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Strategies, advice and opinions helping to define and develop the role of IT leaders and their staffs.

Three Resolutions for the Pragmatic CIO

It’s still early enough in the new year to make some resolutions, if you haven’t already done so. Your personal resolutions are your own business, so I’m not going to encourage you to go on a butt-reduction regime – either ciggies or posterior.

As I’ve been closely connected to the CIO community for two decades, I can, however, advise on your workplace resolutions. Here are a few that are guaranteed to make your life as a CIO happier, healthier, or a little less onerous.

Resolution 1: Make Succession Planning a Priority

You know in your heart of hearts that there’s no one inside or outside of the company that can do the job of CIO as well as you. Still, you owe it to the company to prepare it for your departure. Of course, how you prepare it depends on how they’ve treated you over the years.

If the company has treated you fairly, it is incumbent on you to find the best replacement possible. Candidates of your caliber will (a.) currently belong to MENSA, (b.) list “pentathlon” as a hobby on their resume (even though your most athletic pursuit is the 20-yard dash to the office kitchen on Tuesday mornings, when Marj brings in her chocolate muffins), and (c.) be no worse than a 14 handicap when playing by the strict rules of golf (or a 9 handicap when playing your usual one mulligan per hole and 6-foot gimmes). And oh yes, IT management experience is a definite advantage.

If the company has treated you poorly, designate Hadley, manager of special IT projects, as your successor. Yes, you loathe him, and it goes against the grain to recommend him for promotion. But he’s so far under-qualified that he’ll be miserable in the job… and before long he’ll be fired. So this way you get to stick it to the company and Hadley at the same time.

Resolution 2: Put Your Security House in Order

Yes, the company has been hacked, spoofed, Trojan-horsed and wormed to death over the last few years. But you’ve survived it all because (a.) your company’s crown jewels wouldn’t fetch a twenty-dollar Tim’s card on the Black Market and (b.) the executive team is more focussed on Velma, the personal assistant to the CEO, and Davies, Fredrickson and Krapchuk, legal representatives of Delores, soon to be extremely wealthy ex-wife of the CEO.

The best thing to do in order to put your security house in order is to have a strong contingency plan. If a catastrophic breach does take place, the contingency plan will ameliorate the situation. It is actually quite a simple matter to put an effective contingency plan in place. Here is all you need to know: blame Hadley. You see the beauty of it? In one fell swoop you have wiped your slate clean and shafted Hadley at the same time.

Resolution 3: Make Peace with the Millennials

Let’s face it, if there’s anything that sticks in your craw it’s those self-important little peckerwoods who can’t relieve themselves without posting it on Facebook. Still, we are told to coddle them, are we not? They are the future of the company. What would we do without them?

Personally, I subscribe to the philosophy of one Homer J. Simpson, who asserted: “The children [read Millennials] are our future… unless we stop them now!”

CIOs have long had a rocky relationship with the youth of the day. First it was Gen X, then Gen Y, and now the Millennials (somebody out there has a nice cottage industry making up names for these kids).

As we all know, it’s the Millennials that now cause CIOs heartburn. They have a huge sense of entitlement, they want instant gratification and boundless personal freedom, they don’t give a rat’s ass about data security – either their own or the company’s – and they refuse to work for anyone who won’t let them play on their toys all day long.

For CIOs who prefer to be on cruise control until retirement, these are the enemy. But how do you make peace with them (i.e. keep the heartburn to a minimum) when you barely even understand the little buggers? Happily, I have the solution. Here are three tips that will have them eating out of your hand without even raising a sweat.

First, let it drop in casual conversation with a couple of the more credulous Millennials that you are the uncle of “a singer you may have heard of – Katy Perry. Apparently she’s quite popular with the younger set.” This of course will go viral in the company within minutes. Mention that you will be having her over for dinner at some undetermined time in the future, and that you are thinking of inviting two or three of the more productive young employees for a meet and greet.

Second, have private one-on-ones with each of your Millennial employees. Tell them you like the cut of their jib, and that they are destined for great things within the company. Tell them that you plan to take a personal hand in their advancement, assuming of course that they show the great industry and dedication that you know they are capable of.

