With a great deal of help, I put together an IT leadership development program – Central Ohio IT Leaders.org – in 2017 for aspiring CIOs in Central Ohio. The following message is my effort to share what I’ve learned from the tremendous CIO guest speakers that have presented as part of the program.
Central Ohio IT Leaders.org is a peer group that meets monthly to network, discuss ideas, learn from experienced speakers, and establish collaborative relationships with the goal of nurturing the next generation of Columbus IT leadership. Several times throughout the year, the peer group will host CIOs as guest speakers to discuss various aspects of IT leadership.
At this time, the IT Leaders program has completed two full cohorts and the third cohort will be wrapping up in August of 2019. The next cohort will begin September 2019 and complete August 2020.
The following lesson learned is based off of my interpretation of a presentation to the first cohort by Ben Blanquera, a great friend and inspiration.
Ben and I met in 2001 and the common denominator of our professional relationship has been our passion to make the Central Ohio IT community the very best in can be. Back in the ‘early days’ with Ben at the Columbus Technology Council and me at TechColumbus, he shared his philosophy with me – ‘If you don’t like the way your world is – change it’. This is exactly what Ben has done. Through his time at Progressive Medical, Pillar Technology and Columbus Collaboratory, he has continued to invest his time in shaping and driving our community forward. I fully bought into this vision and have looked to support Ben’s projects wherever it made sense for me to do so.
In 2008, he launched TechLife Columbus – a platform to share knowledge and education within the Central Ohio tech community by consolidating the various tech meetups into a common calendar. This allowed greater coordination and communication across our market. In 2010, Ben launched the Columbus Startup Digest, a curated source for everything entrepreneurial in Central Ohio. When we review the success of the startup community is in this market, Ben should be recognized as a major contributor to the success story.
By April of 2013, TechColumbus has ceased membership operations and discontinued their weekly newsletter. Ben and I recognized that an outgoing newsletter is key to driving knowledge and communication across the market, so we created the TechLife Columbus newsletter, which broadcasts the weekly tech news, events and jobs postings. The weekly newsletter is now up to over 4,000 opted-in recipients.
When I started the process of building the IT Leaders program, I solicited the opinions of many of our local leaders on how best to make an impact on our community within the realm of workforce development. Angelo Mazzocco, Bryan Smith, Jeremiah Gracia and Ben all shared their thoughts with me and almost all of them have presented as a guest speaker at an IT Leaders class.
Ben works with three pillars to communicate his vision – Purpose, Passion, Progress
Have a purpose with your efforts and actions. Be sure that there is a defined impact on others, outside of your immediate circle of contacts. Do your actions support a meaningful portion of the market?
Care about the efforts and actions that you are taking. If you are going to invest your time in some aspect of the community, you need to care about the success of the effort. Otherwise, your time will be taken away by other projects that mean more to you.
Have a defined system in place where you can measure the impact on the community. As a smart person – that I report to – once told me, if you cannot measure it, it does not exist. What are the positive takeaways? How are you helping the community?
Next week, we will dive deeper into Ben’s presentation to the IT Leaders cohort.
If you’re interested in discussing the IT Leaders program, digital transformation, cloud technology or how to get involved with Central Ohio’s IT community, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.