Walk us through your CIO path. How did you decide to pursue a career in technology, and how did you progress to your current organization?
During college, I majored in Accounting/Financial Administration where I continued to find myself having to pay a tech company to fix my computer. Being a typical broke college student, one time I decided to use the manual to completely take my computer apart, fixing the memory and motherboard issues myself, then rebuilt my computer and repaired it myself; at that time I vowed that no one would ever fix my computer again, except me. This started my journey and career path in technology. I studied for the MCP, MCSE, along with Cisco and various technical certifications, taking miscellaneous jobs along the journey to becoming proficient and expert in infrastructure technology. After spending 12+ years in the medical industry for Fortune 100 companies, I was offered an opportunity to enter sports as the VP/ CIO for the Phoenix Coyotes NHL Club. By leveraging my networking and collaborative style, I began to build SEAT (Sports & Entertainment Alliance in Technology). I built SEAT in an effort to bring together global sports leaders to share and learn from each other to transform the way the sports and entertainment industry used technology into a fan experiential solution with revenue-generating opportunities. Through my 14-year relationship with multiple NASCAR executives from my SEAT consortium, NASCAR trusted me to run their technology organization and guide them on a new technology journey, hence my current role!
Tell us about your company. Speak to the industry, the size of the company, and the services provided to your customers.
NASCAR is the sanctioning body for the stock car racing industry and is a privately held company by the France Family established by Bill France Sr in 1948. NACAR is one of the 6 major professional sports leagues across the sports & entertainment industry in the US along with NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. NASCAR currently has 2,300 employees across 6 corporate office locations and owns 12 race-tracks across the US.
In my role I have the following teams reporting into Enterprise Technology:
- Data Strategy, Engineering, Architecture & BI Analytics
- Desktop Engineering & Service Desk
- CRM Strategy, Solutions & Architecture
- Information Security, Compliance and Audit
- Enterprise ERP, Applications, Development & Support
- Network Engineering & Architecture
- Servers, Storage, Cloud Engineering & Architecture
- Consumer Technology Solutions & Strategy
- Ticketing Technology & Strategy
- Technology Procurement, OPEX & Capital Financial Administration
What are your top 3-5 (ongoing) main priorities as CIO in your organization?
My top priorities are:
- Continuing to embody and organically embed a culture of collaboration, transparency, consistency, trust, and strong business ethics.
- Establishing a technology organization and technology leadership team that feels empowered and trusted to create internal customer relationships to position the Enterprise Technology Department as a trusted partner across the France Family enterprise of NASCAR, Executives, Race Track Presidents, and all of the France Family owned businesses.
- Establishing and building a new network architecture that incorporates SDWAN, WAN optimization, edge computer to increase operational efficiencies and lower costs.
- Continually maturing the enterprise-wide data strategy, data engineering & business analytics to evolve NASCAR as a data-driven organization.
- Continue building the security team with deep strengths in security and technology training, evolving the maturity model of a security ecosystem of solution partners moving NASCAR into a ZeroTrusted environment.
I’m focused on evolving my technology organization to embrace and become deeply trained in cloud architecture and cloud security as we build a hybrid architecture and move more applications and systems to the AWS and AZURE clouds.
How do you decompress from your role as a technology executive? What do you do for fun?
There are a few activities I deeply enjoy to help me decompress from the daily demands of my role. I love chatting with my 4 grandchildren on FaceTime and hearing their wonderful stories. I’ve been riding street motorcycles for 36 years in which I currently own a Honda Repsol 1000 and a Honda CBR 600 sportbikes in which I enjoy riding to get my mind off work and focus on enjoying the outdoors. Upon moving to Florida in March of 2020, I have been thoroughly enjoying kayaking with my husband in a variety of beautiful clear springs across Florida. This is my ZEN for quiet time in Mother Nature. Also, my husband and I have 3 dogs and love taking them on adventures across Florida. We have a 9-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, a 4-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, and a 2-year-old Czechoslovakian German Shepherd. I have a love of training dogs and have raised 15 German Shepherds in my life-time
Can you list your top 1-3 books that you would recommend for a technology leader to have on their bookshelf/Kindle?
Can you share a specific quote that is a source of inspiration for you as a leader?
I keep this quote as a reminder to myself but also for my technology leaders and staff.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”John Quincy Adams
Please share a recommendation or testimonial on the benefit you see as a member of this CIO Professional Network.
The CIO Professional Network is an incredibly diverse group of technology leaders with a keen desire to share their experiences and wealth of knowledge with each other. This is the ultimate cross-pollination of expertise, leadership tips, strategies giving everyone new ideas for their continuing career journey.