Find your voice, a mentor, and be bold

The week started with #Oprah2020 trending on Twitter. If you missed Oprah’s inspirational speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday night you can find it on YouTube. Who doesn’t love Oprah? But, should we canstockphoto13471338 (002) mentorelect another president who lacks government experience?

But these aren’t the questions I want to address. A Slate article by Dahlia Lithwick got my attention on Monday. She said the real message of Oprah’s speech wasn’t about her but about us. Do we feel empowered enough to act. She focused on women running for office at all levels. And that led me to think more about empowerment.

While that buzz was happening on Monday, I was in a daylong meeting with a small group of women leaders from various industries. We had been brought together by the first female president of a large, national organization to discuss the challenges women in leadership face. It was an insightful discussion as stories were shared, dissected, and analyzed.

As I bring this back to health IT, I’m not going to rehash the stories and lessons from my experience as a female IT leader over the years. I’ve shared some of them in previous posts. Rather, I want to again encourage you to take steps to own your career and find ways to develop yourself. Find your voice and speak up. Find the mentors you need to help you. And be bold.

HIMSS18 is less than 2 months away. To get the most out of the annual conference you need to make choices and plan your time there carefully. There are many ways to invest in “you” while there, including education and networking.

I’ve had the opportunity to present at many previous HIMSS conferences on a range of topics. This year, I was asked to support the Career Fair and the Women in HIT sessions. I’m committed to developing the next generation of leaders, so I gladly said yes! Continue reading

Tech is king and soft skills matter

These are just two of the key findings of the recently published, “LinkedIn 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report”. Not at all surprising. The report is worth checking out regardless of where you are at in your canstock 121417 tech is king and soft skills mattercareer. As I always tell people, be open to the possibilities.

The report notes the estimate that 65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately hold jobs that don’t yet exist. Just think back to what your options were when you started primary school.

I know as a young girl in the 60’s, it seemed like teacher or nurse were the options. My sister did become a nurse and then went on to get a master’s degree in public health. By the time she retired a few years ago, she had run many of the state health departments in Minnesota at one time or another. I wanted to be a math teacher when I was young. Instead I found my path to computer programming in the early 80’s when the field was starting to really explode. Here I am today having served several healthcare organizations as their Chief Information Officer before starting a health IT advisory firm.

Back to the “tech is king” finding. The report says that the top emerging jobs are machine learning engineer, data scientist, and big data engineers in a wide range of industries.  It also notes that there are currently 1,600 open roles for machine learning engineer in the U.S.

The report also found that there is a low supply of talent for top jobs. For example, data scientist roles have grown over 650% in the past 5 years but only 35,000 people in the U.S. currently have data science skills. Any CIO looking to build out the analytics capability for their organization is probably all too aware of this gap. Continue reading

The silence breakers, long overdue

It’s been boiling for years, decades. It’s been in the headlines for months. This week Time Magazine recognized the enormity of this sea change and named the women they call “the silence breakers” as canstock120817 girl powerPerson of the Year. Women who have come forward and named the men who have sexually harassed and abused them. And Time did not forget those still too afraid to speak out.

I started a blog post a few weeks ago that I was going to call “I believe the women”.  But I was unsure how to approach the topic, and I set it aside and covered other subjects. I had commented on the topic when the Harvey Weinstein story was breaking in October in my post, “Time to support, not harass women”. This week, I  have decided to write about three unique programs that are committed to developing girls and women.

The sea change or watershed moment, as news commentators call it these days, is long overdue. And it is not over. It has just begun. There will be more women speaking out, more denials, and ultimately more men facing up to what they have done. More industries and sectors  will be affected, although Hollywood and politicians will be the most talked about stories.

Let’s advance this sea change by talking about ways to develop strong girls and women. Let’s provide them with every opportunity they deserve in a society that treats them equally and with respect.  Sticking with that theme, here are those three programs I mentioned:

Girls, Inc. is a national program which inspires all girls to be “strong, smart, and bold”. I recently learned about it at the CHIME Fall Forum in San Antonio. The Women of CHIME group hosted a session titled “Breaking Down Barriers and Paving the Way”. The program featured Lea Rosenauer, President and CEO of Girls Inc. of San Antonio. She discussed issues that prevent women from career advancement and suggested  strategies to get women into leadership roles. Continue reading

You need to own your own career

December brings the holidays and social time with co-workers, friends and family. It’s also a good time to take stock and reflect on your work and career. Two years ago at this time I planned my next chapter and canstock120117 careerdecided to leave a permanent CIO position. My two goals were to live where I wanted to live and have more flexibility in my career.

I talk with a lot of people at different stages of their career who are taking stock and trying to figure out their choices.

They may be in their 30’s, relatively young in their career, and thinking about the next right move and where that would position them for the long run.

Or, they may be someone in their 50’s or early 60’s and thinking about how long they want to work and the one final job change that might make the capstone to their career.

Or, they may be someone who has made the decision to “retire”, but not quite yet. They are considering what kind of work they still want to do, and how much.

For people in that last group, I ask them to think about 3 questions:

  • What do you want to do? After all, what you are good at and enjoy the most?
  • How much do you want to work?  If you’ve been working 60+ hours a week at a demanding job, it’s time to consider how much time you want for yourself, your family, your other passions and hobbies.
  • What do you need financially? There are 3 ways to look at it: continue at roughly the same income level and continue contributing to your retirement, make enough to live on but not contribute any further to retirement, or start drawing on your retirement savings.

Until you ask and answer these important questions, it’s hard to make a solid plan.

For people younger in their career, these questions still apply. But there are others: Continue reading

Time to support, not harass women

With the latest sexual harassment and abuse stories in the news, I am reminded once again how important it is for women to speak up. We need to encourage women and girls to pursue their dreams, canstockphoto13989561and support them when they face obstacles.

