CIO Shares 20 Years of Career Progress and Insights
It’s 1997. Fresh-faced Morgan Reed walks across the stage at his DeVry graduation and right into the workforce. As a 21-year-old, he has no solid plan how to get there, but he’s determined to reach his ultimate goal – chief information officer – by age 40. Over the next two decades, he formulates and executes a strategy to achieve that goal on schedule. Yet Reed still has a pinch-me moment when this sinks in: His high-powered CIO job is for the State of Arizona.
DeVry’s Perspectives Magazine recently sat down with Reed to learn how he reached the C-Suite, why he went back to his alma mater in order to go forward in his career, and his thoughts on moving ahead and work/life balance.
PM: Tell us about your career progression.
MR: I spent 20 years working my way up in information technology since earning my bachelor’s degree. Having kids in my mid-20s forced me to grow up quickly and start viewing work as a career, not as just a job. This also made me interested in a leadership track. At 25, four years into my career, I was in management training at Intel, then promoted to manager at GoDaddy at 28 and to director at 33. My goal was to be a CIO by age 40, and I made it! Since late 2015, I’ve served as chief information officer for the State of Arizona.
PM: You earned your bachelor’s degree in business at DeVry two decades ago and returned to school for two subsequent degrees, including a master’s in information systems management (MISM ’14) at Keller. Why did you pursue additional education?
MR: First and foremost, I’m constantly striving to set a good example for my kids. In addition, I’ll always do what I can to make myself stand out among a crowd. Once I started pursuing my master’s degree at Keller, I was pleased how much of the program’s content was directly applicable to my job. And I don’t mean would be applicable in the future. What I learned was applicable the very next day, even at the executive level.
PM: As CIO, you’re responsible for driving tech vision and strategy. Why is a progressive technology plan mission-critical to any organization?
MR: A well-defined strategy tells us what we’re trying to do as much as what we’re not trying to do. It becomes the compass that ensures we’re aligned with our goals and keeps us heading in the right direction when there are lots of “shiny objects” to distract us. There’s no shortage of problems to solve, but it’s being able to identify the right problems to tackle that brings the most value to the business and allows us to get the right things done faster.
PM: What advice do you have for alumni looking to take the next step in their careers?
MR: Find a couple of mentors who are where you want to go professionally and ask them how they got there. Never stop learning – self-study, classes, conferences and networking events will be lifeboats on your career path. Also, have a plan. Early on, I wrote down my goal of becoming a CIO by 40, and four months after my 40th birthday I was offered the position at the State of Arizona. Written goals are powerful things.
The other thing to focus on is networking. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. My last two jobs began with referrals. If you’re a professional and don’t have a LinkedIn® profile, you won’t be taken seriously. Connect with current and former colleagues – you’ll most likely change jobs more than you plan to – so treat everyone like they’ll be your next boss; sometimes they will be. Build a solid reputation as somebody who gets things done and treats people well, and I believe doors will open for you.
PM: Any advice you’d give to those specifically pursuing tech-related fields?
MR: Learn as much as you can about the systems and technology you support from both the technical and business sides. What’s the customer experience like? If you learn how to improve outcomes – the stuff customers see – people will understand the value in system upgrades and refreshes. If you can clearly communicate ideas, and talk in terms your customers understand, I think you can go further.
PM: You’ve balanced a demanding job, busy family life and school. What guidance do you offer others trying to do the same?
MR: Prioritize your time and become the master of your calendar. Make sure you allow yourself time for production, when you can focus on getting real work done. Maintaining a healthy balance for personal and professional life is difficult, so don’t be afraid to say no. You may get to a point where you’re invited to do a lot of things and you have to get selective. Time is our most precious resource, and we can never get more of it.
CIO Morgan Reed: 20 Years in the Making
Morgan Reed’s LinkedIn profile reads like that of a man with a career plan. Follow his journey – including the degrees and certifications he’s earned, and the career trail he’s blazed at companies like Wells Fargo, Intel and GoDaddy – at www.linkedin.com/in/morganmreed.
Building on his strategic education pursuits and progressive career moves, in 2015 Reed became chief information officer for the State of Arizona. As such, he’s responsible for driving the state’s technology vision and strategy, as well as continuity of mission-critical projects and systems designed to transform government services.
This entry was posted on Thu Jun 15 12:04:00 CDT 2017 and filed under