Patty Morrison is committed to her mission. As the CIO for Cardinal Health explained to her team last fall there simply is not enough diversity and not enough women in IT. It’s a theme that parallels the idea behind the founding of CoolTechGirls, a program encouraging middle and high school girls to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Founded by Dublin Entrepreneurial Center tenant and Cybervation CEO Purba Majumder, CoolTechGirls hosted an event at Cardinal Health in February with Morrison talking to the girls about the need for more women in IT. Ed Stein, director of warehouse management systems and enterprise information technology for Cardinal Health, told those in attendance, which included his own daughter, “Young women, such as yourselves, need to have a role model. I can think of no one better to model than Patty Morrison.”
Morrison easily related to the girls, especially some of the struggles they are going through now. She told them how she loved math in grade school, but struggled with word problems. “My patience to work through difficult problems built my confidence as a girl,” she said. “Sometimes, the perception is that it’s hard. Sometimes, you have to have confidence in yourself that you can figure it out.”
She says she loves solving problems: “That’s what we do in technology.” Morrison noted that it’s a skill that’s useful in fashion, sports, healthcare and marketing. In fact, she said, she started her career in marketing for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati. “In marketing, I needed really deep analytical skills,” she said. Those skills helped her to measure such variables as whether sales really to go up following a Super Bowl ad.
During a question-and-answer session, Morrison advised different options the girls might explore during college. “If you’re interested in IT and healthcare, you could go into healthcare, such as nursing, and sprinkle IT courses into your career path,” she said.
She also talked to the girls about opportunities for internships at Cardinal Health, and noted that it helps to be resilient. “My job has been eliminated a couple of times along the way,” she said. One thing she looks for in determining a job candidate’s “soft skills” is how well they deal with rejection in their life.
Other qualities she looks for in future employees are how well they solve problems, both work-related and personal; leadership experience, including working with clubs and organizations in college; ability to have conversations with people; and how well they interact with others.
Following the session, Stein and Lauren Robinson, a senior analyst at Cardinal Health, took the group on the tour of the company’s international headquarters. Stein also offered opportunities for the girls to meet one-on-one with women in IT who work at Cardinal Health. “Somebody helped them and they want to help you,” he said.
CoolTechGirls frequently holds meetings at the DEC, including a Glowie Monster Event on March 7. For more information on opportunities for girls, and for companies who would like to host or provide mentoring experiences, visit cooltechgirls.org.
Seventeen middle and high school girls – and a few parents – attended the Cool Tech Girls meeting at Cardinal Health to learn more about STEM careers from CIO Patty Morrison.