Women in IT Series: Bellverie Elaine Ross

Bellverie Name: Bellverie Elaine Ross

 Company:  City of Charlotte, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO)

 Job Title:  Senior Program Manager/Enterprise Program Management Office Manager

 What does your company do?  The City of Charlotte provides services to more than 750,000 residents of the Queen City.  The City of Charlotte is the 17th largest city in the United States and is a council-manager form of government.  In 2012, Charlotte hosted a successful Democratic National Convention (DNC) welcoming more than 50,000 visitors.

 Yes, but what do you actually do? In this position I am responsible for organizing and overseeing projects across the enterprise.  Specifically related to delivery technology that enables seamless citizen service, my job entails technology related to our 311 contact center, telecommunications, mobile platforms, and more.  More recently, I led the City’s Enterprise Program Management Office for the DNC.  Delivering more than 100 diverse projects enabling public safety, communications, transportation, and more, the team was successful in making Charlotte stars on the world wide stage.

 Where did you go to college? What is your degree in? I have a BA in English from the University of Colorado, an MBA from Wilmington University in Delaware, and I am  a Ph.D. Candidate  in Organizational Behavior/Information Technology at Capella University.

 Did you always want to work in IT?  No, but I always enjoyed taking things apart and figuring out how they worked.  I originally thought I would be a lawyer.

What is your favorite part of the job? Innovation is my favorite part of the job.  Having the ability to think outside of the box, and create solutions that enable businesses to deliver services to customers.

Describe the work environment at your company. The City of Charlotte is comprised of 14 departments that in essence are separate business units that perform distinct functions.  Inclusive of public safety, solid waste services, transportation, shared services, and much more, the work environment regarding information technology is a federated model that enables shared technologies across the businesses, but permits businesses to operate technologies unique only to the department.

What qualities do you need to have to do your job? I have more than 25 years of diverse business and technology experience in both the public and private sectors.  Working with technologies from main frames to mobile phones, the ability to have the knowledge because of past experiences, to be innovative, flexible, act as a negotiator, and be patient are important qualities.

What is (in your opinion) the biggest misconception about working in technology/IT? The biggest misconception about working in technology/IT is that all of the positions require technology backgrounds.  Technology touches every part of our lives and to implement technology it requires cognitive skills that reside in understanding the business needs.  Technology enables business.

Any advice for students or professionals going into your field? Some students don’t choose technology as a field of study or career saying it is too hard, but what they should know is although it is hard, it is always exciting and challenging. The job you start off with will change and evolve because there are so many different opportunities and the speed of change in technology enables new ideas and new Mark Zuckerbergs every day!

Personal hobbies and/or interests: Reading, Writing, and Ballroom Dancing, especially Latin dances (Salsa, Cha-Cha, Rumba, Argentine Tango)

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