Women’s IT Leadership Journey: What We Learned

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WITH U, Women in Tech Health – UCLA, formed in 2018 to empower women and provide the tools needed to help them drive their careers. To achieve this, women in UCLA Health IT got together to build an inclusive network to empower women to lead, rise, and tackle the challenges of a changing IT landscape. Since their founding, WITH U has led the “Building Connections” program to give women the tools and resources needed to build their personal brand and use it to drive their career to the next step.

The final event in the “Building Connections” program answered the question: “How does someone become a leader?”

During Women’s IT (Information Technology) Leadership Journey—the most recent WITH U (Women in Tech Health - UCLA) event—three successful IT leaders shared words of career wisdom.  

Follow their advice to confidently navigate your own leadership journey. 

Meet the Panelists

Lisa Kemp Jones Jeanne Markland Sherly Mosessian

Lisa Kemp Jones
Director of Customer Support Services at UCLA IT Services

Jeanne Markland
Chief of Enterprise Applications for UCLA Health

Sherly Mosessian
Acting Chief Information Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Director of Research Enablement for DGIT

The Director of the National Institutes of Health recently pointed out a lack of diverse voices at conferences and on panels. WITH U’s all-female panel sets a positive example for other organizations to follow. Read more > 

 

Key Takeaways for Your Career Journey

1. Stop worrying. 

“Forgive yourself, don’t second-guess yourself . . . and give yourself time to grow,” said Sherly. 

She remembers the day she verbally agreed to take on a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) role, a position outside her comfort zone. “I said ‘Uhh, sure,’ and then later I Googled ‘What is a CAO?’”

Sherly had an amazing first CAO experience, and she’s thankful she took the challenge instead of second-guessing herself. 

 

2. Embrace feedback.

“Feedback is awesome, both giving it and receiving it,” said Jeanne, admitting that it took her years to stop getting anxiety butterflies each time someone asked to give her feedback. “Now I embrace it, and I just think, ‘Yes; how can I get better?’” 

 

3. Cultivate understanding. 

“If I’m trying to convince someone to help me out with something, then I need to make sure that we’re all understanding the same problem,” says Lisa. 

“If I can draw a line between the problem that we have and how it’s going to positively impact customer satisfaction or student success, then we can work together to figure out what the right path is.”

She recommends starting big discussions with these simple questions: 

  • What’s the problem we’re trying to solve? 
  • What are the benefits that we’re going to strive for? 

 

4. Ask for what you want. 

“The best career advice I ever received was to not be afraid to ask for what I want,” says Jeanne.

“I already have a no in my pocket, and if I don’t ask, then I can’t get to yes.”

 

5. Take more chances. 

“Take more chances. Experiment a little bit more. Explore. Don’t be so afraid of what people think you’re supposed to be doing,” said Lisa. 

Jeanne offered a tip for confidently taking chances: face risks with data. 

“I’ve learned to collect a lot of data and to have conversations and ask the ‘what-if’ questions. And I do that with my besties. And my besties are my directors and managers and anyone else who will listen and engage with me in conversation in the hallway,” Jeanne said. “I think having minds weigh in on the different pros and cons of something is the way I embrace risk-taking.”