How I got here

  • How I got here: Gary Kuyper, CIO, Bethany Christian Services

    Posted July 18, 2011 - 2:23 pm

    As a people person, Gary Kuyper has found his niche at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Bethany Christian Services, the country’s largest adoption agency. As CIO, he’s been able to live his service leadership mission, building relationships and helping others develop to their highest capabilities along the way. Kuyper shares his journey and career beliefs in this interview.
  • How I Got Here: Kathleen Healy-Collier, Administrative Director-Clinical Systems, Technology and Operations, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

    Posted June 23, 2011 - 6:55 pm

    Impassioned by personal experience and imbued with a go-for-broke mentality, Kathleen Healy-Collier, administrative director of clinical systems, technology and operations at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, is a woman who knows what she wants. And what Healy-Collier wants, with deep-rooted conviction, is excellence in children's healthcare and seamless transition for young patients with chronic illness into the world of adult care. Her quest has taken her into the realm of healthcare IT, a critical steppingstone, she feels, to her ultimate goal of heading a children's hospital. Healy-Collier shares her ambitions in this interview.
  • How I Got Here: Mike Rosello, Senior Technology Executive, Retail Services business, Alliance Data Corp.

    Posted January 6, 2011 - 3:28 pm

    Mike Rosello, Senior Technology Executive, Retail Services business of Alliance Data Corp. has been successful in growing his career into his current position. Along the way, he's had plenty of opportunities and fascinating experiences. He shares some of his journey in this interview.
  • How I Got Here: Nicole Nitowski, Senior Director, Association of American Medical Colleges

    Posted November 18, 2010 - 9:17 pm

    Nicole Nitowski, Senior Director of the Project Management Office at the Association of American Medical Colleges has never let anything stand in her way. Leveraging the CIO Executive Council's Pathways program, she was able to become part of an all-women mentor group. Starting out in biology but moving quickly to healthcare information technology, Nicole never turned down an opportunity to challenge herself.
  • How I Got Here: John Janakiraman, CTO, Skytap

    Posted July 7, 2010 - 10:38 pm

    From his hometown in Chennai, India, to school in the remote deserts of Rajasthan, to fast-paced sunny California, John Janakiraman has had a chance to see and experience some dramatically different landscapes and cultures first-hand over the course of his own career path. The biggest difference between attending school at the edge of the inhospitable Great Indian Desert, and Los Angeles, wasn't the culture, the available technology, or even the languages, though, John says the biggest difference was the food!
  • How I Got Here: Steven Savage, Project Manager, Powered By Gamespy

    Posted July 7, 2010 - 10:11 pm

    Steven Savage, armed with a fresh degree in psychology, got out of college and saw a struggling economy and went to work right away at Wendy's -- not the traditional career choice of a college grad, but one that is increasingly common in times of high unemployment. But that psychology degree proved useful in a short period of time. Computing had always been a hobby, and re-training himself to be a programmer was easy, due to the research and analytical skills he had already acquired in college. He never became a psychologist, but his studies in that field proved to be enormously useful in his new information technology career.
  • How I Got Here: Venkat Rangan, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Clearwell Systems

    Posted July 7, 2010 - 9:37 pm

    Venkat found success right out of the gate with some high-profile dotcom companies, and says that maintaining good connections with people throughout your career is the key to continuing advancement. Through the years, he's seen it all and from two countries -- and has gained some fascinating insights into advancing up the career ladder, creating an entrepreneurial company, and being an early pioneer in developing software solutions for electronic discovery.
  • How I Got Here: Carol Carr, Director of Change Management, Direct Energy

    Posted July 7, 2010 - 9:04 pm

    Carol Carr, Director of Change Management at Direct Energy, knows the value of mentoring programs. Already having embarked on a solid career path with the Big Four accounting firms and then moving to Direct Energy, she learned about the Pathways program, developed by the CIO Executive Council, through Direct Energy's own CIO. The program is designed to encourage professional development in several areas, focusing specifically on leadership, business, and technology; and it starts with a self- and peer-assessment that helps you identify your strengths and opportunities.
  • How I Got Here: Anne Marie Schar, Director of Technology, Mid-Peninsula High School

    Posted June 2, 2010 - 3:17 pm

    Anne Marie Schar went from being an English and History teacher, to being a network administrator. She found her current career path through a very unusual and lucky turn of events, first becoming a network admin in a school simply because she "knew where the 'on' switch was on the server."
  • How I Got Here: Scott Archibald, Managing Director, Bender Consulting

    Posted May 2, 2010 - 6:49 pm

    Scott Archibald has been with both big and small companies, and had the enormous responsibility for the IT infrastructure on the first day of the merger between HP and Compaq. Today he works with a more nimble, entrepreneurial company, where he enjoys tremendous variety -- with a new challenge every day.
  • How I Got Here: Paul Okura, owner, CMIT Solutions of Southern Westchester County

    Posted May 2, 2010 - 3:40 pm

    Is there any such thing as job stability in the investment banking world any more? Was there ever? The nature of the business is that it is constantly changing and evolving -- so there is no stability, and none is expected. Nonetheless, Paul Okura made an enjoyable career out of banking, until he decided to go in a completely different direction and purchase a CMIT franchise, launching his own company offering IT services and support. Moving from banking executive to franchise owner is a major change, but Paul has excelled at it, and now has a successful franchise, where he enjoys leveraging his expertise in so many areas to make a successful small business work.
  • How I Got Here: Harry Labana, CTO, Citrix Systems

