Ep 8: Rising Up with Sue Schade and Kate Catlin

In this episode, we spotlight two diverse women leaders helping build and support a strong community of women in technology. Kate Catlin, millennial founder of Women Rising, a new and exploding network of women in tech, invited us to attend a fireside chat with “Baby Boomer” Sue Schade, CIO of the University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers. We share the mission of Kate’s new program and Sue’s equally inspiring story focused on a career that spans three decades.

Like many women, Kate first entered technology by accident. While working as a community manager for Grand Circus, a tech training institute in Downtown Detroit, she decided to try out a coding class. She loved learning how to code and soon after entered Detroit Lab’s apprenticeship program to further develop her skills.  Around this time Kate began looking up to a friend and mentor, Erika Carlson, co-founder of Girl Develop IT Detroit. She learned how important mentorship is for women, sparking the idea for Women Rising.

Women Rising is an online-based platform with an algorithm to match women in tech to appropriate mentors, monthly. The group also hosts frequent events bringing leaders like Sue Schade to the community. Kate shares how Women Rising works and what she hopes women in tech get out of it in order to “rise up.”

What’s one thing Kate would like to see women get from her platform?

“Greater ‘Ballsy- ness’,” said Kate. “There’s a certain gumption that it takes to rise up. You have to be really willing to put yourself out there and fail. You have to know that other people have your back.”

She hopes Women Rising helps women in tech know there’s an entire community here that has your back. It’s free to create a profile and get started connecting inside their network. Check out Women Rising online at: http://www.womenrising.co/

Next we spoke with Sue Schade, CIO of the University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers, who has spent over 30 years in the world of technology management and shared some great tips on leadership. Sue started as a developer but a year later moved into a business analyst position. She then was asked to move into management and lead a newly-formed team, before becoming a regional CIO.

How did Sue make the leap into management? The first thought that came to her when asked to manage was: “I don’t know what these people do!” She quickly realized that was okay, as long as she could ask the right questions and oversee the work. She learned a lot along the way, including the following crucial management tips:

  • Be very genuine and authentic as a person

  • Be clear about your values

  • Lead by example

  • Think strategically and execute

For women leaders she says it’s not easy. You have to recognize your own strengths and be true to yourself. She wants women in technology to know they don’t have to manage like men to be effective, but develop their own unique styles.

Sue says she “grew up” in an organization over a 12 year period where she eventually became a regional CIO. During this time she took a number of courses to help develop her skills. In her opinion, you can learn skills, but you have to develop your own personal leadership style.  She now has a large role as CIO of the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health System, frequently named as one of the top 10 healthcare systems in the United States.

More recently, Sue has been very actively speaking out on women in technology. A diverse workforce she believes is vital for competing in a global economy, and the numbers around women in technology and STEM are way behind. But Sue says that it is not just about the numbers, it’s about the applications and innovations that come from diverse people collaborating. Do we have a balanced viewpoint from the perspective of both women and men?

You can learn more about Sue Schade by visiting her Health IT Connect blog at www.sueschade.com.

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