Building Community

Kevin D. Rooney, Board Member

Kevin D. Rooney,

Board Member

I hope that all of you had a chance to enjoy the recent Memorial Day weekend. We remember those that served honorably during this time protecting our freedoms. In the broadest sense, the holiday is a time to reflect on those that gave of themselves for their community in order for future generations to reap the rewards of their effort and sacrifice. Reflecting on my own weekend, it was a particularly meaningful and personal holiday. Indulge me as I share three interactions this past weekend with people that know what it means to work to build and protect a community.

My dad served in the Navy on the USS Deliver in the '50s. I had the good fortune to road trip and visit with him this Memorial Day weekend. While his memory is fading, we enjoyed a few moments where we shared stories of his that remain with me today. He seemed surprised at those things that stuck and I was grateful to get a chance to "confess" that I had been listening to him. He taught me about service, integrity, and passion which remain with me to this day.

Also this weekend, a friend from high school reached out to many of us about a particularly memorable and inspirational teacher that had been hospitalized. The authentic, passionate, tell-it-like-it-was, and funny Mr. Brosnahan inspired so many of us to the point where one of his students even immortalized him as a teacher in his best-selling book "Perks of Being a Wallflower". Unfortunately, he passed the other day but the impact he made and the community of life-long learners he inspired was self-evident.

Finally, one of the original founders of SIM reached out to check in as he was inspired by Alwin Brunner's newsletter last week. I have not yet had a chance to meet Dick Dooley but I was grateful to exchange emails and let him know the impact SIM has had on the Chicago community. The vision and dedication to create this community 50 years ago is inspiring and makes us all determined to serve for another 50.

Inspiration. Service. Teaching. Vision. Integrity. These things build community. Why do I share these stories? You see, SIM Chicago is NOT a professional networking association. All that takes is a data subscription with CIO contact information and an event planner. Everyone reading this newsletter is, I'm sure, inundated with such emails. SIM Chicago is instead a community. We have each other's back. It's personal. It's about service and the future. It's why we have 30 volunteer board members and about as many committee members helping to make these connections happen. It's why we have built a life-changing leadership program called RLF. It's why we offer a flex membership to extend the value of SIM to your team. It's why we support STEM scholarships and gave a record $66k in our philanthropic efforts this year.

So take a moment to reflect on our good fortune to stand tall on the shoulders of those that have gone before. And continue to build our community to greater heights by actively engaging and paying it forward. 

We look forward to seeing you on June 6th at the Chicago CIO Executive Leadership Summit where we will together reimagine the future of the enterprise. We will then recognize and celebrate the CIO of the Year with speaker Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO of Mondelez International on June 28th.  Finally, reserve July 31st for the most fun day of the summer as we raise money for i.c.stars at our annual golf outing at White Eagle.

Thank you for being part of this special community. 

How do you attract and retain top IT Talent?

Alwin Brunner,  Board Member

Alwin Brunner

Board Member

Talented people are what drive our technology industry. Good technology talent is in high demand these days. That in itself also brings retention risks for you as an IT leader. We all know the risks of losing top talent, so I won't have to elaborate on that.

As an IT leader, you probably already know what is involved to attract and retain top IT talent..

How do you attract and retain top IT talent? You probably know a lot about that already, but in case you were wondering what I was thinking - here's what I believe matters:

  • A great place to work - culture, space, accessibility
  • A modern and forward-technology strategy
  • A way for people to learn and further their development, both professionally and personally

As an IT leader, these organizational aspects help a great deal with attraction and retention of top IT talent probably, nothing new so far.

But did you know that as a member of SIM-Chicago, you have the opportunity to share the benefits of SIM with your leadership team? Many of these benefits support your attraction and retention strategy when used right. Our organization has done so and it has helped my team develop significantly. Here are some considerations for you:

  • Our program events hit on relevant topics and allow for mind sharing
  • The network you create allows you to connect with peers and accelerate development by learning from experience from others
  • A flex-membership allows you to add seats to program events for your team for discounted fees
  • Our SIM IT Leaders training program, RLF, is a well-established and life-changing learning and training program for upcoming IT leaders

What is the call to action? Here it is:

  • Join the next great events of our chapter - see the for the events calendar
  • Plan your calendar ahead to attend our events
  • Sign up for a flex-membership and nominate IT leaders in your team as flex members
  • If in doubt, ask the attending SIM Chicago board members about how to leverage the benefits better and broader - they will happy to help you with this

I look forward to helping you with this and I look forward to seeing you at one of our events soon!

