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Levent Barlas

Drawn to Pitcher Partners for the positive culture and appreciation for balance, Levent shares his career journey and how a healthy risk appetite has lead him to where he is today.

I started at Pitcher Partners in 2014 as a Client Director under Rob McKie at a time where the IT consulting team merged with business consulting and Rob was Partner in Charge of the merged teams. I came to Pitcher Partners after working in the digital payment sector for a while, consulting felt like a great way to experience working across different industries. I’d heard good things about the firm culture, coming from a 70-80 hour work week expectation I got the sense there was more of an appreciation for balance at Pitcher Partners.

They certainly delivered, the firm brand is built on relationships and during my time the culture and general vibe was a big part of what helped me to enjoy my work.

My role at the firm saw me doing predominantly business development and sales focussed work, and operating in an industry that was new to me helped me to become more comfortable with uncertainty. This has really helped me grow professionally and been a key factor in some of the professional choices I have made. I recognise that coming from a background outside of consulting, the role was going to be a challenge. The trust and mentorship of Rob and the team built the foundations for where I am today.

I left the firm in 2017 to buy into a new business in the digital payments sector and am now the MD of the business’s Asia Pacific arm. A pretty risky thing to do when at the time my wife was pregnant and staying in a secure job would be the sensible thing to do! Quitting a paying job to start something on your own while wife pregnant is scary but learning from the Pitcher Partners team and working with Rob built my confidence and honed my sales and business development skills. Prior to Pitcher Partners I had done some sales but Pitcher Partners really threw me into the deep end and I learned the importance of building relationships and leveraging the knowledge of the team to find new opportunities and close sales. Something particularly memorable is the way the team’s collective expertise bought in some new clients. Myself, Manny Vassal and Martin Koval and the other rest of the team, we had a good time while building a client base to be proud of.

Of course Rob was an incredible mentor and knowing he’d been where I was, and had done my job, just having the discipline to listen and understand what he’s talking about taught me so much that I now use in my career on a regular basis. Manny has also taught me a lot, I learnt from him to take a step back and think strategically big picture, rather than get stuck in detail. Manny has a way of bringing together the right people, the right skills and collaborating to emulate that strategy in all the work he does.

From a personal perspective, my daughter was born 2 weeks after finishing at Pitcher Partners. In retrospect the new business has done well but it could have gone either way! That confidence from the successes at Pitcher Partners with the team gave me the boost to really dive into this new role despite the uncertainties in the new role. Many of these Pitcher Partners team members are now friends and I still see them socially which is great.

Looking to the future I’m excited for the growth in the business I am now part owner of, it had a rocky start but it’s built into a strong middle and I’m confident in our next phase.

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