Rula Kallas

Occupation: Director, Professional Services & Support, Celigo, Inc.

First Car:
Pontiac Grand Prix

Favorite Restaurant: my mom’s kitchen (literally); she never opened up a restaurant, although she should have

1.   What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. I lived in Central America as a baby & took my first steps on a beach in Cartagena, Colombia.
  2. I build wood furniture as a hobby.
  3. My biggest vice is chocolate (it’s an addiction, actually).

2.   What’s been your greatest adventure in life?
Getting through it with some semblance of balance and equanimity.

3.   What’s your best childhood memory?

Spending the night with my best friend 3 nights in a row; first her house, then mine, then hers again. Riding bikes with her, making “baby” gummy bears by making two “adult” gummy bears kiss, hiding and playing under a big weeping, willow tree in her backyard.

4.   If you could have a conversation with a person of your choice, past, present or future, who would that person be and why?

The Buddha, because I want to see if simply being in his presence could help me reach my goal of true equanimity and peace.

5.   What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done in your life?

That’s a tough question to answer, so I’ll focus it on the hardest physical thing I’ve done in my life. I hiked the Grand Canyon, all the way down and up, in two consecutive days, with about 50 pounds of non-back-packing camping equipment strapped onto me. It took me a week to be able to walk normally after that!

6.   Tell us about your favorite hobby.

Woodworking. Wood is an amazingly varied, flexible and malleable, yet strong material. It’s so naturally beautiful and so forgiving to work with. When I think of all the qualities that wood has, it makes me wish I had those same qualities.

7.   What are you currently reading? What is your favorite book?

I’ve started a few books recently but none of them have really grabbed me yet. The 4-hour Work Week, The Lacuna, The Power of Now.

My favorite book is The Great Gatsby, with all of its symbolism. But “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”, by Dr. Seuss is a tie.

8.   Do you  have a favorite app(s) you can’t live without?

NextBus

9.   Is there a particular place or thing you want to see?

Everything and Everywhere!

10.   If you could give $10,000 to a charity, what would that charity be and why?

Spirit Rock Meditation Center – so that more people can experience the wonderful experience of mindfulness and meditation.

11.  If you weren’t on the professional services career track, what would you be doing?
Travel writing

12.  What is the path that led you to Professional Services/Consulting?

One of my majors in college was Accounting. I did an audit internship while in school and realized I did not want to go that route. So I interviewed with the Big 6 (at the time, there were 6) for their consulting practices. I ended up at Ernst & Young as a consultant, was put on a Baan project. I did a stint in pre-sales for a couple of years but found Professional Services to be more challenging, so I went back.

13.  What advice would you give to a recent graduate who just took a job in professional services?

Find a good mentor and ask all the questions that pop up into your head. Pay attention to both the good and not-so-good consultants and project managers to learn what to do and what not to do. Really get to know your clients; that makes working with them so much more enjoyable, smooth, and satisfying.