Summer's Almost Here: What's Cookin'?

Scot Berkey, Board Member

Scot Berkey,

Board Member

Late spring is here and summer is almost upon us.  The flowers are blooming, the lawns need mowing, the evenings grow longer, the patio furniture comes out of storage, golf clubs get cleaned up, Chicago's neighborhood festivals begin, movies begin to be shown in Millennium park, Buckingham Fountain is roaring, the Chicago River bridges let boats pass, and the BBQ grill now gets fired up more often.  And the bugs aren't out yet!  What a great time to be in Chicago.

So other than burgers and brats on the BBQ, what's cookin' with you this spring?   New job?  New friends?  New skills? New resolutions?  Reconnecting with old friends?  Trying something new?  All of the above?  This is a great season to deepen existing relationships, create new relationships, have new experiences, or just go out and have some fun. 

SIM Chicago offers many opportunities to do all of those things, and even though our regular yearly program of events is nearing an end, there are still great events coming up this summer that you won't want to miss.  The premier annual charity SIM Chicago CIO Golf Outing is upcoming, so mark your calendars.  And don't forget the Summer Social at Ravinia.  These are two fantastic and fun opportunities available to you through your SIM Membership that fall in the "all of the above" category.  Other opportunities also abound in Chicago, so we hope that you take advantage of SIM's events as well as other Chicagoland events to keep what you have cookin' in your life spicy and interesting.  I hope to see you all this summer!

How Are Data Analytics and Great Recruiting Similar?

Jane Prugh, Board Member

Jane Prugh,

Board Member

In recruiting, I rely on data to educate both my clients and candidates to identify a good "fit".  With the wide adoption of data analytics, I recognize its importance to the success of effective recruiting.  Whether recruiting as a profession or hiring internally within your organization, utilizing data can help you make the right hiring decision.

Data analytics incorporates a technology-based methodology that takes data and effectively reconstitutes it into essential fact-based information to support decision making. Great recruiting also incorporates a methodology that effectively analyzes essential facts. Neither is easy. Both are required. The objective is to find the most exacting and relevant information to help provide the most precise outcome.

As we access an array of use cases specific to how analytics apply to a problem, we all know that it's not technology alone that provides the answer, but also the interpretation of the analytics to make fact-based decisions. The ability to maximize results and increase the opportunity to find what you're looking for involves the right technology, process and subject matter expertise. What any stakeholder seeks is to find the true essence of the data, and to obtain knowledge from it. Then the results, goals and mission can be truly realized.

When one effectively recruits, transparency is essential. When it comes to recruiting, the definition of "effective" is to understand the wants and needs of both the employer and candidates and honorably work towards a stated and understood common goal. As with data analytics, this requires a clear vetting process, the expertise of the recruiter as a subject matter expert, and technology to keep the information organized.

It is imperative for the recruiter to understand the objective needs of both parties, as well as, the subjective requirements around culture, strategy, market position, preferences, philosophy, and expertise.  What differentiates great recruiting is when the recruiter melds candidate pool analytics to professionally guide the process providing hiring managers, as well as candidates, with real transparency.

Sometimes, even with great recruiting, clients decide not to hire or candidates decide not to take proffered positions. While the ultimate goal is to find the right fit, an aspect of this is the identification of non-fits, even if the decision is unilateral. When the best data is gathered, facts are effectively analyzed and transparency is offered, then the right hiring decisions are made.

How are you using data to vet candidates in your recruiting and interviewing process?  Are you screening for the most relevant information to ensure a good "fit"?  Before you begin your search for a new team member, have you identified the needs - both technical and subjective?  Have you defined the culture so you know when someone is a fit?  Take the time to use specific data to hire and onboard new team members.  With careful attention to data analytics, retention and productivity will certainly be positively impacted.  A benefit of SIM Chicago membership is that we have access to great talent and knowledge to expedite that process.  The networking, collaboration, speakers, and events at SIM all contribute to the data and decision-making needed in the recruiting and hiring process.

Transitions can be Difficult

Donald Brumfield, Corporate Flex Member

Donald Brumfield,

Corporate Flex Member

Building on the recent newsletters, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss the transition aspects of Digital Transformation.  Transitions can be difficult, as it is the point at which change becomes evident and is often visible to all parties, with uncertainties and discomfort being the norm.  This is when it is crucial to keep the vision and goals front and center, if we are to achieve them!  

