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Evergreen’s Long Game: Divya Konuru


Divya Konuru

Tell me about your upbringing and how it informs how you thought about your career?

“My parents decided to leave India and move our family to the US when I was 11 years old. Though the transition was tough, they wanted to provide the best life they could for me and my sister. I saw how hard they worked and the choices they made for us. So, from a very young age, I knew that having a successful career was very important to me. Over the years, my definition of success changed, but the influences of my upbringing remain: economic independence, being able to take pride in my work, having purpose/meaning behind what I do and always challenging myself.”

You were a long game for us here at Evergreen, why did you join Evergreen?

“I was at a point in my career when I felt ready for P&L ownership and looking for a company that was the right cultural fit. For that, I was looking for a place with extremely bright people combined with a culture of collaboration, accountability and support. With Evergreen, I found that along with the opportunity for P&L ownership. Also, with the long game, I felt comfortable joining EG because every single person I spoke to, I liked. I probably spoke with 10+ people over the course of the year and I enjoyed my time with each one.”

How has your experience at Evergreen helped you grow?

“I have never worked in Private Equity before. I feel fortunate that Evergreen was my introduction to it with its unique model and philosophy, which I very much believe in. So that’s definitely an area in which I’ve grown in terms of learning how the EG approach is put into action with our OpCos. The other area in which I’ve grown is really owning my leadership style. I used to feel like there was one way to be a “good” leader and I had to assess against that archetype and fill the gaps. In my time here, through the mentorship that I received, I realized that the way for me to be the best leader is to lead with the qualities that are natural/authentic to me while staying focused on the outcomes I want to drive.”

What has surprised you most in these early days?

“The level of empowerment that is given to folks with varying levels of experience and how much EG honors this was a big (very positive) surprise for me. Seeing how my colleagues take that responsibility and turn into exceptional results continues to be inspiring.”

What has your experience been as an executive in residence?

“I am an Exec-in-residence (EIR) but also the interim chief of staff at Evergreen. So far, my work has been largely in the chief of staff role, which requires mobilizing folks across our portfolio to get key initiatives executed. As far as my EIR path, I’ve focused primarily on setting myself up for success in a P&L role. There’s a lot to soak in and the team around me has been generous with their time as I get up to speed. I’m learning how our existing P&L owners lead their teams, how they have grown in the last few years and digging deeper into the P&L drivers of the industries we play in. I’m also getting first hand experience in EG operational practices around strategy, vision, goal setting, quarterly planning and mobilizing teams to solve our biggest challenges.”

You’re a mom! Tell me about what that experience has been like with Evergreen?

“It has been great. People welcome hearing about me being a mom, which I really love. I have been in places where women felt like they could not bring their full selves to their work and I don’t feel that here. Being a mom is a big part of who I am and I am able to own that. As a mom, you are constantly juggling a lot but I feel like I can balance that with my work here as a result of the supportive environment.

What are you most excited about going forward?

“I am so excited to match with an OpCo and own a P&L! I am excited to grow in new and exciting (and probably, at times, terrifying) ways.

Outside of that, I’m most excited to see my son’s personality taking shape. He is so rapidly growing in every way and expressing himself more each day. It is so exciting to see an 18 month old start to grow into his personality!”

What has been the most impactful experience in your career thus far?

“The moment that was most impactful for me, in retrospect, was one of the hardest moments as well. At one point in my career, I was in an unfulfilling job; I realized that I had to leave and take some time before I looked for something else. I was afraid of making a reactive move, out of fear, and ending up in a similar situation again. But until that time I never had any sort of break between jobs without something else lined up. It started out as a deeply scary and unsettling experience. I had to dig deep to identify the areas I excelled in, the areas in which I wanted to grow and the types of companies I wanted to work for. I employed a structured search approach and networked with over 60 people before choosing my next opportunity. That opportunity was transformative for me and was worth the six weeks of soul searching and betting on myself. It ultimately set me up for this Interim CoS/EIR role.”