On Wednesday, we hosted a Virtual Think IT Panel Event on the topic, The Winding Road. Our esteemed panelists highlighted the aspects of their career journey that didn’t show up on their resumes. A huge thank you to our panelists, Julie Durham, SVP / CTO of Software Engineering at UnitedHealth Group, Matt Neale, Chief Information Officer, UnitedHealthcare Provider & Shared Services, Marc Kermisch, Chief Technology Officer at OptumRX, and Kim Skanson, President, Cargill Business Services for sharing their career journey’s with us.  

What were the defining moments that steered your career in a specific direction? 

Some defining moments in the panelist’s careers were moving to different industries, different companies, and even other countries. They all learned to try new things and not take safe bets. The panelists took chances and used their mentor to help guide them in the right direction. A career should not take over your life and interrupt the other aspects of your life.  

What advice would you give a college student interested in technology when the path now seems so specific (right major, right internship, etc.)? 

For college students who are interested in technology, they should know that they are choosing an industry with a high growing demand with not a lot of resources out there. There will be jobs in technology has technology is always changing. College students are to find their passion and not just do something for their resume or the title. There is no right major or right internship, so chose something that you can learn in.  

Do you have a mentor? If so, how important has their role been in your career journey? 

The panelists all have mentors that are important to them. Some of them have had their mentors for so long that they had made close relationships with them and trust them. Colleagues can turn into mentors as well as continue to be a part of your network. Also, the panelists agreed that what goes around comes around, so they make sure they can be mentors to others if needed. If you are a mentor, you don’t need to have all the answers, but you help guide someone down their next path.  

What are the biggest mistakes most people make in their careers? 

Some of the biggest mistakes people make in their careers are not focusing on the community and their network.  Not only is it important to build your network, but it’s also important to give back as well. Also, remember that you own your career. There is a whole world out there with new opportunities and choices, so you want to make a change, give it a try. The panelists also agreed not to be in a rush. Be comfortable with going sideways or backward in your career because there is no right answer. Your career and your life are intertwined, so think about your life holistically 

It was insightful and inspiring to hear how the panelists got to where they are today. They each had a different story and gave useful advice on how to continue your career growth. Thank you to everyone who joined us as well!