Twin Cities Symposium Addresses Critical Leadership Gap: Boards of Directors Lack Necessary Technology Knowledge to Drive Business Growth

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Aeritae Consulting to Host Fortune 500 Executives April 17 for “Electing CIOs to Corporate Boards” Event

A premier Twin Cities-based management consulting firm to Minnesota's Fortune 500 companies.

"...this expertise gap is getting in the way of providing critical oversight and guidance on IT issues. It’s a risk - and a missed opportunity." - Holly Morris, former CIO and corporate board member

Aeritae Consulting, a premier Twin Cities-based management consulting firm to Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies, today announced that the company will host a thought-leadership symposium addressing the impending need to fill the gap between corporate strategy and technology expertise. “Electing CIOs to Corporate Boards” is an invitation-only event that will be held April 17, 2013 from 7:30 am – 1:00 pm at the Saint Paul Town and Country Club. During the symposium, C-level business and technology leaders will discuss the importance of bringing CIOs to the board table, a critical need as technology has gone from primarily an expense issue to an integral part of a company’s strategic backbone.

Despite the transformational impact of technology on businesses and the huge investments companies make in technology, the majority of boards lack the IT experience to provide oversight and strategic direction. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), less than 1% of board directors have technology experience and less than 50% believe they can make appropriate technology decisions, yet the same survey reports that 60% of directors want to devote more time to IT issues in the coming year. According to Spencer Stuart, a leading executive search consulting firm, while 2012 saw a 20% increase in the number of CIOs added to boards, a huge gap remains as the number is small compared to the business needs.

“Call it a confidence gap, a bias, or a communication breakdown between business and technology. Some board members are intimidated by technology or have had bad experiences with CIOs; some CIOs don’t talk in business terms, or focus on tactical details,” says the symposium’s co-creator, Holly Morris, a former CIO and corporate board member. “Whatever the reason, the reality is that many board members aren’t confident in their ability to steer the company’s technology strategy. And this expertise gap is getting in the way of providing critical oversight and guidance on IT issues. It’s a risk—and a missed opportunity,” says Morris.

Over forty Twin Cities CIOs will gather with industry experts to answer the questions, “How can boards leverage CIO expertise?” and “How should today’s CIOs prepare for future board opportunities?”. Susan Boren, recognized board expert and leader of Spencer Stuart’s board recruiting practice, will deliver the keynote session highlighting key findings from the 2012 U.S. Board Index Study. Bob Concannon, Senior Client Partner for CIO/CTO recruitment at Korn Ferry will focus on the CIO leadership qualities necessary as more CIOs join boards. Holly Morris, former CIO of Thrivent, will facilitate panel discussions with prominent executives and board members, including:

  •     Brigid Bonner, VP, Schwans Digital Marketing; Director, Analyst International Corp
  •     Kathryn Correia, CEO, HealthEast
  •     Pat Donovan, CEO, Bremer Bank; Director, HealthEast
  •     Alice Richter, Director, G&K Services, BlueStem, West Marine, Thrivent
  •     Becky Roloff, CEO, YWCA; Director, CH Robinson, Allina
  •     Earl Stratten, COO, TCF Bank; Director, Medica

“We consult with hundreds of CEOs and CIOs, and despite the best intentions of these senior leaders we see the communication gap and the frustration it creates,” says Mike O’Keefe, Aeritae principal and host of the symposium. “This same gap often gets played out on boards. But we also see that the best CIOs are excellent business executives who bring a unique and valuable perspective to boards. This symposium is an opportunity for them to hear more about board service, to explore how best to contribute their expertise, and to talk with experts about how to prepare themselves for board opportunities,” said O’Keefe.

If you’d like more information about this event visit the event page here. To schedule an interview with Mike O’Keefe or the event speakers, please contact Mike O’Keefe at (612) 860-5122 or mokeefe(at)aeritae(dot)com.

Aeritae Consulting Group is a premier Twin Cities-based management consulting firm providing practical actionable recommendations and solutions to virtually all the Minnesota Fortune 500 companies. We provide guidance through innovation, balance and performance. We work with our clients to help them solve their most complex business problems through five key IT areas: Leadership and Organizational Services; Service Management; Governance, Risk and Compliance; Infrastructure; and Architecture. We create value by understanding business needs, transferring our extensive wisdom and knowledge, delivering innovation, and tying it into the organization’s big picture, producing measurable results in the shortest time possible. Aeritae was recognized by The Business Journal as a “Fast 50” growth firm and by Upsize Magazine earning its Culture & Values Award for building a values-driven culture within a virtual working environment. For more information visit

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