Cardinal Health Discusses Mentorship and Women in Technology
Shauna Latshaw - Central Ohio Tech Power Player Honoree
Vice President, Enterprise IT - eCommerce Solutions
Director of Market Strategy - Central Ohio
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The Vice President, Enterprise IT - eCommerce Solutions for Cardinal Health, Shauna Latshaw, discusses mentorship and women in technology.
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SG: Here we are today with Shawna Latshaw. She is the Vice President of Enterprise IT and eCommerce at Cardinal Health. What a great title. What do you do?
SL: Well, you know, I have a heck of a lot of fun. Um, so my responsibilities at Cardinal are essentially to run our websites for a B2B presence, so key one, 40 billion a year flows through or order express platform. And then I also run our EDI, or electronic data interchange platforms for our entire company as well. So, when you think of the $100 billion dollars at Cardinal Health, they flow through those platforms from an ordering perspective. So, it is a wild ride, and every evening can be quite exciting.
SG: Just a little bit of responsibility there when there's, there's people that have a responsibility, and then when you talked billions. Yes, that is a, that's a new word.
SL: It is, it is. It's not the millions. It is the billions. And so it's a fantastic place to be. And I will tell you, um, been the greatest experience of my career.
SG: Now, you've been at Cardinal now for 12 years.
SG: When you started your career, did you have a mentor? Do you have one now?
SL: Oh my gosh, yes. Mentors are the single most important way you navigate. Um, started my career way back in the old days, uh, at Anderson consulting, now Accenture; worked at JP Morgan Chase – was previously bank One, then became JP Morgan Chase – worked there for a while. And then obviously, uh, Cardinal Health. And I will tell you that mentors are the only reason you survive. They coach you not only in your, really, your day-to-day behaviors, but they also put a mirror up to you-
SG: Yes, the good ones do.
SL: And remind you to be vulnerable and remind you that leadership is about inviting people into that circle, versus being hierarchical in nature. So it's a, it's a, it's a great tool. And I mentor today, it's probably the most fulfilling part of my job. Um, I feel like as a female leader on top of it, I owe it to women that aspire to be in technology and engineering roles to give back. But those mentors are the single most – and I have many, many mentors. You have to have many, because each one gives you a different lens on what you should be, could be or should be aspiring to be. And the best ones challenge you to be more than what you think.
SG: And realistically, you need more than one viewpoint. You need several viewpoints in order to fine tune your direction.
SG: You work in an organization that has been exceptionally helpful in the community for the advancement of women in technologies. Can you give us a little bit on that?
SL: Yes. Diversity is a huge, diversity and inclusion is a huge initiative at Cardinal Health. Um, you know, I would tell you that we all have goals that we aspire to that are very personal for each and every one of us. Whether it is, you know, gender, race, sexual orientation, whatever we define, and even diversity of thought, we have really tangible goals and focus on that as part of our day-to-day in terms of how we hire, in terms of how we mentor in terms of how we move talent through our organization. And we start in our – you know, I'll speak specifically from an IT perspective – we actually start in the high schools. You have to start with the STEM programs and very young because it is that, you know, it's been many, many years when, since I have been a youngster. But um, I reflect when I looked at my son when he was in the seventh and eighth grade and the women or the young girls that were in, in, you know, you could see in the math and sciences and that's when they drop out, and we know it. It's factual. We see it. And so, when you start having those interactions and the girls in coding and those types of activities, you see a very different world. I can remember when I started in IT, um, I was the only girl in the room most of the time, even all the way through college. And you know, when I got my masters.
SG: for those of you listening on the podcast that may not be aware of it, there is a program here in Dublin, uh, run by Purba [Majumder] and it's called the CoolTechGirls.
SL: I love that. Amy Weber, one of our counterparts – we have a huge contingency involved in that.
SG: We've hosted the CoolTechGirls here at Expedient and anytime that we can help do education of young ladies who want to be in the STEM space, you have to take, take advantage of that.
