Meg McCarthy - AETNA
EVP, Innovation, Technology, and Service Operations
Meg McCarthy is EVP, Innovation, Technology and Service Operations atAetna. Meg also has responsibility for process and performance improvement, procurement and real estate services. Prior to joiningAetnain 2003, she was SVP of Information Technology at CIGNA Healthcare. She has 30 years of IS and health care operations experience, a Master of Public Health (MPH), Hospital Administration, from Yale University, and a B.A. in Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude, from Providence College. Her military experience includes U.S. Navy Medical Services Corps; Lieutenant at Bethesda Naval Hospital; and U.S. Navy Reserves, Lieutenant Commander.
Why do you believe STEM Education and Workforce are important to our nation?
As our economy becomes increasingly technology-driven, nurturing a workforce well-trained in the STEM disciplines is critical to the advancement of our country. By 2018, 8 million jobs in the U.S. economy will require a college degree in STEM. To maintain our global competitive edge, we must put the effort into making these subjects a key focus early on in our classrooms. We also must acknowledge the dearth of women in STEM jobs. There is a ripe opportunity for women to fill non-traditional positions in STEM roles as our workforce grows.
What traits do senior leaders need to effectively support and advance STEM today?
As with any dynamic requiring much-needed change, leaders need to keep an open mind and a long-term view as they develop strategic plans. There are plentiful opportunities to support STEM-related education, training and research in disciplines beyond those we traditionally see women in. It is also vital leaders promote collaboration and development throughout their organizations; non-technical individuals working closely and transparently with STEM roles. I’m also a strong proponent of mentorship.
What principles do you apply to your professional and personal life to advance the STEM cause?
As a woman in a STEM leadership role, I try to behave as a role model in my personal and professional endeavors. Professionally, I help clarify the line of sight from the work we do to the importance of keeping our constituents healthy through technology tools and solutions. Innovation and technology drive the future of health care, so the work we do is actually shaping the future of health care. Focusing on core company values, sharing our goals and vision with industry colleagues and business partners, and being an active member of the health information technology conversation are principles that help me bring STEM to a greater light.
Which woman leader do you most admire, and why?
I particularly admire Rear Admiral Grace Hopper – a U.S. Navy officer known for conceptualizing machine-independent programming language and credited for developing COBOL (as well as the term “debugging”). I share with her a history of service in the Navy and a Yale education. As a Navy Admiral, Grace received the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, and has had Navy ships and supercomputers named for her. She achieved great success while simultaneously serving her country and revolutionizing the computer age. An outstanding role model for any woman interested in a STEM career, her accomplishments demonstrate the achievements that are attainable, even in what have been traditional male-dominated fields.