Personally, my family and I are beginning just such a transition, and that experience helps inform my views on digital transformation as well!  Our son is graduating high school this Spring and about to begin college in the Fall. 

The joy and excitement of my son's transformation from a child to a young adult is tempered by the anxiety over the immediate transition - from high school senior to college freshman.  The concern of things being different - him not living at home, his mother and I not "being in control" and him having to assume responsibility for decisions large and small - this is truly a paradigm shift for our family!  Many of the same concerns (and quite frankly fears) come into play leading an organization through Digital Transformation. 

In my experience, early transition steps in a Digital Transformation often involve a loosening (not losing) of central control in such areas as information security, system/application updates, user experience, and business process management.  As outlined in Mark Griesbaum's April 28th article, it is EVERYONE's responsibility to understand how IT impacts the rest of organization and end customers.  IT often feels anxiety about the complexities change brings, and how to help all successfully navigate both system and process changes. 

Anxieties can be far ranging with transitions (digital or otherwise): from information security, to user experience and delivery models. And some transitions are made more challenging in highly regulated industries and public service / government environments.   Expertise and industry specific knowledge helps make the journey easier certainly.  

A success strategy I have seen work in such situations: making the change part of everyone's work experience and engaging often.  Having the IT staff networking with their colleagues across the business helps build understanding to make these transitions smoother and successful - the message is simple "get comfortable being uncomfortable!"   

A benefit of SIM Chicago membership also helps in transition journeys: as members of SIM have a unique opportunity by learning from colleagues that have already dealt with - and survived - many of these transition issues.  All it requires is engagement and a willingness to collaborate with fellow SIM members. 

In speaking with many on the topic and through research, two key themes are present with digital transformation- adaptability and speed.  The art of transitioning corporate IT groups from highly process driven methodical organizations, to an IT organization that can rapidly adapt technologies to solve corporate problems and create new opportunities can be daunting.

This concept is critical enough for MIT Sloan School of Business to address in an award-winning report.   Written by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet and Andrew McAfee, the report titled "The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation" observes:

"The best companies - those we call Digirati - combine digital activity with strong leadership to turn technology into transformation. This is what we call Digital Maturity."

With the possibility of achieving a Digirati goal for your company- consider how you can help your business transition and achieve a digital transformation success.  My advice:  leverage experts in our SIM Chicago chapter! Share what you have learned, help those in need, and ensure the transition is a success for everyone!   

Get Uncomfortable to be Successful

Mark H. Griesbaum, Board Member

Mark H. Griesbaum,

Board Member

I know we've all heard the saying: "think outside the box", or "change is the only constant".   But what about "you need to be uncomfortable  with being comfortable in order to grow and be successful?".  I have found that when you have confidence in yourself and your team, the way in which you then solve true business problems and add value to your organization is to take on challenges that may seem uncomfortable at first, but later you realize that you and your team can overcome them.

Our natural tendency in IT is to stay within our 4 walls because it's more comfortable.  Getting outside your 4 walls and working within your organization's departments is very important and everyone in IT (no matter what position you are in IT) needs to get out and understand how IT impacts the organization's end customer. (not just the CIO or their leadership team - EVERYONE!)

At the same time, it is critical that IT staff network with people outside their company.  SIM provides so many opportunities for IT Leaders to learn from each other.  I'd offer this additional thought.   Go visit another SIM Chapter!!   It is an excellent experience to meet your peers in other cities and to make new acquaintances.  And the Chapter members really enjoy meeting other leaders from other SIM Chapters.    I had the opportunity to visit events in Milwaukee and Detroit this past week.  Each had events like our partnered events in Chicago.  Milwaukee's attendance was over 200 people and Detroit's Midwest Technology Forum had 350 people registered.  I found the events a great opportunity to expand my network, and meet people I had only communicated with through email or the phone.  

It's great to see how other Chapters operate and the wonderful "give-back" and philanthropic work that they do in their cities.  I was at each event to "spread the word" on the RLF Leadership Program and to thank those CIO's that sponsor participants.   This is not always a comfortable thing for me to do, but I find that once I focus on making plans and the effort, I know that during and afterwards, it was the right thing for me to do to expand my learnings and to meet new people with similar and different experiences than my own.   I even met a SIM Chicago prior member at the event that I hadn't seen in years.