SL: Well, it's interesting because, you know, the CoolTechGirls, you know, WITI, if you kind of look at women in technology across, even within Cardinal, we have a women's program where we actually get together. It’s very informal. But you know, Mike Coffman, our CEO, is a huge proponent, um, and for many years was the leader of our WIN program or women network. And so it's been a phenomenal. And we have huge employer resource groups as well that have been very powerful, I think, in opening people's eyes and creating a, a completely different cultural experience. Because I do sometimes think, in the geography of Centerville, Ohio, uh, the demographics don't always reflect what the coasts have, and so it is a little bit harder sometimes to attract and retain the talent, because the coasts have a different geographic and cultural, you know, kind of mix than what we have sometimes in Central Ohio. So it's been a, it's a, it's a battle, but it's also a pleasure because the beauty of what you get to do is see young women emerge and many, many are choosing this path, but it is, it's not easy. The numbers aren't where I think any of us want them to be and I'll speak, you know, obviously as a female, um, of what I watched closely, obviously.
SL: Understood. Uh, I often will put the hashtag on that Columbus is really America's finest city. I know that San Diego might have that trademarked, but they're probably not listening right now.
SG: That's good. We'll, we'll go with that. That's right.
SG: So shifting, shifting gears a bit, um, in your role, looking at enterprise IT, especially with the dollars that you, you run through, what aspects do you think are most important for technology over the next two, three years?
SL: You know, I think um, change. And when I say change, people always given me this strange look. Um, we have to be, we have to be change agents, we have to be adaptable to change. If we are not aggressively adapting – because the speed is, I mean it's, it's breakneck speed. And so, I actually think that, quite frankly, some of the technology is, and I'm going to say this and of course all of my IT brethren are going to be like, “Seriously, Shauna?” But uh, I think the technology is the easier part. I think the cultural part of what we do, bringing people along and having them embrace the change and the speed at which change is happening? It is really, quite frankly, the most important thing we, we get to do every single day. Um, without bringing people along, the technology is, quite frankly, not relevant. And technology, I would say is, is the business now, whereas in the past, I think there has been lines of delineation. The world is tech savvy, the world is digital. Um, in the past I think there was always kind of a line in the sand and at least that's been my experience my whole career of “Here's the business, here's IT.” That’s not the case anymore.
SG: No, it's not the case anymore. And realistically, the businesses that are not leveraging technology in order to make the business unit better are not going to, we're not going to have to worry about them, because they're not going to be around in three to five years. Yeah. It's, uh, it's along those lines.
SG: You'd mentioned, uh, change and speed. Can you give us a little bit on what you think the education points are? Because you can only be educated to whatever degree you can, you can only go so deep.
SL: Yeah. I would say, there's a balance between being craftsman, right, of, uh, of what we do as technologists or in a specific technology arena or area. I think there's a huge aspect of the breadth of technology anymore that we have to be generalists in so many areas. How you navigate the breadth and the depth is incredibly hard and I think we're always going to need the SWAT teams out there educating those that are, you know, Seal team, you know, six of a, of a specific technology vertical, but the horizontal and the breadth, you have to be able to, to connect the dots of all the different facets to truly be successful. And so, when we talk about development and the best technologist are T-shaped, it really is true because…but, I still think there is a very clear place for those craftsmen, and I think there's a very, very clear role for the generalists, and as you move up you, you're forced to be more generalists.
SG: I would really like your analogy of bringing in the Seal Team Six. We have one here.
SL: Yeah, exactly!
SG: And it's, it's when, when, “In case of emergency, break glass.”
SG: Okay. Let's go break some glass. Let's go.
SL: It’s your finest minds, it’s your most technical, it's those that sometimes you look at and you're like, “Holy cow, how do you know that?” And that's, that's what it's about, is having that talent available to you and continuing to grow that talent and being fresh.
SG: Outstanding. And Shauna, thank you for the interview today. This has been Steve Gruetter with Expedient, and I've been your guest moderator today, here with Shauna Latshaw of Cardinal Health. And uh, I think this will be one of the more downloaded, uh, podcasts that we've done.
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SL: Thank you.
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