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Patty W

Patty Wasylchuk

A change agent that values opportunities to try something new.  She leverages combinations of people, processes, technology, and a wide range of career experiences to support business growth and wellness.

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

Early in my career, I was attracted to IT because of the challenge.  The sense of accomplishment of big projects going live was extremely satisfying.  Being one of a few women at the table, made me proud and helped me grow my resilience. But looking back now at 20+ years of my career, I realize I am attracted to building something.  In IT building was tangible: ERP go lives, installing a PIM. Now that I have moved between IT and business roles, I see that building something takes on many forms.  Now it is less tangible: building corporate analytics capability and building a new consumer direct sales channel.  When you get it right, it is still extremely satisfying.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

From a resumé perspective, I think launching the consumer direct sales channel within a very mature company gave me the most lessons.  We had to pull together so many different parts of the business to make it successful.  It took a village and forever changed my perspective on how major corporate change happens. 

From a personal career perspective, I think earning the trust of a kind soul that worked in our warehouse.  She wasn’t confident in her ability to adequately thank our President for the annual bonus, and each year she brought me a blank ‘Thank You’ card so we could work out the words together and had me write it for her.  The trust Kim gave me, will forever be one of the proudest moments, and confirmed any doubts I had that having empathy as a leader is so important.  

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

One of the big challenges is building the awareness of how powerful applying analytics to business problems can be.  Making “let’s see what the data tells us”, or “could we predict this with the right data” regular phrases in the boardroom.

As that awareness grows, the next challenge is the connection between business process and quality data.  We are working with our business leaders to connect the improvements they want to make, to the processes that produce the source data they require.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

As a company matures in their digital transformation, I can see the role of the CDO fragmenting into an additional accountability for the C suite roles.  CMOs, CFOs, CIOs, COOs all are responsible for getting the most business value out of their areas of accountability.  As awareness builds within an organization of how their company data drives this, the CDO role will no longer be a point person for this value. 

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I hope I get to learn more about another unique area of a business beyond what I’ve had the experiences in so far.

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?

If a manager you trust (and I can’t stress that ‘trust’ part enough -this is not random water cooler talk) says you are ready for the next opportunity, even if you’re not sure yourself, try to find the courage to go for it.

I took leaps of faith a few times, and although the first few months into new roles weren’t comfortable, those leaps have consistently given me the very best growth opportunities.

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

That for quite a few years, I was a single Mom of 2 kids, trying to do my best.

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