CIPA Awards: CIO of the Year caught off guard

The not-for-profit sector is no slouch when it comes to producing top notch CIOs.

The proof was in the pudding Tuesday night when the Canadian Information Productivity Awards (CIPA) named their CIO of the Year for 2005.

CIPA joined CIO Canada magazine in awarding Matthew Anderson, vice-president and chief operating officer of the University Health Network (UHN), that honour.

“I was in complete shock,” Anderson said. “I had no idea, I didn’t even know I had been nominated.”

Anderson said he thought CIPA would have tipped off the winner in advance, and didn’t believe he had won until he heard his full name.

“It’s all kind of a blur now,” he said. “I was in shock the entire way up to the stage (where he answered several questions from John Pickett, IT World Canada’s Vice President & Editorial Director) and all the way back to my seat.”

But even his charges at UHN were in the dark.

“Nobody knew because it wasn’t my co-workers that nominated me,” Anderson said. “But I feel so fortunate that a big group of my team was there to share in that moment because it was really as much about them, as me.”

Anderson is a deserving recipient as he has led several transformational projects at UHN and has shown exceptional leadership in advancing e-health systems in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the award’s sponsors.

The UHN executive said his responsibilities are so numerous, he has to leave it to his team to develop and execute most plans and programs, but that hasn’t always been his way. “Years ago, as we were trying to build the team, I was relatively hands on. Now the team does most of the work. There the ones who are delivering at this point.”

Anderson points to a UHN’s CIPA Gold Award for its Medication Order Entry and Administration Record System, as proof that his honour was the result of a group effort.

“This was our fourth CIPA award in five years,” Anderson said. “We’re an organization that commits a lot to information technology and has really reaped the benefits from it.”

The CIPA CIO of the Year award is the pinnacle of a CIO’s career in Canada, and Anderson said he isn’t sure what he is going to do for an encore.