Senior Vice President, IT Management
Tell me a little bit about where you attended school and your work history.
I went to the University of Minnesota where I majored in Women’s Studies. After school I expected to pursue a career in human or health services. A series of opportunities led me on a different path. Technology was fascinating and rapidly evolving at the time. I decided to pursue technical certifications, and held several roles including network design consultant, field engineer, Microsoft and Novell technical instructor, and technical writer.
How did you start your career at Ascensus, and how long have you worked here?
After moving to Brainerd I was consulting, which in a small town was not always challenging. In 2003, I started as a technology site manager for BISYS and have been here for the past 15 years. Along the way, there have been so many opportunities to continue to evolve within Ascensus as we’ve grown and changed as an organization; I’ve been fortunate to work in nearly every aspect of IT.
What made you interested in pursuing a career in technology?
In college I worked at an IT help desk; it paid well and was flexible. I didn’t think it was going to be my career. Timing was perfect – seeing the rapid advancement in the adoption of technology to change business process and service delivery for both large and small organizations – it was an exciting time and I wanted to be a part of it.
What makes working on the IT team at Ascensus different or unique?
Tremendous growth and investment in technology provides for exciting opportunities, which makes Ascensus an attractive company for people wanting to grow in their careers. We have consistently been an IT organization that values everyone’s input and allows for creativity and risk taking.
Looking back five or ten years, what career advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to be open minded and take more risks. Get comfortable being uncomfortable, because this is where the exciting opportunities exist.
In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge women face in the technology industry?
Statistics highlight the challenges for women in technology; women hold roughly 25% of tech jobs overall and about 10% of executive IT leadership positions. Having said that, throughout my career I’ve seen positive changes in the experience for women, with more advancement opportunities and a changing work environment that provides more flexibility, which I’m hopeful will steer more women toward a career in technology.
Are there any current technology trends that emerging technologists need to know about?
Narrowly focused AI leveraged for specific tasks is in play for our industry today. It will be very interesting to see a broader application of AI solutions and how this changes the customer experience.
The other area to watch is around Blockchain technology and the practical application across various industries. It will be interesting to see how this could reduce inefficiencies especially in the financial marketplace. Though not new, the practical application and adoption is in very early stages.
Who is your biggest role model and how did they inspire you?
I’ve been blessed with a lot of great role models, but the most influential is my father. He is a great success story and has never let it change who he is or how he treats people. He taught by example the value of hard work, and understanding when to sacrifice, and when not to, to move forward.
What kind of projects do you work on?
I work closely with the Corporate M&A and Integration teams to support various acquisition and integration activities. We are also developing and executing an IT roadmap to support our growing lines of business to scale and fully leverage available corporate services.