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SIM Leadership Spotlight July 2014

"Leadership Spotlight" includes interviews with Chapter Presidents, SIM Board members, Management Council members and other SIM leaders.  "Leadership Spotlight" will not only highlight SIM’s leadership and chapters,  but it will offer insight from our leaders on topics, treads and issues facing the Society, our chapters and the IT industry.


 An archive of interviews will be found HERE.

July 2014
Name: Yasmin Shah
SIM Role: San Diego Chapter President


1. Please provide an overview of the SIM San Diego chapter.

San Diego Chapter has been in existence since 2011.  We currently have about 70+ members.  Every year since then we have been holding 2-3 chapter events, full day CIO Summit and a member only holiday party with spouses.   Our events are held at different venues in San Diego; member companies, breweries, restaurants, hotels and boat cruises.  We have frequently included tours of the venue prior to the event, the brewery one was very popular, also a tour of a brand new hospital before it opened drew a large attendance.   For most of our chapter meetings we find a local startup company that is in the same space as the topic of the event, and give them a 10 minute time slot to present.  We choose companies that are looking for CIOs to participate on their advisory board.


2. What are your goals for your term as the President of the SIM San Diego chapter?

I am co-founder and president of the board.  The other co-founder and membership chair is Barb Munro.  We worked very hard to form the chapter and generate interest for SIM in the CIO community.  Our focus was to build a strong board, and we knew membership would follow.  That is exactly what we have been able to achieve.  Barb is amazing in building relationships and has played a strong leadership role in getting the membership to what it is today.  Steve Phillpott our program chair has done a phenomenal job finding speakers for our events.  Colin Black is the treasurer and the most successful fund raiser in terms of corporate sponsorships.  Bob Cohen has helped us build strong partnerships with the Academia.  Our newest board member is Abe Lietz, secretary on the board and Mike Zill is our board advisor.  Each board member has their own area of focus, however we all help each other and pitch in wherever needed.  As an example Colin was able to work with FBI to host one of our chapter events at the FBI headquarters in San Diego, and Bob was instrumental in putting together a CIO and student panel discussion on social media.

3. What are the hottest trends in the industry? 
The focus of our meetings have been around hottest trends in the industry that pivot around growing the business, attracting and retaining talent, keeping the enterprise secure and being efficient with the new technologies in the IT industry. 

To understand the hottest trends from a fresh perspective in the IT industry, we invited 6 Bay Area well-funded start-up companies to present at one of our chapter meetings this year.  The focus broadly was cloud, security and big data.  We have also focused two events contrasting the majority of current IT workforce and the new Internet generation (Gen Z); one discussing the difference in how to attract and retain that talent, and the other on how that generation sees Social Media.  

Leadership development in these challenging and changing times was also a focus of one our chapter meetings.   The FBI event about cyber security was eye opening in terms of the tremendous threats that pose to companies across all industries/sizes, and how we are losing data, money, ideas and innovation to a wide range of cyber adversaries.   We had a chapter meeting dedicated to discussing how big data tools could be used to capitalize on the opportunities for impacting business in areas that has not been possible before.  Also, the event on Social Media focused on how to grow your business using social media.

4. What challenges is your chapter currently facing? 
The challenge we face today especially in San Diego is that the high tech, bio tech market is very volatile and ripe for acquisition.  The changes in these businesses drive a change in our membership thereby making it a challenging job to recruit members and maintain a cohesive group.  Two off our board members have gone through their companies being acquired. 


5. What is the one piece of advice you will give the next President of the SIM San Diego chapter? 

We have worked very hard to build a membership that is predominantly CIOs or heads of IT department.  We have consciously limited vendors and 2nd layer of management for smaller companies.  This decision has helped us keep the CIOs engaged and interested.  We have often talked about opening the membership in the future.  My advice to the next president would be to be careful and methodical in opening the membership base.  


An archive of interviews will be found HERE.


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