CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 16

Why did you decide to major in business
in college at a time when it was rare for
women to take that career path?

the gross domestic product of the United States. If you

I was one of only three women in the University of West

are going to get filled. They're just going to get filled in

Georgia's school of business in the late 1970s, and it

another country. We have to get more women excited

really happened by accident. I was working three jobs

about IT so that this vital and well-paid work does not

and putting myself through undergraduate school when

go offshore.

one of the professors advertised that he would pay $5.00
per hour for help with a market research study. That was
three times what I was making in other jobs, and I was
lucky - no one else even applied. The professor, Walter

look at the jobs that are the fastest growing and the best
paid, they're all either in the medical field or IT. Women
are going into the medical field, but not IT. These jobs

You started working in IT at a senior
position without having any IT
experience. How did that happen?

Wood, had patented the idea for frozen orange juice
concentrate. I worked with him in mining large volumes

I had been serving as the assistant to the CEO, and he

of data to find trends and patterns. It turned out I was

asked if I would take a position as a regional CIO at one

really good at that, and he suggested I get a business

of our operating companies. I thought, "I'm not qualified

degree. I said, "I don't really know anything about

for that job," but I did not know how to say no to him.

business. Nobody in my family has been in business."

I took the job and really felt like a fish out of water for

But I took a couple of business classes and got hooked.

about six months. One of the things I write about in the

I think it's very hard to be something you've never

book is that a comfort zone is a very dangerous place to

seen. For example, most women don't even think about

be. It's where we all want to be because that's where we

going into IT, because they don't know anyone who

feel safe and valued and appreciated. But if you want

works in this field and so they don't have a mentor or

to reach your full potential, you've got to be willing

role model. Several recent studies cite this as a major

to step outside that comfort zone on a pretty regular

reason we are not seeing young women pursue degrees

basis. If you're not willing to put yourself out there and

or work in this field.

fail, you're never going to learn and get the experience

If you look at the number of women who have entered
the workforce since 1970, we've added 25 percent to

that qualifies you for the next job. The most important
learning we get is through on-the-job experience. I was

" A comfort zone is a very dangerous place to be. It's where we all want
to be because that's where we feel safe and valued and appreciated. But
if you want to reach your full potential, you've got to be willing to step
outside that comfort zone on a pretty regular basis. "

CIO Straight Talk | 16



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6

Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Cover1
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 3
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 4
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 5
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 6
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 7
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 8
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 9
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 10
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 11
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CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - InsertA
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 67
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - InsertB
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 68
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CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Cover3
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Cover4
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