Commentary
1/31/2008
05:52 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary

Life After CIO

Gail Farnsley, CIO of Cummins, is leaving her post to create and oversee a new technology education effort at Purdue University. So there is life after the CIO position, after all.



Gail Farnsley, CIO of Cummins, is leaving her post to create and oversee a new technology education effort at Purdue University. So there is life after the CIO position, after all.Farnsley, who was named as one of InformationWeek's Innovators & Influencers for 2008, has been CIO at Cummins, an $11 billion manufacturer of power systems and supplies, since 2005. Farnsley was cited by InformationWeek for her innovative efforts to create an IT executive leadership program at Cummins. Here's what Cummins said about Farnsley's career change in an internal e-mail:

This is to inform you that Gail Farnsley, Cummins' Vice President and Chief Information Officer, will be leaving the Company in February to accept an exciting new role at Purdue University's College of Technology. Gail's new position at Purdue, which includes a visiting professorship, will focus on three areas:
  • Demonstrating how technology can be used to address larger societal issues, such as in nonprofit organizations.
  • Understanding why women and underserved populations aren't choosing technical careers, and launching initiatives to increase their participation.
  • Further expanding Purdue's technology involvement as it relates to globalization and, specifically, activities in India.
  • Cummins also was nice enough to offer encouragement for Farnsley's move both in spirit and in more worldly ways:

    While Gail's departure is a loss, this initiative plays into some of Cummins' strategic goals in technology, diversity, and social responsibility, so we will be one of the sponsors of the program.

    Farnsley said this about her new project in an e-mail exchange:

    This is something I have wanted to do for a while and it just worked out that now I have the chance to pursue a dream of mine. I will be creating the vision and strategy to support development of a Center on Technology & Society. I have been involved in community work for a long time and have always been interested in how we can use technology to support community groups and nonprofits. Till now I have always done this in my "spare time," now I get to focus on it full time. Other areas of interest to me are how we can use a focus on technology and society to encourage more young women to consider technology careers, as well as continuing some partnerships I have already developed within India.

    What about you? What are your plans, post CIO? Academia is certainly an option. What about entrepreneurship? There's got to be more to life than IT, right? Or is there?

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