So, remember, get uncomfortable with being comfortable.  If you don't, you will not be as "relevant" to your organization as you need to be.  Remember also, your business partners ask themselves every day: "What has IT done for me lately?"   They easily forget the great things you believe you have done for them.  They are short-lived!  And that's reality!  Help your teams understand that and move on to the next great thing you and your teams will do for the business and your customers. 

Get active in your SIM Chapter!  We need everyone's help in making our Chapter strong for all its members.   If you'd like to do that, please contact any of our Board members.  Here is the link to our Board for you to contact.   SIM Chicago Board Members.

And lastly, if you are committed to growing and developing your high potential staff, please support SIM's RLF Leadership program by sponsoring a participant.  I personally have seen the benefits. SIM RLF Leadership Program.

Successful Digital Transformation - 4 Things Leaders Know

Laszlo S. Gonc, Board Member

Laszlo S. Gonc,

Board Member

We've all heard about the inevitability of digital transformation. Many of us are undergoing some type of digital transformation initiative ourselves. For others, it's become part of the prolonged media din.

With less than 75 of the Fortune 500 from 1955 still in existence today, change or die seems to be a good direction to be going. What is digital transformation? There is much talk about the process whereby an organization overhauls its business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the opportunities afforded by new technologies. Still no one has a clear definition.

Richard Foster, in his 2001 book Creative Destruction, applied Joseph Schumpeter's theory of economic progress to the modern practices of management and innovation. The core lesson from all this is "how" companies go about change is critical to their survival.

When Corporate Culture Kills

There are many well-known examples of companies that resisted change despite the opportunities presented:

Blockbuster Video. Reed Hastings founded Netflix because he had paid a $40 late fee to Blockbuster Video. While Blockbuster collected $800 million in late fees in 2000, it declined to purchase Netflix for $20 million (its anti-late fee competitor).

Kodak. Founded in 1888 and its share price falling from a high of $80 in 1999 to 78 cents by 2010, Kodak demonstrates a company culture that failed to adapt for nearly 50 years. Steve Sasson went to work for Kodak in 1973 and invented the digital camera in 1975. His bosses were unimpressed and the marketing department resisted. His camera never saw the light of day.

Borders. In 1971 Borders began as a single bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan. With its stock price at an all-time high of $44.88 in 1997, Borders closed its doors in 2011. Growing its well diversified stock of books, movies, music and e-reader sales, it was considered the envy of the industry with its innovative inventory management system. When it had an opportunity to significantly expand its online sales, Borders decided to outsource their website to Amazon.

Obstacles to Change

Jane McConell, renowned author, speaker and founder of NetStrategy JMC, has conducted global annual surveys on the internal digital work environments of organizations since 2006. She grouped the toughest obstacles to change into five categories (1):

  • Slow or stalled decision-making caused by competing priorities, internal politics, or attempting to reach consensus
  • Inability to prove business value of digital through traditional ROI calculations, resulting in lack of senior management sponsorship
  • Too much focus on technology rather than willingness to address deep change and modify how employees work
  • Lack of understanding operational issues at the decision-making level and difficulties in practical applications
  • Fear of losing control by management or central functions

According to Jane, "The toughest challenge in digital transformation is not to define a strategy, but rather to make it tangible and actionable."

Creating the Right Cultural Mindset

For organizations that rate high on digital maturity, Doug Palmer and Anh Nguyen Phillips found remarkable similarities when it came to corporate culture. The results of their work are highlighted in a 2016 report in collaboration with MIT Sloan School of Management, "Aligning the Organization for its Digital Future."

Taken together, these four cultural characteristics provide the foundational ingredients for a super-charged recipe to go from "doing digital" to "going digital" (2):

  1. Value experimentation and speed. It's not just about the agility of the organizational structure, but empowering employees, incentivizing them, and giving them the authority to enact and drive change. 
  2. Embrace risk. Risk-taking is built into the fabric of how these organizations manage. They emphasize innovation and don't get upset when something doesn't work out. 87% invest in innovation at the early stages.
  3. Organize for collaboration. These organizations moved from vertical departments to a project-based approach. Think distributed, not hierarchical.
  4. Make data-driven decisions. These companies set very clear goals and measurable objectives, and then communicated them clearly. They get very specific and tactical on what they want to achieve and how to measure success.

Changing an organization's culture is not easy. However, the ingredients to the recipe are not a secret either. Use the four proven characteristics above to foster a culture of change as your organization continues on its journey.

