Get to know the Premier 100 Class of 2017

The annual Computerworld Premier 100 awards shine a spotlight on individuals who have had a positive impact on their organization through technology.

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Julie Schlabach

Julie Schlabach

Title
Senior director, Emerging Technology Services

Employer
Cerner

Location
North Kansas City, Mo.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
We invited our summer interns to present to the leadership team on their accomplishments and provide feedback for future internships. We are making improvements based on their guidance.

Personal leadership style?
My focus is on making an investment in people. Everyone matters to the organization, and their work is appreciated. I encourage a focus on education and mentoring. For example, when I was at a recent population health conference, I took notes for my team and shared them with associates working at all levels when I returned.

How do you evaluate emerging technologies?
It’s about needs and gaps — and we base it on evaluations, then prepare a proof of concept. If the POC works, we write a business case for leadership review.

How have you created work/life balance?
When I am at home, I am at home. When I am at work, I am at work. I try to be present wherever I am. We also have a rotation for being on-call, which helps everyone. I encourage my teams to take time to find balance.

Glenn Schneider

Glenn Schneider

Title
Executive vice president and CIO

Employer
Discover Financial Services

Location
Riverwoods, Ill.

Coolest current project:
Using real-time operational analytics combined with streaming and historical data to derive actionable insights such as timely fraud decisions. The project is using next-generation machine-learning tools and data streaming architecture and incorporates customer, transactional, social and external data.

An innovative staff idea:
An employee suggested developing a credit card feature to allow customers to freeze and unfreeze their accounts in seconds using an on/off switch in our mobile app or website. Thus, Freeze It was born, giving customers more control over their accounts and another tool to help reduce fraud.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
We have found that paired programming has helped to transfer specialized skills across developers while delivering code efficiently and at a higher quality.

New titles in your IT organization:
Chief data officer and technology risk officer.

Personal leadership style?
We are looking to expand our advanced analytics talent (data scientists), cloud developer skills and agile coaching capabilities through a combination of training and external hires.

How do you find time to innovate?
Our company was founded on the principle of innovation; it’s in our DNA. Our leadership cultivates and nurtures the environment to focus on “progress over perfection” and provide the option to “fail fast” — encouraging an agile and test-driven approach to innovation.

Lori S. Scott

Lori S. Scott

Title
CIO

Employer
NatureServe

Location
Arlington, Va.

Coolest current project:
Developing a global dashboard for monitoring the status and trends of biodiversity to guide new conservation investments.

An innovative staff idea:
A team took a one-off product and turned it into a new software-as-a-service product line by creating a configurable Drupal module with integrated GIS for online environmental reviews.

New titles in your IT organization:
Enterprise architect

Skills you’ll hire for:
We’ll train existing staffers in cybersecurity, SharePoint, user interface and responsive design.

Carlos Selonke

Carlos Selonke

Title
Head of platform strategy and enterprise architecture

Employer
Santander US

Location
Dorchester, Mass.

Career highlight:
We’re all part of a global economy, and it’s been a fascinating experience for me to work for a global financial services company. Santander US is part of Santander Group, which serves more than 100 million customers in the U.K., Latin America, Europe and the U.S. This gives me an opportunity to work on local and global projects with people from different cultures and with different ways of working.

What emerging tech has captured your interest?
Digital currencies, or cryptocurrencies, are of utmost importance to nations and the entire global banking system. So in that light, I have to mention bitcoin and similar efforts. But possibly even more important is blockchain, the underlying technology for managing a secure distributed ledger.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
Technology will be so pervasive that the role of IT will change profoundly, and the role of CIO as we know it will be obsolete.

Biggest tech disappointment?
Battery technology still has a long way to go. We need to do better — an order of magnitude better. There has been lots of great progress to be sure, especially in visible areas like electric cars. But across the board, the need is palpable.

John W. Showalter

John W. Showalter

Title
Chief health information officer

Employer
University of Mississippi Medical Center

Location
Jackson, Miss.

Coolest current project:
Combining real-time natural language process with predictive analytics to encourage clinicians to take actions that will prevent illness. We are working with two cloud vendors to combine their technology inside our electronic health records system.

Personal leadership style?
I have high expectations for my teams. I encourage independence and accountability while creating a greenfield environment for them to execute our vision. Failure is tolerated, because it is needed for innovative ideas to flourish.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
We are moving increasingly to cloud-based partners. The most advanced analytics are coming from startups and young companies, so we are beginning to participate in development relationships and have started working with Silicon Valley incubators.

How do you find time to innovate?
Innovation is core to our work. Tolerating failure and finding new ways to apply technology is necessary for health systems to remain financially viable and improve outcomes. I encourage my team members to bring new ideas forward.