    Posted April 16, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    Born into a culture with limited choices and high expectations, Harry Labana, CTO of Citrix Systems, found that the best way to succeed was to get away and find out who he really was. "Practice curiosity," he says. Harry doesn't believe in getting too comfortable in your career -- and when you get too comfortable, it's time to leave.
  • How I Got Here: Rick Treese, CTO,

    Posted April 12, 2010 - 11:42 am

    Rick Treese, Chief Technology Officer at, didn't always know he would combine his interests in technology and finance. In high school at the well-known High School of Performing Arts, on which the motion picture Fame was based, Rick's main interest was music. But it turned out that Rick was as fascinated with finance and banking as he was with music, and went to work for Goldman Sachs after college.
  • How I Got Here: Nir Zuk, CTO, Palo Alto Networks

    Posted April 5, 2010 - 4:05 pm

    Nir Zuk, founder and CTO of Palo Alto Networks, is passionate about technology, and has little patience for large, slow-moving bureaucracies. He's founded small companies, seen them acquired by larger ones, and witnessed what happens as a result -- and he’s determined to keep Palo Alto Networks’ entrepreneurial spirit, no matter how large and successful it becomes.
  • How I Got Here: Kenyon Kluge, Director of Electrical Engineering, Zero Motorcycles

    Posted March 26, 2010 - 2:48 pm

    Kenyon Kluge jumped from a large IT company to a startup to combine his love of technology with his love of motorcycles, and now is the Director of Electrical Engineering at Zero Motorcycles, a Scotts Valley, California manufacturer of gas-free electric motorcycles.
  • How I Got Here: Galina Datskovsky, Senior Vice President of Architecture, CA

    Posted March 17, 2010 - 12:17 pm

    It's not a man's world, it just looks like it sometimes. With only two other women in her graduating class, Galina Datskovsky earned the respect of her classmates early on, and went on to create her own start-up, which was later acquired by CA. She offers insight into how a woman can succeed in a male-dominated field.
  • How I Got Here: Mike Valuck, Senior Consultant, GlassHouse Technologies

    Posted March 9, 2010 - 4:50 pm

    Going from being a political lobbyist to an IT consultant was a decidedly unusual turn in Mike Valuck’s career, but it was one that satisfied his desire for something rational amidst the often irrational and unpredictable quagmire of statehouse politics. But his solid background in public administration turned out to be just the thing for a career as a consultant, where communicating, convincing, and relaying information are key parts of the job.
  • How I Got Here: Dave Bogan, CIO, CSC

    Posted March 9, 2010 - 1:11 pm

    A degree in American Literature and Theology has served this CIO well on his journey in information technology. Dave Bogan, CIO of outsourcing giant CSC, has special insight into the value of such a degree in the business and IT worlds. Dave tells us that the narrowly-focused IT background, while useful, will ultimately place limitations on a career-oriented professional, and he credits his own Liberal Arts education with helping him to achieve his current status.
  • How I Got Here: Lance Watson, Vice President of Case Management, Avansic

    Posted March 9, 2010 - 11:44 am

    Lance Watson has done a little bit of everything -- from working on a fishing boat in the Florida Keys, to digging ditches and delivering pizzas. His job at a company installing and troubleshooting voicemail systems took him to a project in the Arctic Circle, where he went ice fishing and ate whale meat with an Inuit named Harvey. It's been a long and interesting road, to say the least. Always "the computer guy" to his friends and family, but never making a career out of it until a lucky meeting one day took him on the path to becoming an e-discovery and digital forensics expert, Lance's career goal was to have a job that gave him stories to tell - and he's got plenty.
  • How I Got Here: Gopal Khanna, CIO for the State of Minnesota

    Posted July 20, 2009 - 4:25 pm

    If ever an enterprise IT executive embodied the spirit of service, then Gopal Khanna would be that person. Gopal's sense of community was borne from a childhood in Kanpul, India, where he grew up in a household with four generations of family living under the same roof.
  • How I Got Here: Ken Kucera, Senior Vice President/CIO, First National Bank of Nebraska

    Posted November 14, 2008 - 1:20 pm

    Ken Kucera grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska, doing various farming related activities such as cow milking, harvesting and putting up hay -- but he quickly decided that farming was not a long-term career path for him, so he studied IT in college.
  • How I Got Here: John J. Higginson, Vice President of Software Development, FTD

    Posted September 17, 2008 - 3:22 pm

    John Higginson started his IT career as an eleven year old, building his own systems at home. He has since practiced IT as a hardware and software support specialist and as a software developer and project manager, eventually finding himself in executive IT management at FTD.
  • How I Got Here: Eric Ottaway, General Manager, Brooklyn Brewery

    Posted August 6, 2008 - 9:32 pm

    Eric Ottaway didn't start out as an IT'er but he quickly discovered that getting experience in IT and how it could help business not only would build his IT skills, but would ultimately pave the way to a General Manager's position at the Brooklyn Brewery. Ottaway credits his work in IT as a "door opener" to understanding key drivers behind business processes that enable him today as a General Manager to run a highly effective brewery operation.
  • How I Got Here: Stephen Conley, IT Director, Boston Red Sox

    Posted July 2, 2008 - 10:35 pm

    Steve Conley credits his combination of technical and management skills as a marketable combination for an IT Director's job. What he didn't imagine when he first started his career was that he would be heading IT for major league baseball's World Champions! This interview is part of ITworld's regular "How I got here" series.
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