Yesterday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Event to discuss What it takes to be a CIO with Mike McCullough from Be the Match. Thank you to everyone who joined the event and participated in the discussion!


Below you will find a summary of what was discussed.


About Mike and Be the Match

Mike’s love for technology started when he was 8 years old and began playing around with programming. His interest shifted when he went to college and got a degree in accounting. He started his career off working for KPMG, as a Senior Auditor. This role gave him the opportunity to choose another assignment to do for four months out of the year. During those four months, he spent his time as an IT consultant. After a few years at KMPG, one of their clients became the CIO at GE and recruited Mike to join him in the IT world. There was something about technology that got Mike a lot more excited than accounting. After his time at GE, he made his way to NMDP Be the Match and eventually became the CIO.

Be the Match is a part of the National Marrow Donor Program. They provide cures for patients suffering from Leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, and Sickle Cell cancers and are currently researching more cures. With the access of over 40 million donors worldwide, they have been able to impact over 118,000 lives. Its mission and vision are to save lives through cellular therapy and democratize cell therapy with equal outcomes for all.

How does IT fit into your business?

Be the Match provides services for over 118 cancer centers across the US. These services help ensure that the cancer centers have the correct technology to be able to cure their patients in need. They have a lot of different systems in place to remain engaged with these patients and make sure they stay a part of the recovery process.

What are some of the common traits of successful people in your world?

One thing that both Mike and Richard would agree is important is saying yes to new opportunities. Mike was constantly saying yes to new projects and new tasks being added to his plate, but he gained a lot of valuable experience from it. He also had the opportunity to go work in India in his 20s and un development centers for the company. He also lived in Germany for a period of time to lead the IT function for an insurance company. These were huge commitments that involved uprooting his family, but the reward was worth the risk, so he said yes. One of his traits that has made him successful is identifying his weaknesses and getting experience in those weaknesses so he can improve them. One must be willing to face their fears and hit them head-on to succeed in life.

What steps do you have to take to become a CIO?

Don’t shy away from relationships. Utilize networking and spending time with others to your advantage. Within your own company, try to build relationships with everyone and don’t discriminate based on their level. Change your everyday mindset from “how can I make myself more successful” to “how can I make everyone else around me more successful”. This shows you care for others and can display leadership qualities. Another important step is finding someone who can be a good mentor. They could be inside or outside of your organization and can really impact your career. Finding one early on in your career can be extremely beneficial. It can also be just as important to be a mentor to someone else.