How are you working with startups?
We have partnered with Plug and Play to identify startups to work with. We then mentor the companies while they are in the incubator. The companies that best meet our needs are offered development deals. We are starting a 24-month health IT accelerator program.

Read Showalter's full profile.

Shane Snider

Shane Snider

Title
Executive vice president, IT and customer care

Employer
SkillPath Seminars

Location
Mission, Kan.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
Staying connected to younger workers offers insights into our future customer base. Scheduling and location (work-from-anywhere) flexibility, using personal devices and interacting via social media apps in addition to face-to-face meetings are all standard fare to them and can be for others.

What’s the most important task you’ve delegated this year?
I tasked my vice president of IT with our Salesforce implementation and ongoing support. He has led a cross-department oversight team and end-user adoption testing and worked with our consulting company for customizations.

Fast ROI project:
The acquisition of National Seminars changed that organization into a profitable brand in a few months because of the economies of scale and cost savings that the combined, larger company created.

Scott Spradley

Scott Spradley

Title
CIO and senior vice president

Employer
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Location
Palo Alto, Calif.

How are you using reverse-mentoring?
Recent college graduates are using unconventional technologies that are often open source or freeware, and they’re getting the same scalability and stability that many traditional platforms offer. These young people share new models, new use cases and, importantly, new desires and expectations in the use of enabling technologies.

Boldest prediction for the next 5 years:
CIOs will largely become service brokers, and data centers as we know them are likely to change dramatically due to Moore’s Law, the advancement of cloud technologies and cost scaling.

Personal leadership style?
I am true believer in transparency in communications, in empowering our people to take risks and ensuring that leaders and managers are just that — people who remember that they are critical in developing the people that they lead and manage because this is what drives innovation, morale and productivity. Finally, I strive for a high say-to-do ratio; meaning that we achieve the outcomes we said we would.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
We’ve become more focused on the consolidated cost and utilization of our purchased services. At the same time, we’ve become more strategically aligned with our business regarding the services we need to evaluate and purchase, which has allowed us to keep pace with the completed divestiture of HP Inc. and the planning and execution of two pending divestitures (HPE Enterprise Services and HPE Software).

Sanjay Srinivasan

Sanjay Srinivasan

Title
Vice president and chief architect

Employer
Vonage

Location
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Career highlight:
Learning in 2016, through LinkedIn, that a patent I filed in 2000 was granted in 2005.

Coolest current project:
Being a STEM mentor for middle and high school students. I have been a programming mentor for a number of robotics teams and involved with Zero Robotics (think programming mini-satellites floating in the International Space Station).

Personal leadership style?
I’m a mentor rather than a boss. I strive to be collaborative rather than dictating edicts.

Suresh Srinivasan

Suresh Srinivasan

Title
CTO

Employer
NYU Langone Medical Center

Location
New York

'Coolest current project:
MyWall. In each room, patients will have a 75-in. monitor and a companion tablet that will provide educational content, entertainment (including Netflix and Hulu), communication capabilities (like Skype and chat), a meal ordering tool, a special gaming system for pediatric patients, and many more sophisticated features. We have selected a platform vendor and are in the process of innovating on the core. The final implementation is due in January 2018.

Personal leadership style?
Servant leadership. My focus is how each person can be successful both professionally and personally, and which coaching and mentoring strategies I can harness to develop my staff and unleash their potential.

How do you find time to innovate?
I serve on a few healthcare advisory boards and have periodic meetings with CTOs at large vendors to understand their product strategies, which I leverage for innovation. I also identify small startups through research and referrals to bring in to generate innovative ideas. Every six months, I open up an innovation campaign for 30 days, and anyone within the organization can post ideas and develop a proposal in the area of business process, infrastructure, clinical applications or mobility. A board of governors consisting of clinicians and IT leaders helps select five proposals that receive initial funding up to $10,000. Once funded, these projects are carefully monitored for progress and offered additional help if needed. Currently we have about 20 projects in flight.'

Tom Stafford

Tom Stafford

Title
Vice president and CIO

Employer
Halifax Health

Location
Daytona Beach, Fla.

An innovative staff idea:
A healthcare information system that sends alerts to our Vocera clinical communication system, instantly received by caregivers either on their Vocera badge or the Vocera app on their smartphone.

Personal leadership style?
I’m only as effective as my teams. Therefore, I spend a lot of my time talking to them about what they are doing and how it assists IT in meeting our objectives. In addition to this, I’m accessible, visible, approachable and consistent.

How has your vendor management strategy changed in the past few years?
IT has vendors and partners. We focus on partners. Partners understand our mission as a community-based, not-for-profit hospital. They assist us in making their applications and systems meet our needs.

How have you created work/life balance?
I empower all team members to manage their work and schedules. Everything we do focuses on IT’s objectives and has to provide value to the organization.

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