In high school I wanted to be a videographer for CBS News (or make music videos to confuse several of my friends’ parents), so I found related part-time and seasonal jobs, concentrated on my studies and built a portfolio of career-related experience: radio, television, concert audio, advertising creative design and pre-internet interactive media production.
Life happened and the path diverged to higher education, research computing and data visualization. What quickly followed was a shift into digital media, web development, educational technology, learning spaces and systems; and then toward operations management, service delivery, master planning, cloud services, organizational transformation and IT leadership. What started as applying my communications and media skills to research grew into a career focused on innovation, change management and digital transformation.
Looking back at my journey from late college to today, I feel it encompasses four distinct periods of my career growth and development: Digital Transformation Strategy & Advising, Digital Learning & User Experience Redesign, Technology Services & Innovation Leadership and Creative Production.
Digital Transformation Period (2018 – present)
A large portion of my work today concentrates on readying companies, organizations, colleges and universities for digital transformation brought about by strategic reinvestment or disruption. Largely driven by the transition to Workday, a SaaS-based ERP platform, I advise customers on ways to achieve greater return as well as value on investment (ROI and VOI) through technology and the transformational impact on culture, process, governance and investment. My thinking always begins with “people first” followed by seeking ways to exploit technology to exceed user, consumer and service provider expectations in an attainable and sustainable manner in support of strategic goals and long-term vision.
Digital Learning & User Experience Period (2010 – 2018)
For the eight years prior to joining Collaborative in 2018, I worked for Blackboard as a principal strategist and consulting director for the Americas, APAC, and EMEA. The shift from being an operational leader to a strategist was intentional and driven by my own desire to learn more about higher education. Having been at the University of Chicago for 18 years, I found that while I had grown as a leader, I only had the experience of one institution in one unique academic setting. To be a better leader and advisor, I needed to learn more — by doing.
At Blackboard, I led projects around the world and designed solutions related to digital learning, technology ecosystems, online program management (OPM), learner experience, and student success. Work encompassed much more than one type of institution — projects spanned liberal arts and community colleges, state higher education systems, public K12 school districts and research universities, and organizations such as IBM, the Mayo Clinic, NASA/JPL, Laureate Education, and the US Department of Defense. The Blackboard experience provided the ability to help organizations around the globe as well as learn about the challenges facing education and industry as well as how to approach them to drive meaningful change.
Technology Services & Innovation Leadership Period (1998 – 2010)
While at the University of Chicago, I transformed from being a producer and manager into leader and driver of innovation and change. With the support of two CIOs, Greg Jackson, and Klara Jelinkova, and guidance from my peers and colleagues across higher education, I became much more involved in collaborative efforts, focused on defining and guiding teams to achieve realistic outcomes, honed my understanding of service delivery, and ultimately transformed an unfocused, deconstructed academic technology team plagued by high turnover and low self-confidence into one of the most nimble, respected, and stable technology organizations within the institution. Much of my work involved leading and shaping operations, making decisions that would impact the institution over 3-5 years, and driving approaches to both achieve and sustain success.
To put this period into context, I became the Director of Instructional Technology in 1998 with the responsibility of supporting day-to-day teaching and student technology services. A few years later, a promotion to Senior Director for Academic Technologies expanded my portfolio to include a range of research, teaching and learning technology support services that were closely aligned with the Provost’s Office, academic divisions and schools, the Library and the academic needs of over 13,000 students and 2,000 faculty. Later, while serving as the institution’s Assistant CITO (CIO) and Executive Director for Campus & Academic Services, I led 120+ people in the collective support of over 30,000 faculty, students and staff worldwide, and became actively engaged in a number of campus transformation initiatives from technology reinvestment and construction projects to master planning and global campus expansion.
Finally, during my final two years at the university and with the University of California Berkeley, I was co-director and a co-PI of a Mellon-funded cloud/SaaS services innovation and planning project that drew upon the input and ideas of more than 100 colleges, foundations, universities and companies from across North America, Europe and Australia.
Creative Production Period (1988 – 1998)
Beginning well before I graduated from Loyola University New Orleans and extending through most of the 1990s, I worked in media production, graphic design, scientific data visualization, high-performance computing, creative services, web development and emerging multimedia (new media). This period largely focused more on learning about how to critically evaluate and integrate emerging technology and digital media into projects and operations, and adapt digital media to achieve information design and access goals. In short, I developed as a designer, creative director, project manager and team supervisor.
Even though I completed hundreds of projects during this period and helped launch one of the first 1,000 websites on the internet, what I value most are the unique interactions I had with people who shaped my approach toward technology, design and my career. Below are a few of the individuals who truly had an impact on my learning and career during this period of time:
- James O’Meara, technologist
- Hugh Ricks, illustrator
- Simon Frasier, audio engineer
- Christopher White, cardiologist
- Robert Rosner, astrophysicist
- Paola Antonelli, architect and curator
- Robert Beck, medical physicist
- Martin Runkle, librarian
- Barbara Stafford, art historian
- Lawrence Marsh, economist
- John Sanders, archeologist
- Amanda Woodward, psychologist
- Fausto Cattaneo, computational astrophysicist
- Carl Berger, educator
- Lawrence Lessig, law professor
- Karen Landahl, linguist
- Geoffrey R. Stone, law professor and Provost
Insight shared by these and many others has provided me with the footing and confidence to look beyond what can be accomplished today and envision the potential in tomorrow.
Roles & Positions
The lists below capture the experience that tends to roll off a resume including freelance, internship and seasonal/college jobs, projects, and clients. If you would like to learn more about my professional work history and experience, please take a look at my comprehensive resume/CV.
- Doblin/Monitor Group (now part of Deloitte), Chicago, IL
- DEGW North America (now part of AECOM), which included consulting engagements with:
- University of Virginia
- University at Buffalo (SUNY)
- University of Indianapolis
- University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
- North Carolina State University
- University of Massachusetts – Amherst
- Robert Gordon University (UK)
- British Library (UK)
- Herman-Miller, Zeeland, MI
- VMC Architects, Chicago, IL
- University of Notre Dame, College of Arts & Letters, Notre Dame, IN
- Jamestown Hospital, Jamestown, ND
- Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL
- St. John’s Academy (K12), Jamestown, ND
- Incite Multimedia, Abita Springs, LA, which included engagements with:
- ITT/Sheraton Corporation
- Ochsner Medical Center, New Orleans, LA
- Salvato + Company Architects, New Orleans, LA
- Goodroad Sports, Jamestown, ND
- KHJ-TV (Los Angeles), 1988 Republican National Convention (New Orleans)
- KCSI-TV/Cable Services Inc., Jamestown, ND
- MDA Association Telethon, New Orleans, LA
- New Orleans Fire Department, New Orleans, LA
- WLDC AM Radio, New Orleans, LA
- Programming Director, part-time
- On-Air Announcer, part-time
- Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
- Student Engineer, Television Production Office, Dept. of Communications
- Student Systems Administrator, Academic Computing Services
- Student Worker, Dept. of English
- Jamestown Sun, Jamestown, ND
- Art Director and Typesetter, seasonal
- Prairie Post, Jamestown, ND
- Art Director, seasonal
- KQDJ AM/FM Radio, Jamestown, ND
- On Air Announcer & DJ, part-time and seasonal