Top Social CIOs 2015 Canada Vala Afshar

There was a time, not very long ago, where it would have been hard for someone like Vala Afshar to find 10 CIOs, let alone 100, who were using social media to share insight and build their personal brand.

As the CMO of Extreme Networks demonstrated on the Huffington Post recently, however, things have changed considerably. Afshar has been compiling and promoting a hand-picked list of IT leaders on Twitter for several years. It’s become the kind of badge of honour I’ve seen some CIOs start to include in their Twitter or LinkedIn bios.

This time around, the Top 100 Most Social CIOs on Twitter 2015 includes a handful of Canadians who should be duly applauded for making the cut. These include old friends like Nigel Fortlage of Winnipeg’s GHY International (@Nfortlage), Good Life Fitness’s Steve Groves (@SteveatGoodLife) and of course Stephen Lamb at BCIT, who retains the best Twitter moniker of all (@SEE_EYE_OH).

As he explains in his post, Afshar looks at a number of factors in choosing the top social CIOs, including the number of followers, volume of tweets and so on. That makes sense, though in some cases, the fact that CIOs on his list are employed with technology vendors may help them achieve the kind of reach that those in other organizations would struggle to achieve. I suspect that in the end, Afshar is like most of us in following those who supply the best content. With that in mind, and in keeping with Afshar’s spirit of helping connect a wider community of IT leaders, I came up with a few who might not be on his radar today but who deserve greater recognition for their efforts on Twitter. Their social audience may still be in its early stages, and there may be more quality than quantity, but they’ve all been on my list for some time. Here they are, in no particular order.

Stephen Abraham (@Stephen_Abraham): The CIO for the Medical Council of Canada has been on a tear lately, not only in offering commentary on new products and tech stories, but spreading the blog posts he writes for ITWorldCanada.com and LinkedIn. There’s the occasional great pop culture moments, too:

Kevin Pashuk (@InvisiTech): The CIO of Appleby College philosophy of “turning technology invisible” — in other words, making it work so well you hardly notice it — informs his blog of the same name and also many of his comments on Twitter. Kevin has a positive, inspiring tone on social media that I’ve really come to appreciate.

David Nicholl (@DaNicholl): The CIO for the Province of Ontario isn’t on Twitter every day, but what he tweets strikes me as a good example of what senior executives are most interested in, culled from the New York Times, publications like ours or the Harvard Business Review:


Charaka Kithilugoda (@CharakaK): I didn’t see a lot of financial services execs on Afshar’s list, and the CIO at Tangerine could help fill the void and then some. Great tweets on the future of banking, IT management and much more:

David Heffernan (@ITupNorth): A true master of curation, the CIO for the Government of the Northwest Territories spends less time on personal comments and more time on bringing the very best on everything IT leaders everywhere should care about. Plus, he’s more prolific than many reporters I’ve known.

Of course, Afshar can’t put every CIO on his list — and I’m sure there are already some lobbying for a spot the way movie studios try to get Oscar nominations — but the point here is to raise the profile of as many CIOs who are active on Twitter as possible. Use the comments below to tell me who I’ve missed or who your favourites are. It’s just another way of being social.



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