Finally, convene a meeting of all your Millennials at some hip establishment and ply them with appletinis and tequila. When they are suitably bombed, encourage them to buddy up to you by telling you stories of their outrageous behavior. (Important – turn on your smartphone's voice recorder. You won’t remember it all.) Once you have obtained sufficient leveragible intelligence, your work has been done. You will now have them in your pocket for the remainder of your tenure. All that’s left to do is one last thing. Let it be known that promotion to “direct report” status will be given to the first Millennial to utterly destroy Hadley’s reputation online.

Voila! All of your major problems are solved. Happy 2015 everybody.

For more of the “CIO Funnies”, check out “The Greatest CIO Interview of All Time” and “Great wearable devices you didn’t see at CES”.

Past Attendees

ADP - VP Architecture & Infrastructure

AESO - VP, Information Technology

Agnico Eagle Mines - VP, IT

Agrium - Global Mgr., IT Security

Agrium - Senior Director IT Shared Services

Aimia - SVP & Global CIO

Ainsworth Engineered - Director IT

Air Canada Vacations - Director IT

Alberta Energy Regulator - Director, Office of the CIO

Anthem Properties - VP IS

AON Risk Solutions Canada - Head of IT

Avison Young - VP Global Enterprise Architecture & Integration

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bell Business Markets - Director, Strategy & Planning

Bell Canada - National Director, Digital Transformation

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT


BFL CANADA - Director, Cybersecurity & IT Risk Management

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Director, Technology & Operations Transformation

BMO Financial Group - Head of Services Delivery

Bombardier Aerospace - CISO

Bonavista Petroleum - Head of IT

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Global CIO

Bow Valley College - Director, IT Services

Bridgewater Bank - Head of IT

BuildDirect - VP IT

Bulk Barn - Head, IT

Burnco - CIO

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - VP, IT Planning, Architecture, Governance, Operations

Calfrac Well Services - Head of IT

Canada Goose - CTO

Canada Live - VP of Technology

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canada Protection Plan - Head of IT

Canadian Depository for Securities - CIO

Canadian Direct Insurance - CTO

Canadian Payments Association - VP & CIO

Canucks Sports - Head of IT

Capgemini - Service Delivery Director


Cardel Homes - VP MIS

Cargojet - CIO

CBI Health Group - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

CDSPI - Board Director

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CI Global Asset Management - VP of Enterprise Infrastructure $amp; Operations

CIBC - Senior Director, Infrastructure Planning & Engineering

CIBC - SVP & CIO, Retail and Business Banking Technology

CIBC Mellon - AVP, Enterprise Architecture

CIBC Mellon - SVP & CIO

Cineplex Entertainment - CTO

City of Brampton - Senior Manager, IT Architecture & Planning

City of Richmond Hill - CIO

City of Toronto - Director of Strategic Planning & Architecture

CN Rail Service - Chief Information Security Officer

Coast Capital Savings - VP Technology

Colliers - Head of Technology & Data

Concordia University - AVP & CIO

Crescent Point Energy - Head of IT

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Head of IT and Administration

Dale Parizeau Morris Mackenzie - VP, IT

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP - Director, Information Technology

DealerTrack Canada - Director, Technology

Defence Construction Canada - Corporate Manager, IT

Deloitte - Director, Risk Advisory

Dentons - Canada CIO

Devon Energy - Director, Integrated Business Services

Direct Cash - VP IT & Security

Dynamic Tire Corp - CIO

D+H Partnership - VP, Head of Canadian Mortgage Technology

eHealth - EVP, Technology

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enbridge Inc. - VP, Technology and Information Services

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS


Equitable Bank - CIO

Equitable Bank - CISO

Equity Financial Trust - VP, IT

Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Finastra - SVP, Head Technology Managed Services

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP - CIO

Freedom Mobile - Head, Customer Applications, Experience, & Strategy

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Geotab - Board Member

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Grand River Hospital - Director, Data Governance & Analytics

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Haventree Bank - VP, Technology

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi Vantara - GVP & Global CTO

