Lisa McVey: CIO, McKesson

Lisa McVey

Meet one of Little PINK Book’s Top Women in Technology 2012

By Caroline Cox

McKesson Corporation is the largest pharmaceuticals company in the world. And as CIO of its Provider Technologies and RelayHealth Connectivity Solutions, Lisa McVey heads up the largest division of tech solutions. She directs and manages communications, network services and more while ensuring her departments are accomplishing goals. One of her projects alone generated $18.6 million in new revenue.

McVey joined McKesson in 1994 and is a recent graduate of the WIT capstone Executive Coaching program. Plus, she’s a Six Sigma Black Belt.

Education: Akron University

Other work experience: Prudential Insurance Company

LPB: Where did you get your passion for technology?

LM: Healthcare is changing in ways we couldn’t have predicted years ago. Technology is changing faster. The need to match these changing environments is what drives me to help advance our customers, the business, the teams and people. I must stay engaged with both worlds. I know I am in the rare percent group as a female senior IT leader. I must always be aware of my surroundings and ready to act. You can’t be fearful or afraid to move.

LPB: What was the biggest career obstacle you faced?

LM: My life has been about overcoming obstacles and challenges. By the time I was 13, I lost my father and stepfather to massive heart attacks. I have lost my grandmother and mother to Alzheimer’s. I lost a husband to cancer over 10 years ago. I have been through what most people my age are just now starting to face. I have experienced the healthcare system in a personal way. My attitude is positive. I look at the glass half full all the time. I’m not going to allow life or a challenge at work to put me in a corner.

LPB: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

LM: I was first chair clarinet in orchestra. I also played in the marching band, played the baritone saxophone in the jazz band and piano. I also swam butterfly and 500- yard freestyle. My hair had so much chlorine in it that it was green.

LPB: How can more women be successful in the technology field?

LM: We must train and mentor our younger generations. They are our future. This must be seen as no less important than a major strategic or operational challenge. The workplace “innovations” [we need are] policies to support working mothers, networks to help women navigate their careers and formal programs for professional development. I am not afraid to put programs in place that drive progress. I am the sponsor for our women’s employee resource group. I’m proud to work with several local colleges to help drive female enrollment into STEM careers.

LPB: What’s your success secret?

LM: I have a strong faith. I treat people the way I would want to be treated: with respect and caring. You can have it all, but don’t expect to have it all at the same time. Find mentors and sounding boards, listen to what they say and study successful leaders. Course-correct constantly. Foster collaboration, seeing everyone as a potential business partner. Remember you are working with people who all have a life, and personal situations do arise. I believe key characteristics of successful executives are: self-awareness, humility, honesty and the ability to navigate obstacles. And they must give back – mentoring is a must.

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