Beth Killoran, CIO, HHS
As CIO, Beth Killoran has set forth a long-term strategic plan for IT at the Department of Health and Human Services. Paramount are a number of cybersecurity programs and processes — like continuous diagnostics and mitigation — and next-generation IT services, she said. “This is a complete change in IT service management, with the objective to provide visibility and transparency into provider performance and align services to support mission requirements. We seek to improve our capabilities, processes, and establish a way to provide innovative and practical end-to-end IT services to HHS.”
Can you talk about the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you conquer that challenge?
The biggest challenge I have faced is establishing work-life balance. I love my job, but having the email going through dinner, missing school plays, or skipping annual check-ups doesn’t work. Both aspects of my life are very important to me and I came to realize I need both equally to be happy. My family centers me, stimulates ideas, and teaches me every day. Each of those improves my abilities and attitudes at work. Now I have boundaries between the two worlds, because each needs time to strive separately or they suffer together.
What would you say to young women who are thinking about a career in technology or related fields, or just starting out in their careers? What’s the best advice you could offer for success?
With any career, there are things that are good/fine/not so good. Don’t go into a field or job because of statistic or availability. Go into because you have a passion for it or a desire to learn. Any career will have twists, turns, and forks along the path. Treat each of these course changes as a new learning challenge or growth opportunity, because they can lead you to a great destination.
What/who inspired you to get into your field of work?
My parents told me to go into the IT field because IT was really easy for me in high school. I didn’t listen to that advice, because I wanted a challenge. Destiny intervened and I landed where I should have.
Why is it important to you to empower women and other minorities to join more technical and technology-related fields?
Gender and racial/ethnic diversity brings more perspectives to the table, which leads to a higher group-knowledge and more creativity. This allows organizations to be more effective in performing and problem-solving.