Adriana Karaboutis - Dell
Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Adriana (Andi) Karaboutis is Dell’s Vice President and Global CIO, responsible for managing an efficient and innovative global IT enterprise focused on technology breakthroughs for the company and its customers. Prior to her appointment in 2011, Ms. Karaboutis was Dell’s vice president of IT supporting the product groups, manufacturing, procurement and supply chain operations. Previous to Dell, Ms. Karaboutis spent over 20 years at Ford Motor Company and General Motors in various global IT and business operations leadership positions. Ms. Karaboutis received a B.S. in Computer Science as a Merit Scholar from Wayne State University, and has completed the accelerated Marketing Strategy Program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
The nation that masters how to innovate faster and better is a nation that is poised to succeed. Given that, and the fact that 15 out of the 20 fastest growing occupations (per U.S. Department of Labor) involves STEM competencies indicates that a STEM enabled workforce is critical for innovation and success. As we look to Asia and Europe, we see a strengthening of math and sciences while our college entry scores show that on average, less than 50% of our students are truly prepared for college in math and less than 30% in science. If we further look at the statistics for women and minorities, they are even more sobering. If we don’t make this a priority for our nation, we will find ourselves challenged economically and socially.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
It is critical for senior leaders to provide mentoring and coaching opportunities in support of building STEM strength at all levels of education. Sharing our real experiences around what can be accomplished is not only enriching but provides young minds something tangible to aspire to. Real challenges, wins, losses and accomplishments can be very inspiring when they are conveyed on a first-hand basis. In addition to providing time for mentoring, senior leaders need to get actively engaged with schools and educators to provide extracurricular programs that demonstrate how textbook knowledge is applied in the business world and how it is at the core of transformation and innovation in most industries.
What can we do to assure more women leaders in STEM?
Be an example ourselves. Share our story of how STEM was the foundation for our success. We need to help build confidence in women and demonstrate how science, math and technology is now at the core of everything we do. As one example, the digital environment is ubiquitous and that environment is based on STEM. We should have educators partner with the many professional organizations across the country that are supporting the growth of women and minorities in STEM careers and foster an environment of education and business application in unison. To focus on STEM education is good, to partner it with business/industry focus is great.
Of what one initiative are you most proud?
As a past president of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT), I watched an organization of extremely motivated women and technology sponsors provide time and funds through our foundation to running summer camps, science competitions, and provide college scholarships and mentoring opportunities for girls and women showing an interest in science, math and technology. To watch elementary school girls build robots out of Legos and put them in motion was hugely rewarding. These programs helped fuel and strengthen the confidence of girls and women and taught them to not be intimidated by careers in technology and sciences.