Like other women leaders, I try to be a role model for young women in all that I say and do. I try to speak up and take on the tough issues that women face in the work world. I encourage young women to figure out who is on their “team you”. And most importantly, I tell them not to put up with crap, from anyone.

I have written many posts over the past few years on women and work and done several talks focused on encouraging and developing women.

Here are some of those posts that you might find useful and maybe even inspiring these days:

Yes we can: women in health IT

Powerful women and their path to success

Investing in the success of others

Equal pay, who can argue?

#ILookLikeAnEngineer

Balancing career and family

I challenge you to look at your own practices and ensure you are doing all you can to support women in your organization so they are comfortable speaking up, able to overcome obstacles they face, and can actually thrive and advance.

Thinking about relocating?

“My spouse won’t move.” You may have heard this if you have ever hired someone who would need to relocate their family. You may have even heard it after you extended the offer. If it happens that late in thecanstockphoto49324635 process, it may be just an easy excuse because they weren’t going to accept the position anyway.

Whether your spouse and family are willing to relocate to a particular city is something that should be discussed and agreed on together very early in the process. Why waste everyone’s time if it’s not going to work.

Relocating is a big decision. I’ve done it several times. And each time, my husband and I discussed it early on. Was this a part of the country we were willing to live in? Was this city one that we’d be happy in? What did the housing market look like? These are just some of the considerations.

If you are early in your career, you probably want to figure out what kind of future opportunities are in that area, is it family friendly, are there good schools, and can you afford to buy a house. If you are later in your career, you may think of your next move in terms of where you might want to eventually retire or living closer to your grandkids.

Regardless of where you are in your career, there are some common considerations. Assuming it’s a job you really want and an organization you really want to work for, here is my advice on what to consider when relocating: Continue reading

Island adventures

This is not about a fabulous vacation on some distant island.

This is another version of “adventures in a new city”. That’s what my husband and I have called my interim CIO engagements.Sunset on LI

This time “our adventure in a new city” was on Long Island. It was more my adventure than my interim in Cleveland last year; my husband spent more time with me there. We did have two weekends together on Long Island: one in the Big Apple and one to enjoy the island in the summer.

The weekend in NYC was what you’d expect – great restaurants, museums, the subway and a lot of walking. On Long Island, we visited the wineries on the north fork and went to the beach on the south shore. We got more ideas for our garden after a walking tour of gardens and landscapes in Port Jefferson. It made me want to spend more time here and, who knows, with a ferry between New London, Connecticut and Orient, New York, we just may do that.

The island is 118 miles long – the longest and largest island in the contiguous United States. Suffolk County makes up the eastern 2/3 of the island. I learned the history of Long Island’s growth and eastward expansion over the past 50 years and how Stony Brook Medicine fits into that growth, providing quaternary and tertiary care to Suffolk County. Continue reading

10 tips for next generation leaders

I recently had the opportunity to do a talk as part of a Women in Leadership lecture series. The title of the talk was “Yes We Can – Developing Next Generation Leaders”. I covered leadership lessons from my canstockphoto23302155many years of experience, the challenges for women in STEM, and general career advice. The group had a lot of great questions and comments from their experience, so it was a lively and interactive session.

Regardless of gender, if you are a leader or future leader, these tips may be useful to you.

Find a mentor –  You can’t do it yourself. Find someone you consider a role model and who is willing to invest some time and energy in helping you develop.

Let go and be willing to delegate – If you try to do it all yourself, you won’t develop others nor have time to do the work that allows you to grow.

Give up on perfectionism – It is the enemy of good. It wastes time and keeps you from doing other work.

Ask for feedback – Take off the blinders and ask for honest feedback from your staff, your boss, your peers, and your customers. What should you start doing, stop doing and continue doing.

Consider everything a learning opportunity – Remember that you can learn from every experience. Whether it is a new skill, knowledge or lesson on how to improve for next time. Continue reading

Family support systems: priceless

I am regularly reminded how much young working couples with children need family support systems. Even with the new more flexible work arrangements and the ability to work from home occasionally or on canstockphoto43984614a permanent basis, working parents need help from time to time.

We have four young working parents in our family. They balance the demands of their jobs and raising young children. That’s my two daughters and our sons-in-law or as my husband called them on Father’s Day, “active duty dads”. And he of course is an “active duty grandpa” when needed.

My oldest daughter is a nurse practitioner who works three 12 hour shifts a week and a fourth shift one week a month. She has an hour plus drive each way to the hospital. She leaves the house before her 1-year-old and 2-year-old children are awake. She gets home in time for bath and bedtime stories.

On the days she works, my son-in-law gets the children up, dressed, fed and off to the day care center. He is a senior loan officer at a mortgage company with an office in downtown Boston. He takes the train in and out and works from home a few days a week. Continue reading

Next chapter, another page

A month ago, I started a new interim CIO engagement. This time I am serving Stony Brook Medicine on Long Island in New York.  My last interim CIO position at University Hospitals in Cleveland ended in October. Since then, I have taken a break by design. When I started this new chapter, I wanted to work less than full time over the course of the year and have more flexibility in my life.

During this “break” period I wasn’t exactly idle though. I spent a lot of time doing start-up work for my new health IT advisory firm, StarBridge Advisors. And of course, I’ve spent plenty of time with my family, especially my four grandkids. My husband of 40+ years and I have had fun seeing each other so much but if you ask him, he’d say he was ready for me to be gone several days a week! He loves his quiet time and having the house to himself for a while.

This opportunity at Stony Brook Medicine brings a new set of challenges, but also many familiar ones I’ve seen before as a veteran healthcare CIO. Continue reading