Title: Senior Director of IT
Company: Core & Main
Education: Bachelor’s degree in managerial studies from Rice University, master’s degree in human resource management from Rollins College Hamilton Holt School
Organizational Affiliations: University of Central Florida (UCF) mentor, member of Women in Science & Engineering
Achievements/Awards: Leadership Orlando, Class of '84
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
I was in the right place at the right time. I had to take an engineering class at Rice, so I selected two computer science classes and enjoyed them. When I entered the workforce, I was equipped with more knowledge of tools and capabilities. My small company went through a “reengineering the corporation” process (an early ’90s equivalent of today’s “digital transformation”) — I became the analyst and was later assigned as the manager who led that effort. We implemented Oracle Financials and PeopleSoft HR/Payroll to automate the order-to-cash cycle for a temporary staffing firm. Fun!
What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Prickly, proactive, and providential. I’ve never been comfortable in my roles because I’ve always self-managed, and that requires constant learning, diligence, and second-guessing. That’s the prickly. The other two speak for themselves, I hope.
What is your personal mantra?
You create your own reality.
Describe the highest point in your career so far and how you got there, including all the hurdles you had to jump (and the ones you tripped over too).
I’d like to believe this is my highest point so far. I’m excited to lead an amazing IT team through ever-increasing customer demands. The biggest hurdles in my career were probably self-made insecurities and lack of leveraging my network. As I learned to harness courage and colleagues, I became more effective in both daily and strategic enablement.
What is your most admirable quality?
I hope humility, but I’m not sure I could claim that. I can confidently claim integrity though!
What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
Better shared language differentiating software engineering from computer science. As I’ve watched the accounting and finance functions of organizations mature, I’ve seen the ability to interact more effectively with other business functions improve as the general public understand their distinctions better. I think we in “information technology” cover a wide horizon, and helping our business partners and stakeholders understand the landscape will help us in every aspect of strategy and execution.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
Star Wars. Why not?
What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
Hire good people. My husband and I ran a business for five years while our children were little, and we were not proactive enough in finding good people to contribute to our success. I’ve “always known” how to source and identify great contributors in the corporate world, but the lessons I learned during those years has directly impacted my interpretation of how to share the journey with more contributors to drive greater outcomes. Thinking like a startup in the corporate world is the gift I carry with me from those years.
What three adjectives come to mind when you think about the future?
Simple, ambitious, and disciplined.