SIM Chicago is undergoing its own transformation. Please visit our new website as we continue to launch our stronger social media presence. An easy way to stay current in this age of acceleration is to get more involved with upcoming SIM events especially during May and June. Learn from others what challenges they are facing and how they are dealing with the current issues. The upcoming event on May 11th is focused on the State of Illinois and its own journey in these challenging times. It will be a great opportunity to network with the SIM Membership as well. Register today!

(1) "The Company Cultures That Help (or Hinder) Digital Transformation", Harvard Business Review, Jane McConell, August 28, 2015.

(2) "Aligning the Organization for Its Digital Future", MITSloan Management Review Research Report, Deloitte University Press, Summer 2016


Jane von Kirchbach, Board Member

Jane von Kirchbach,

Board Member

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have opportunities to travel and live abroad. Whenever I travel, I take time to understand the culture, values, and the customs of working with my international colleagues.

Personally, I enjoy exploring the local cuisine. I find food offers a unique window into the culture of a country or a community while providing a powerful platform for building human connections.  

In my quest to experience local flavors, I took a Thai cooking class during a trip to Bangkok. It was a unique and refreshing experience. Western cooking techniques require focused study of a recipe, precise measurement of ingredients, and careful execution of instructions. Thai cooking, on the other hand, involves no recipes and no measurements. In its place, you rely on core techniques coupled with diverse ingredients, high heat, spice, and speed. Most importantly, you are expected to continuously taste and season your dish trusting your taste buds to create a perfect combination of flavors.

The Thai cooking experience enriched my skills in the kitchen and offered me some interesting business and leadership insights: 

Taste, Season, Repeat. Classical western cuisine is built upon complex techniques, long cooking processes, and inability to taste the dish until the end. Not that different from our traditional approach to business and technology projects.

Early mistakes are not evident until late in the process - time is lost, resources are wasted, and there is no dinner on the table! In Thai cooking, you begin tasting your creation and making adjustments throughout the entire cooking process. This early and iterative feedback-correction loop is key to introducing agility into our business endeavors.

Eat Bitesize Projects. In today's business environment, we face large complex problems to be solved quickly and effectively. Best practice asserts we break problems down into smaller components. While intuitive, most organizations do not leverage this technique sufficiently.

I challenge my teams with "No project longer than 3 months!" While it may be an aspirational goal, it forces us to think in new ways and try new approaches. When facing complex problems, think of bitesize deliverables like an Asian stir-fry instead of a 12 oz steak!

Try that Scorpion. Thailand is an amazing country, full of diverse and unusual ingredients. I remember walking through a local market with stands full of roasted and fried scorpions, a tasty snack for many Thais. Would you try a roasted scorpion?

As leaders, we are in a unique position to set the tone for the organization. Are you willing to take risks, attempt new approaches, and explore new business models? Are you willing to be vulnerable and accept failure? Creating a culture of innovation requires us to take a deep introspective look and challenge our own habits, beliefs, and expectations. Let's taste that roasted scorpion! 

Spark the Fire.  Fire is a key ingredient in Asian cooking. High heat is necessary to create fast and flavorful dishes. How can you generate the heat necessary to fuel creativity and speed in your organization?

A "burning platform" is one possibility. It can be a powerful driver for strategic change, creating wide-spread energy and rapid alignment. However, "burning platforms" are not always feasible or ideal for creating lasting culture change.

There is a better way!

If your organization has a dozen or more people, sub-cultures and counter-cultures are bound to have developed. Among these cultures, there is a good chance the mindset you need is already present. Instead of trying to drive large-scale culture change from the ground up, you can build offwhat's already there. The key is to identify areas where the right sparks exist, raise them into the spotlight, and encourage their propagation from niche to mainstream. 

While titled "A Spicy Recipe for Agility and Innovation", I am convinced the secret sauce is to also learn to cook without a recipe. 

Teaching your teams to reduce blind dependencies on established approaches is a great way to change thinking, spark innovation, and deliver breakthrough results. Mindfully, you have to remain structured, organized and compliant.

I encourage you to cook without a recipe once in a while! 

Building Your Technology Strategy (Storytelling)

Susan Malisch, Board Member

Susan Malisch, Board Member

I am a big fan of telling a story to engage other business leaders in understanding the value of IT and technology strategy.  But how do we do this well when the world of technology is filled with constant change, complexity, acronyms, and excruciating detail that makes others eyes glaze over?!

