Detroit is growing the IT ecosystem and Tracy-Ann Palmer is playing a leading role.
When Palmer moved to Detroit seven years ago, she was surprised to see how few opportunities existed for C-Level Information Technology (IT) executives to network with each other. That surprise begat action, and she started the Midwest Technology Leaders Symposium as a way to exchange knowledge and improve succession planning.
“It was a travesty that we had such a strong group that wasn’t getting together,” said Palmer, the executive director of ARZIKA, which provides clients with year round strategic insight and experiential marketing critical to accelerating business growth. .
There were a number of reasons why she wanted to get those technology leaders together. Her career told her events like this help companies with their succession planning, innovation and helping raise the overall skill level of an IT community.
Vid Byanna, executive director of Global Infrastructure for Accenture, was a featured speaker at the conference. He agreed this type of event is crucial for the IT community in Detroit to thrive.
“There is no substitute for IT leaders making a conscious effort to grow talent in the region. It’s about growing the ecosystem. As the saying goes, a rising tide raises all ships,” he said.
In addition to the conference, Palmer noted several other ways for Detroit’s IT community to continue educating itself. For example, a CIO mentoring program is a part of the Symposium and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology is a great resource for women and men. Organizations like Automation Alley and Society of Information Management allow people access to IT professionals from major companies as well as IT entrepreneurs so budding professionals can stay on top of trends in the industry.
“Everything we do has a ripple effect in which the result is everyone getting the education they need at the level they’re at,” she said.
That education is more critical now than ever for Detroit. With the country’s fastest growing IT job market and the growing acceptance of cloud computing, Byanna sees many opportunities for people willing to educate themselves.
“We are still early in the maturity curve of cloud computing, so that shouldn’t deter people from getting into the profession,” he says. “People will be needed to help companies make the transition. By learning how to leverage the cloud, you make yourself more valuable for business.”
For the IT professional who wants to put his or her head in the clouds and be part of a growing ecosystem, Detroit is the place.