I’m well aware that sometimes the IT field carries the perception of being “analytical” versus “strategic” or an “order taker” versus a “consultant to the business.” Fortunately, my experiences at WellPoint do not fit those stereotypes. In fact, in my decade at WellPoint, I’ve watched information technology associates become business leaders and have personally refocused our IT organization on collaborating with the business to create value for our customers.

During my 10 years at WellPoint and more than 20 years in IT, I’ve learned two essential lessons: first, the technology itself is much less important than the expertise behind it; and second, take accountability to use technology as a strategic asset to create value for the business. At WellPoint, technology is a key enabler of making health care simpler, improving quality, and reducing cost for our members, and that means we must make information personalized and relevant to their needs.

Growing up on a farm in New York instilled in me the importance of a strong work ethic, including taking accountability and working hard to achieve results. I learned if you do this, success will follow. This has carried into my professional career. From my first professional role to my current position as CIO, I have always focused on ensuring the entire business outcome was achieved, not just the specific tasks for which I was accountable. Technology is a key enabler to improving the productivity of the business and I have always looked for innovative ways to use technology to solve problems that improve results, which is what ultimately creates value for the business.

I was very fortunate that one of my prior employers allowed me to work part-time while my children were young; having that flexibility motivated me even more to deliver results for the company. Throughout my career I focused on engaging with the business and using technology to make business strategies real, because at the end of the day, success will be measured based on your results and the value you create for the business.

Many times emerging leaders ask me: “Why have you been successful and how can I take the next step in my career?” I tell them that it’s really pretty simple. Take accountability, deliver results, create value for the business, and focus on continuous improvement.