Last night the Canadian technology community honoured its own at the Information Technology Association of Canada’s (ITAC) Ingenious Awards – and some of the top honours went to Lydia Lee, CIO of University Health Network and Canadian Tire Eugene Roman.
The CanadianCIO of the Year award is named after our publication CanadianCIO that has been telling the stories of CIOs in Canada since 1985. It recognizes two award winners, one from the public and one from the private sector.
Both award winners spoke with both enthusiasm and humility, like true leaders, acknowledging the teams that had delivered on their vision. But as one of the judges for these prestigious awards, I can say that their accomplishments were significant, not just in terms of Canada but on a world stage.
Lee has stewarded the introduction of a number of high profile healthcare innovations that continue to see UHN recognized as a true pioneer. The UHN Patient Portal that allows patients to access their patient care information, a diabetes self-management mobile application, a Diagnostic Imaging Repository and more – the list of accomplishments is truly impressive.
Roman, a veteran on Canada’s technology scene for decades has held leadership roles at Nortel, Bell Canada, and Open Text was celebrated for the retail innovations at Canadian Tire. Roman’s entire team “Team Tech” came out to celebrate along with the entire executive team of Canadian Tire and Martha Billes, successor to founder Alfred E. Billes, the founder of Canadian Tire.
At a time when Canadian retail seems dominated by U.S. chains, it was exhilarating to listen to the innovations that Roman has shepherded in over the few short years of his tenure, transforming Canadian Tire into a true technology leader in retail. In that short time, he has upgraded the legacy applications of the company – a feat in itself, as any CIO will attest. Roman has also leveraged new and innovative technology to transform the shopping experience and put Canadian Tire squarely on the path of becoming a true innovator, showing how digital technology can transform the customer experience.
Roman’s newest achievement is the Canadian Tire community focus into the digital world. Under his tenure they have opened new centres of excellence for cloud in Winnipeg, put Sport Chek’s showcase site in the West Edmonton Mall and opened high tech innovation labs in Waterloo. Roman has long been a key supporter and mentor for high-tech talent in Canada with his long-standing association with the University of Waterloo.
As ITWC President Fawn Annan, publisher of CanadianCIO pointed out – we love to tell the stories of technology leaders, with a particular focus on Canadian pioneers. Over the coming weeks and in a special edition of CanadianCIO we will focus on these stories that inform and inspire us. We’ll look at the accomplishments of the winners and also the nominees who, as I know from personal experience, made the selection of the winners a difficult task for the judges.
On a personal note, it’s a poignant time – having just been appointed Chief Content Officer at ITWC, I’ll be having a much bigger role in our publications including CanadianCIO. So as my first official duty, I’m thrilled to congratulate Eugene Roman, Lydia Lee and all the nominees for their contribution to our Canadian ICT industry.