At Loyola University Chicago, we’ve made an attempt to develop a “technology strategy on a page”.  This design has helped us share the story, initially in a consumable form, that others outside of IT can easily understand.  We follow this business story with a layered approach of more detailed views that help articulate what we must do to achieve our desired future state. 

The one page story begins as follows showing the basic premise in an easy-to-understand format that describes how we want the technology experience to enable the many relationships a university must maintain.  So, envision yourself as any one of the following members of our community and read on for the experience we’d like you to have:

If I’ve piqued your interest, click here for the next layers of detail on our roadmap for Anytime Anywhere Access including the concepts of the vision, the detailed user experience, and the planned technology change required to deliver the vision!  While I still see these as working documents, I’ve shared these specifics for two purposes:  1) to share some real examples of building a technology strategy that may inspire helpful ideas for how you think through your own process of storytelling, and 2) to ask for your reaction, feedback, comments and suggestions to help us continue our thought process for Loyola University Chicago.  I really am interested in hearing from you – an outside perspective is so helpful!  Please send your thoughts to me at

Conviction in Service

George Wang, Board Member

George Wang,
Board Member

As many of you in my network know, I was fortunate to have been offered a Cluster CIO role with the State of Illinois last year, focused on Students and Education. As a first timer in public service, it has been an honor to work with so many hard-working team members focused on serving our citizens, businesses and institutions in Illinois. Having worked in many different industries, company sizes and roles over the last 26 years, I thought I would reflect and share with you some of my learnings that seem to also hold true in government public service:

  • Conviction in Service: Our world is faced with so many challenges and issues that it can be difficult to solve all of them. Yet through each person's effort and commitment in trying to make a difference we can contribute our small part towards a solution. Whether it starts with yourself, your family, your community, your state, your nation, or your faith, there must be conviction in service and helping others. Throughout my career I have tried to help others and found that during even the most difficult times, that your core value of service is what steers you to the True North. At the State we face very difficult times and constraints and yet our newly formed centralized Department of Innovation and Technology (DOIT) organization (a $1B startup of sorts!) is undergoing an amazing transformation journey. We have 45 years of modernization to accomplish in 4 years (our oldest active system dates back to 1971). DOIT, with our Illinois First strategy, is accomplishing new things that have not been done before through collaborative enterprise-wide efforts in the areas of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC). It's not easy but if each of us have conviction and passion in what we are doing, it sure goes a long way.
  • Seek the Truth: I believe each of us have gone through great positive times as well as those very tough times that bring out the not-so-good side of people and teams. I genuinely believe that people come in to work to make it a good day and wish their job brings a certain level of personal satisfaction. Yet during difficult times of organizational transformation (positive spin) or reorganization (negative spin) one must seek their own internal truth as to why they choose to stay in the organization or role they are in. Many times I have heard of folks complain about their role or organization (even in good times) and my advice to them is simple: have you asked yourself what have you done to make the situation better: do you have a solution to offer? While it is important to be committed to the organization, I believe one will know when it is time to move on. For example, long periods of unbearable work stress is one of them that hurts your body, your family and even relationships. For those that choose, including your own staff, to not make a change or are afraid to do so, seek help and support from others who have made the transition into a new role, company or even career. For those not as fortunate and are impacted by a reorganization or reduction in force, that move is forced upon you which leads me to next bullet...
  • Keep the Network Alive: You have probably heard this before but it is important to network as one can never predict the future and in this day and age, organizations and roles come and go unfortunately. Even in government service, one might think there is no competition and therefore insular -- but we know that isn't exactly true either. Presidents and governors can and will change with each election and with that change, the positioning or posture towards technology can change drastically or perhaps minimally (perhaps if things seem to be going right). Either way, this is where organizations like SIM Chicago offer a great venue to stay connected, share and learn with other senior leaders, and just as important -- provide support to our community like through i.c. Stars via our annual SIM Golf Charity event in August, our SIM STEM scholarships and our annual charitable donation to the Arts and Business Council of Chicago at our recent February SIM Winter Social.

We have two great SIM Chicago events you won't want to miss in March: Our SIM / Chicago Innovations Award (CIA) Partner Event on March 1 in the evening at Xfinity Studios with a moderated panel of past CIA winners, and our 2017 SIM Spring Gala on March 16 at the Chicago Marriott O'Hare where we feature Kelly Leonard from Second City discussing where improvisation and humor can in many ways help enable game changing transformation. I plan to be at both events and hope to see you there!