Transformational Leader ♦ Strategy + Execution ♦ Data Management & Architecture, Governance & Quality, BI, Analytics, AI
Ms. Boussias is a business technologist with deep domain expertise in Information management and enterprise architecture / digital transformation; accustomed to walking the line between business & IT, comfortable with driving change at global organizations. Throughout her career colleagues have described Dora as a “strategic thought leader” with exceptional people skills and a strong work ethic, that “gets the job done right”. Dora brings high energy and passion to her work; always leading with business context, she leverages technology and architecture best practices to simplify processes, boosts operational efficacy and drives actionable insights fueled by high quality, relevant and timely data, on solutions that balance strategic direction with pragmatic needs.
Currently and throughout her 25+ year career she has had the opportunity to be in leadership roles of enterprise-wide reach, allowing her to make an impact at global organizations in the financial services, insurance, medical technology, and retail industries.
What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?
Getting into IT stemmed from choosing to focus on software programming courses (instead of advanced literature) in my last year of high school back in the 80s, because I thought it would be the ‘profession of the future’ with high chances of making a good living. When my college internship later turned into a job offer as a programmer, I realized on the job that more than the technology itself, it was the business context communicated via the data that helped steer business decisions, I could also see that poor system architectures were creating lots of rework… and this is why for the past 2/3s of my career I’ve focused on Enterprise Information Management (EIM) and Enterprise Architecture (EA).
What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?
Approaching my work with energy and passion for well-rounded high-quality solutions, no matter how small or big the effort. It’s the best feeling to hear folks I have worked with 10 or 20+ years ago that solutions we designed and implemented back then have sustained the business through many years, long after I moved on!
What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?
1 – constant education on the why/what/how to best do it for lasting results. Folks tend to want to jump into building and delivering a technical solution, thinking shiny new tools alone will do the trick, not realizing this is not a technology problem at its core and there is no shortcut to getting reliable enterprise master data without the hard work of aligning and coordinating across functions.
2 – related to point 1, it’s influencing people to think with a product rather than project mindset and understanding different facets of the business well enough to communicate this using the right business-value examples, such that folks understand it relevant to what’s in it for them; the latter is critical to keeping folks actively engaged. Being resilient is key for both points.
3 – being in an enterprise role / global function, there is always high demand for quick access to trusted data from every corner in the organization; fielding demands, managing expectations with various stakeholders, and staying focused executing on priorities that best progress the enterprise business data strategy requires ongoing management.
How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?
Regardless where it sits in the organization structure, I consider the CDO a business leader role first and foremost, while leveraging right-fit technologies (including AI/ML) and best practice implementations. I am an advocate of business and IT needing to work closer together towards clear common business objectives, and I see the lines getting more blurred now than ever before, both formally and informally.
Do you have any planned next steps for your career?
My goal remains to intentionally drive clear business value and make an impact for the business itself, as well as the ultimate customers and beneficiaries of the organization’s products and services.
It is also hugely important for me to make a difference in the enterprise data management and architecture space by educating, inspiring, and sharing with the extended community the lessons learned along the way, all along to continue learning myself from other thought leaders and the community at large.
Lastly, I find it very rewarding to mentor younger professionals, something I’ve been doing many years now both formally and informally, and plan to continue.
What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far? Why has it been so important to you?
It’s more of a realization over the years rather than a piece of advice received, to not underestimate the criticality of the human element in driving successful data management efforts. People-process-technology sounds like a cliché but it really does take all three, with the people (and culture) component in my view being the hardest one to get right.
I also subscribe to practicing servant leadership; I value diverse thinking, being authentic, collaborative, fostering a culture of trust, credibility, integrity – with very clear expectations and holding myself and others accountable. In my experience, all these are critical to success.
Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?
Born and raised in Greece, didn’t start learning English till I was ~14, came to the US after graduating high school. Also, grew up on a farm cultivating tobacco and other crops; this really taught me the value of hard work and being grateful for a blessed life.
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