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Meet the Columbia Women Disrupting Disruption in Technology

Meet some of the women graduates of Columbia University’s Executive Technology Management program who are embracing digital disruption head-on.

 

Madhurima Sahoo ('20SPS), VP, Barclays Investment Bank

Madhurima Sahoo had a decade of leadership experience at Barclays when she made an investment in her education by enrolling in Columbia’s Executive Technology Management program. Because of the program’s flexible, part-time schedule and community of industry-leading peers, mentors, and faculty, Sahoo is able to immediately apply her learnings at work.

“Financial services is changing rapidly and moving into new technologies… Many administrative processes can be automated using AI, and the technology will advance huge areas, such as countering cyber-attacks and malicious behavior, predicting financial wellness, managing portfolios… I’m coming out of the program excited to make Barclays a top Municipal trading partner. I’m looking forward to building a better relationship between tech and the business, to building on our infrastructure,” she said recently. Read more about Sahoo’s career journey and experience with the program.

Samantha Wilmot ('19SPS), VP & General Manager, CareAR, a Xerox Company

After years in financial services, Samantha Wilmot enrolled in the program to switch to technology leadership. She earned a top spot at Xerox as the VP of Strategic Programs the same year that she graduated. In January, she was named the VP and General Manager of the company’s new augmented reality smart service platform.

She reflected on technology leaders preparing for the future: “As a technologist, this climate continues to provide major opportunities. The “new normal” is a world comfortably immersed in digital. As leaders, we look to keep pushing the envelope in technology to solve problems people didn’t even realize they had, and now we can solve them at a speed no one previously thought possible.”

Read Wilmot’s take on the lessons learned in the last year and how technologists can shape a better world, post-coronavirus.

Amala Duggirala ('20SPS), Chief Technology and Operations Officer, Regions Bank

“A lot of financial institutions are going through a [digital transformation] journey… As an organization, we set in our mission and vision that we will give our customers a choice in how they bank... There’s an emphasis on Omni-channel experiences – self-service capabilities that make it very easy and intuitive for our customers. Everything is centered on the customers. Whichever way we use or apply AI, data analytics, and marketing strategies – everything is centered around the preferences of the customer.”

With a high-powered executive career and an MBA from 10 years’ prior, Amala Duggirala enrolled in Columbia’s Executive Technology Management program to gain a fresh perspective and skills for strategically aligning her ideas with overall business goals. Listen to the full podcast episode featuring Duggirala.

Vicki Hildebrand ('16SPS), Senior VP and CIO, BlueCross BlueShield of Massachusetts

In 2016, Vicki Hildebrand earned her Columbia degree after more than 30 years at HP. “[When I started my career,] I had a job offer from every single company I talked to because there were so few women out there applying for jobs,” she recalls. Hildebrand he has held senior executive roles at top organizations ever since earning her Columbia degree, including CIO at the U.S. Department of Transportation and, as of last month, Senior VP and CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Here’s what she said about accelerating tech solutions in health care: “This is the time to transform health care. We're asking our employees to question the value of everything they're doing and if it doesn't bring value, to help eliminate it. If we drive simplicity and speed, and focus on what our members really need, we can use this opportunity to make significant and permanent changes.”

Akanksha Rakesh ('20SPS), Senior Technical Program Manager, eCommerce Foundation, Amazon

Rakesh earned her role at Amazon shortly before graduation in December 2020, moving on from her post at Microsoft. Read more about Rakesh.

When it comes to setting oneself apart as a technology leader, she says, “A combination of a strong sense of ownership, bias for action, bold vision for the future, empathy towards your team and your customers, and last but not least, responsibility towards social, ethical, and environmental impacts of technology will set you apart as a leader, especially in today’s world.”

On the legacy she wants to leave: “I want to build products that make a difference, work for a company with a mission I believe in, and apply what I learn to coach and empower other professionals, in particular, women technologists, to rise to the upper echelons of management.”

Krystle-Jayne Ng ('20SPS), Services Practice Leader, Microsoft

Prior to graduating from the program late last year, Ng was awarded Microsoft’s Circle of Excellence: Gold Club award and promoted to a Services Leadership role in the company’s consulting unit. Ng reflected on the role that technology can and has played in continuing business and making lives easier during the pandemic, saying, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has been incredible, supporting other organizations migrate to remote working. Microsoft has also empowered its employees throughout this difficult year, allowing for flexibility and offering support to our families and communities. I really admire Microsoft’s people-first culture and how they have led us through this year. I want to continue on my path at Microsoft, continue to apply what I’ve learned at Columbia, and continue developing myself as a leader in the industry, to empower every person and organization to achieve more, through digital transformation.” Read more about her career journey.

Learn more about Columbia’s Executive M.S. in Technology Management