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

HSB Canada - VP IT

IBM Canada - Associate Partner, Payments Industry

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

Interac Corp - Director, Platform Engineering

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KFC Canada - CTO

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT


LCBO - Director, Applications Systems


Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lifeguard Digital Health - Chief Security & Informatics Officer

Loblaw Companies Ltd - Senior Director, Customer Engagement Technology

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

Magna International Inc - VP & Global Leader, IT (CIO)

Manulife - Global Head of Private Markets & Real Estate Technology

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

MaRS Discovery District - Managing Director, Fintech and Commerce

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

Metrolinx - EVP & CIO

Minto Group - VP IT

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

MullenLowe Group - Global CIO

National Bank of Canada - Information Security Officer

National Capital Commission - Chief, IT infrastructure & Support Services

NHL Players' Association - Head, Security & Technology

Northbridge Financial Corp - CIO

OEC Group Canada - Vice President, Information Technology and Client solutions


Oildex - VP, Architecture & Infrastructure

OPTrust - AVP, Enterprise Data Services

Olympia Financial Group - CIO

OMERS - EVP, Data & Technology


OMERS - SVP, Data & Advanced Analytics

Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan - SVP, Product & Delivery

Ontario Trillium Foundation - CIO

Osum Oil Sands Corp - Manager, IS

Ottawa Police Service - CIO

Pacific Western Transportation - CIO

Packers Plus - Global IT Director

Pason Systems - Manager, Digital Communications & Corporate IT

Patient News - CTO

Peel District School Board - CIO

Pengrowth Corp - Director IS

Penn West Exploration - Snr. Manager, IT Operations

Peterson Investment Group - Head of IT

PFB Corp. - CIO

Pizza Pizza - CIO & VP, IT

Precision Drilling - VP, IT

Precision Drilling - Director, IT Infrastructure & Security

PSP Investments - Snr. Director, Internal Audit & Business Infosec

Public Works and Government Services Canada - Director, IT Security Directorate

PwC - Managing Director, Real Estate Technology Advisory

Pythian - CTO

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

RBC Royal Bank - Head of Application Security, Data Protection & Security Consulting

RBC Royal Bank - VP, Technology Platforms & Risk Management

RBC Royal Bank - Global Cybersecurity VP

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Rheem Manufacturing - CISO & Enterprise Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Roche - Head of IT Americas – Operations

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT


Russel Metals - VP,IS

Salvation Army Canada - Board Director

SCI Group - CIO

Scotiabank - Head, Systems Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Head, System Architecture & Platform Modernization

Scotiabank - Global Head, GBM Compliance & Transformation

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw - Head, Customer Applications, Experience, & Strategy

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

SmartOne Solutions - President & CIO

Societe de Transport de Montreal - Division Head - Security and Compliance

Street Capital Financial - CIO

Sun Life Financial - AVP, Data & Business Intelligence Services

Sun Life Financial - VP Application Ops & Services

Sunco Communication - COO

Suncor Energy Inc. - Director, Application Portfolio Optimization, I&PM, Business Services

Symcor - CTO, VP Technology Services

Talisman Energy - SVP IT & Business Services

TD Bank - Enterprise Architect

Teknion - SVP, CIO

TELUS - Chief Security Architect

Tervita Corporation - VP, Information Technology

The Hudsons Bay Company - VP Technology

The Hudson's Bay Company - SVP & CIO

The Source - VP, Information Technology

TMX Group - CISO & Global Head of Infrastructure Services

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Parking Authority - CIO

Toronto Police Services - CISO

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - Chief Enterprise Architect

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - CIO

Toyota Canada - National Manager, IS

Transamerica Life Canada - CIO

Trican Well Services Ltd. - Director, Business Information Systems

Tridel Corporation - CIO

Trillium Health Partners - IT Director, Applications & Clinical Informatics

UFA Cooperative - VP & CIO

University of Calgary - Executive Director, Development Services

University of Ottawa - CIO

University of Ottawa - Senior Director IT Services & Infrastructure

University of Toronto - Director, Centre for Management & Technology

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Valencia Risk - Managing Director

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company - Director of Innovation Outpost

World Health - Director IT

Wolseley Canada - CIO & COO

WSIB - Board Director

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

York University - Board Director

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