXU Corporation and WinningHabits/Matria Healthcare. Dave holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Texas at Austin. He serves the community as a Board member and Executive Committee member for The Family Place – a nonprofit dedicated to empowering victims of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling, and skills that create independence while building community engagement and advocating for social change to stop family violence.

Dave is passionate about family and friends, great food and wine, sports, and helping others.

THOUGHTFUL BIO

It was the summer of 1989, and I was about to start my last year as a business major at UT. Frankly, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I was sitting at Wrigley Field talking with a friend who had started his career in consulting and was attending grad school in Chicago. Perhaps over an Old Style or two, I heard from my friend what opportunities I could realize as a consultant. I could work with companies of all sizes and in all industries. I could work with different leaders, with different styles, facing different issues, and could partner with those leaders to develop unique solutions to address their issues. I could do something different every day. I could work with extremely bright, driven people who would challenge me in really cool ways. I could even see the world! And I could experience an endless number of opportunities to learn and grow as a person. That day, I didn’t figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I did determine I wanted to start my career as a consultant.

The first eleven years of my career were extremely rewarding. I spent a large majority of that time in one of the old “Big 8” consulting firms, and the remainder of that time in a small, more “niche” firm. The experiences I enjoyed as a consultant during those eleven years were invaluable. I really loved it! But in hindsight, I realize I had stopped “believing” in consulting. There was so much I loved about it, or at least liked about it, but I just wasn’t always convinced I was, or we were, really adding value to our clients’ businesses. I knew I wanted something different. So, I decided to accept an “industry” gig in an IT leadership position within a very large company. After four great years there, I transitioned into a small startup company where I served as a senior IT leader for two years.

During those six years in industry, I learned so much, including the fact that I have so much more to learn! I managed an operational organization and felt the responsibility for the livelihood of my team members. What an awesome experience! I saw how people in IT could often be treated as second class citizens by their business partners/teammates. That was NOT an awesome experience! My department was outsourced. My company was acquired. All of these opportunities were in their own ways challenging, but they were also opportunities to learn and grow, such as when I ended up on the client side of management consulting firms I had hired to help me tackle some very complex business problems. I started to see from another perspective a more broad view of the value consultants could truly provide. So, following an acquisition of the company I was with, and the subsequent merging of our two organizations, I decided it was time to take on a new opportunity. It was clear to me at that point that I wanted to get back into consulting. I believed in it again. I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up.

So, in 2007 I returned to consulting. I returned to consulting because I wanted to help. I wanted to help my clients with what I would call the more “strategic” stuff: developing an actionable plan to help them achieve their vision, selecting a vendor to provide outsourced services or implement important technology, or determining how to better align their organization. I also wanted to help with what I will call the more “tactical” stuff: executing a project to drive it to a successful conclusion, being a sounding board to help make a tough decision, or just getting tasks done that the current staff doesn’t have the bandwidth to get done. There may truly be a countless number of ways consultants can help our clients, and I love when we can help!

To be clear, I am not all grown up yet. And, when you read this last sentence, know that my wife, kids, and close friends are all nodding their heads vigorously. But I love what I do.

Some of my favorite things include:

  • Developing actionable plans to make a vision become reality
  • Driving business transformation
  • Helping improve my clients’ careers and making their lives happier, if for no other reason than we helped make a challenging issue go away, and they were able to sleep better at night
  • Helping my teammates develop their capabilities as professionals and grow to realize their vast potential as human beings

I want to change the world and help make it better. I love that, as consultants, we get to do that in at least some small way every single day.

Dave’s Thoughts

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

Self-Awareness is Key to Belonging

In August of this year, as part of our annual company meeting, our team at Thought Ensemble participated in the foundational session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training led by Dr. Nika White, IOM, CDE (she/her/hers). One of the most meaningful moments...

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