CIO leadership: Two female role models


Image from Istockphoto

In part one of my conversation with Kim Stevenson and Adriana Karaboutis, we discussed the challenges and opportunities facing women in technology

Also read:

Women in technology: Advice from Intel and Biogen

This second post offers advice from Andi and Kim on how CIOs can add value to their organizations. Both women have years of CIO experience; Kim was CIO at Intel and Andi worked in that role at Dell. Having been in the role and then left to take on business positions, they are each highly qualified to offer advice to CIOs.


Kim is currently Chief Operating Officer for the Client, IoT and System Architecture Group at Intel and Adriana is Executive Vice President Technology, Business Solutions & Corporate Affairs at Biogen. Both women are on the boards of public companies.

Once a CIO, always a CIO.

— Kim Stevenson, Intel

Among the themes we discussed, understanding the business and being able to communicate well are primary qualifications of a modern CIO. While perhaps an obvious point, there are degrees of sophistication and subtlety regarding understanding how the business operates, why leaders make decisions, and possessing the judgment to balance trade-offs among conflicting goals and objectives.

CIOs are in a unique position to understand and collaborate with the business. Unlike colleagues in other departments, IT possesses a horizontal view that goes across virtually all areas of a company. Because all departments rely on shared resources and services, such as infrastructure and security, IT typically has relationships across every part of the company.

“Seat at the table” is code for understanding the business: objectives, mission, and enablers.

— Adriana Karaboutis, Biogen

This unique, cross-sectional view creates the opportunity for CIOs to develop a unique understanding of how all parts of the business fit together.

The video embedded above offers a view inside the minds of two successful business people who held CIO positions earlier in their careers. The have fought the battles and paid their dues.

This conversation was pulled from episode 199 of CXOTALK, which has perhaps the largest library of executive interviews on digital disruption anywhere. You can also watch the complete 45-minute conversation and read a full transcript.

Please see the list of upcoming CXOTALK episodes. Thank you to my colleague, Lisbeth Shaw, for assistance with this post.

(Cross-posted @ ZDNet | Beyond IT Failure Blog)

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Well-known expert on why IT projects fail, CEO of Asuret, a Brookline, MA consultancy that uses specialized tools to measure and detect potential vulnerabilities in projects, programs, and initiatives. Also a popular and prolific blogger, writing the IT Project Failures blog for ZDNet. Frequently quoted by the press on topics related to IT management.