ComputerWorld Magazine, 26 June 2008, has a terrific interview with Loraine Rodgers, formerly Xerox CIO, Citibank senior VP, city of Phoenix CIO, and American Express director.
Her early years…
Ms Rodgers found out at 16 that she was adopted and was “so angry at being lied to I threw away my merit scholarship and refused to go to college. But I took a programmer aptitude test and I aced it, so I started in IT as a programmer. I started in the weeds.”
Over the years, “I always volunteered for seemingly thankless jobs—challenging assignments that nobody wanted.”
Here’s the best part of what she said and I believe very inspirational…
“I am self-propelled, driven, excited about life, love to learn. I got my undergraduate degree at age 40, and my MBA at 42—all working full time. I move forward always—not necessarily in a straight line, but always forward. I have been fired once, laid off twice and promoted over 27 times. I repackage myself regularly and keep moving forward. I perceive the possibilities. I am not hindered by obstacles. There are no obstacles. Some things just take longer.”
Ms. Rodgers is inspirational on an individual and organizational/enterprise architecture level.
Ms. Rodgers story is one of overcoming life’s challenges to succeed beyond probably her wildest dreams and most of ours. To succeed individually or as an organization, there are always challenges. Life is not a straight line upward, but is marked by up and downs, hopefully like Ms. Rodgers professional life, it has generally more ups then downs, and going always in an upward pattern.
Ms. Rodgers idea of always repackaging herself and constantly moving forward is terrific and in EA can be associated with an organization continually looking to reengineer and improve their processes and introduce new technologies to enable the mission and results of operation. The key is to always being grateful for what we have been granted, yet to always strive to improve things one step further: never to be satisfied with status quo or mediocrity.
Similarly, architecting the organization is not a one-time event; rather, it is an ongoing cycle of planning, governing, and transforming. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Whether on an individual or organizational level, we must learn to “move forward always—not necessarily in a straight line, but always forward!"