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Where are the women CIOs? Three speak out

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | July 25, 2012
The number of female CIOs in the U.S. continues to decline. How important is mentoring - and have you mentored any female IT executives?

TD: Sponsors and mentors matter. Find people who are willing to sponsor you for advancements and mentor you by giving you great advice that can help you grow. I mentor both males and females. There are some female specific mentoring programs that I'm involved with such as Sysco's women mentoring groups and the Women in Foodservice Forum. I'm open to mentoring anyone as long as I can dedicate the time to spend with them.

SR: I have taught at CHIME, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, which hosts a CIO boot camp twice a year, and I absolutely loved it. It's a very heads-down, heavy-duty emersion for three solid days and nights with people who wish to become CIOs. I've also mentored a number of people who were students. I mentor at least two people every year men as well as women - for six months at a time, as part of a Hopkins leadership program, which is very rewarding.

HC: I have mentored both men and women during my career. Many of these people have moved on to very successful positions. I have always been in industries with more men in technology, but have had the privilege of working with some great women. One success story I can think of is Allison Young, who is now an SVP at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. Any final thoughts regarding what women - and men - CIOs can do to encourage young women to become CIOs?

HC: I think that while it is great for women to mentor other women one on one, it is important to expand beyond this. It needs to start in our grade schools and continue through high school.

Successful women should look at encouraging young girls to view technology as an exciting career and a place they can make a real difference. This goes beyond just encouraging girls to study math and science, it is to encourage young girls to be interested in business and telling them they have opportunities that are endless.

Women should explain that technology is not just 'programming.' It is about making a difference in organizations that can in turn make a difference in the world.


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