Lessons Learned from Central Ohio IT Leaders.org - The Importance of Community Involvement

Steve Gruetter
Published

The Importance of Community Involvement

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. This is the second part of a two-part blog. Click here to read part one.

How does Ben get so much done? Here are a few of his key points

  • Align yourself – Find the right people and establish the right process
  • Have a plan – Know the optimal outcome before you begin the project
  • Always move the ball forward – Find the metrics that matter

How do you know when you have success – Ben believes that he is making an impact when we see articles like these:

How can you get involved?

A great first step is to take a look at TechLife Columbus and learn about the dozens of meetup groups in Central Ohio.  Find one that aligns with your interests.  You may need to do this a few times before they find the group that is right for you. Attend one of the numerous educational conferences or events in our area. Be willing to engage.  Leave each event with three new contacts.  Most of the meetups are free, and the premier events like CIO Tomorrow and Tech Power Players are well worth the cost. Attend a vendor sponsored event – as I am responsible for the Expedient events, you can rest assured that they will provide maximum education and minimal spin. If you are looking to learn more about the local entrepreneurial efforts, please take a look at all of the great activity and deal flow going on at Rev1 or the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center.  We also have a robust FinTech accelerator program.

Ben continues to use creative methods to drive awareness of the technology success stories in Central Ohio.  At the 2019 CIO Tomorrow event, he organized thirty firms, including State Auto, M/I Homes, IGS and Vertiv, to demonstrate proprietary innovations in technology.

The ‘Innovation Expo’ portion of the event was the top draw for the CIOs that took advantage of the opportunity to learn how their peers are leveraging technology to drive their business forward. The people involved with IT Leaders are investing into themselves and are looking to move into senior leadership roles.  As such, Ben and I invite all members of the current cohorts to TechStrategy – an invite-only quarterly networking event.  The gatherings draw a mix of entrepreneurs, investors, catalysts, and technology leaders. We share best practices and contribute to building a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Columbus.

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 steve.gruetter@expedient.com.

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