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An officer and a CIO

An officer and a CIO

Corina Bruce of the New Zealand Defence Force Commander has chalked up a number of firsts in a distinguished 20-year career in the military. She has just returned from Kosovo, where she coordinated the information requirements for the UN teams across the region.

Two years ago, Commander Corina Bruce spoke in a forum in Wellington organised by this magazine, then known as MIS (Managing Information Strategies). The event was about “The CIOs of tomorrow” and featured ICT leaders from across the country sharing their insights on how to have a successful career in the sector, and beyond. In a crowd of 350 and a panel of CIOs, Bruce stood out, effortlessly. And not just because she was the sole female CIO on the panel that included 10 other CIOs, or that she was in uniform. If my memory serves me right, the master of ceremonies, after reading her credentials including her expertise in guided weapons, said something about this being one person you wouldn’t want to mess up with.

She spoke calmly, but firmly, and with humour. She said she was one of a handful (seven out of 50) female students in her computer science course. She chose to work in the Navy after graduation to be able to do something different from what her classmates were doing, which would, at that time, be writing Cobol programs on payroll systems.

Working in the Navy meant being assigned to a small new organisation, the IT department, within a large traditional organisation, she said. Since then, she has progressed to various leadership roles, including the equivalent of the Navy CIO.

The next time we met was at a CIO Leaders’ Luncheon a year later. She was about to depart for Kosovo on secondment to the United Nations, but she promised to talk to CIO when she returned from the posting. That, in essence, is the background of how one of the country’s finest leaders — in ICT and beyond — was interviewed for our cover story this month, written by our contributor Randal Jackson.

Still on the theme of leadership, the 2008 Computerworld Excellence Awards are now open for nominations — and I know that many of you have projects that should be in the running for the various categories. I strongly encourage you to enter these premier awards in ICT, which include the CIO of the Year.

On this occasion I would love to see a group of people having a hard time! I am of course, referring to the judges of these Excellence Awards, having to decide on the winners from the sheer number of nominees from the finest ICT professionals in New Zealand.

Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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