Women make headway in info technology

January 26, 2004


Information technology isn't a boys-only club anymore. Marian Cook proves it tomorrow when six Chicago women receive the inaugural Excellence in Corporate IT Leadership Award from Women In Technology International (WITI).

The winners include powerful, highly placed professionals from Allstate Insurance, Bank One, Aon and Motorola.

"They manage massive projects with global work forces," says Cook, president of Ageos Enterprises, a strategy and technology consultancy. Cook drove the effort to create the award. "Seeing women achieve gives other women a road map. Their example gives you permission to believe."

The winners are: Catherine Brune, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Allstate Insurance Co.; Maureen Osborne, chief technology officer for Bank One; June Drewry, executive vice president and chief information officer for Aon Corp., and Padmasree Warrior, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Motorola Inc.

Two other chief information officers, Ellen Barry of the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority and Joy Keeler of the University of Illinois at Chicago, will also be honored.

The ceremony will be hosted by Linda Salchenberger, director of Loyola University's Center for Information Management, at the Water Tower campus.

Better but challenging times

Local technology events are making a comeback.

David Flint, president of TechVenue.com, reports 213 tech events were held in Chicago last quarter, up 15 percent from the same period a year earlier.

The Chicago Software Association's cityLights award program had strong attendance last week. Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, shared thoughts on the IT outsourcing issue.

Says Miller, "Not all IT jobs are moving to Bangalore, India, but we have to find a middle ground." He reports the U.S. lost 400,000 IT jobs last year, but he said it isn't clear if this resulted from the bursting dot-com bubble, the end of the Y2K phenomenon or foreign competition.

Miller predicts a domestic IT job shortage as baby boomers retire and the United States' weak education system is unable to provide talent. Miller recommends "worker education, training and retooling programs, R&D incentives and efforts to open foreign markets to U.S. technology products."

His bottom line: "Change will make domestic IT providers stronger, but if you don't adapt, you'll be out of business."

Ahead, BIO 2006

David Miller, president of iBIO, the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization, is gearing up for what could be a shot in the arm for Chicago's biotech industry. The BIO 2006 International Biotechnology Convention & Exhibition is scheduled for McCormick Place in April that year.

It will mark the first time the international premier biotech show comes to Chicago. Handled properly, it could pave the way for an expanded Chicago biotech industry and more jobs. Miller says the show gave a huge boost to San Diego, now an industry leader.

Organizers of BIO 2006 were in town to scope out the terrain and assure local enthusiasm. "They came away thoroughly convinced the community is 100 percent behind the show," Miller says.

Miller reports strong support from Mayor Daley and Gov. Blagojevich. Corporate honchos are weighing in, including Harry Kraemer, CEO, and Norbert Riedel, chief science officer of Baxter International; James L. Tyree, vice president, global licensing and new business development, Abbott Labs; William Gantz, CEO of Ovation Pharmaceuticals, and Mark Booth, president, Takeda North America (the U.S. division of Japan's largest pharmaceutical company).

Our university and federal research centers are actively teaming.

Robert Rosenberg, assistant vice president for partnerships and technology at the University of Chicago, is arranging a series of half-day tech forums to build community interest in biotech leading up to the show.

Mea Culpa

Robert Blackwell Sr. is CEO of Blackwell Consulting Services the successful Chicago-based technology consultancy. In last week's column, I incorrectly referred to him as Robert Blackwell Jr., his son. Meanwhile, Bob Sr.'s daughter, Pamela Blackwell, was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Blackwell Consulting Services.

Michael Krauss is a Chicago based tech-writer and consultant, and senior vice president for Hostway Corp., Chicago.



 ©2004 Marion Consulting Partners