Career turning points: Step up to the big challenges

For Carol Kline, becoming a technology leader was simply another aspect of being a business leader. “There was no ah-hah moment,” she says. “By nature, I’m a problem solver, and I see the CIO role as one of a change agent and facilitator across the business.”

Kline, who is now executive vice president and CIO at TeleTech Holdings, has been in the telecom industry most of her career. While moving up through marketing and operations, she realized that technology was an integral part of the strategy for business improvements, and she made a point of seeking out leadership roles that would drive opportunity and transformation to as many parts of the business as possible.

Volunteering for these types of cross-organization roles both then and now, she believes, is part of what makes her a strong CIO. It’s an example of how she has followed the advice of one of her mentors, which was to play not at your current level, but at the one you aspire to achieve. She has developed a reputation in the organization as an IT leader who is willing to take on the challenges that can’t be handled by just one function or unit alone.

There is risk, Kline admits, since the more functions an initiative touches, the more points for potential failure. You have to be willing to take on that risk, she believes, in order to advance to the highest levels. To mitigate the risk, Kline often seeks assistance from her peers to gain the deeper, functional knowledge necessary–she learned early on to not be afraid to ask for help. Executives are generally open to spending time to learn how IT can make their processes and products better.

A strong base of competencies and business knowledge within the IT group enables Klines team to take on these risky projects along with their leader. Small wins breed confidence in the staff to go after the bigger initiatives. “It’s vitally important to give them the confidence to make that jump,” she says. To Kline, heading team that creates value through big cross-enterprise projects is the heart of being a CIO.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now