CIO of the Year Awards



 

          


2021 CIO of the Year Award

On October 14, 2021, SIM Chicago, AITP Chicago and the Executives’ Club of Chicago held a Virtual Awards Ceremony for the 2021 CIO of the Year Awards.  Please join us in congratulating the 2021 Honorees.

Special congratulations to Scott Morgan , VP, BusDev & Technology, Dental Lead  of the Dearborn Group & CIO,, our 2021 CIO of the Year!


AITP Chicago, SIM Chicago and The Executives’ Club of Chicago wish to congratulate Scott Morgan, VP,  BusDev & Technology, Dental Lead  and CIO of the Dearborn Group, who was chosen as the 2021 CIO of the Year! Nominations were made by CxOs and senior business & IT executives, and all judging and elections were done by peers in the IT community.  The award was presented as part of a Virtual Awards Ceremony held on October 14, 2021.

The award is given to an individual with experience in driving business value through creative leadership, innovating through technology, and creating business partnerships and best-in-class workplaces for IT professionals.  The CIO of the Year Award has been presented for 26 years to a Chicago-based CIO whose accomplishments and innovations have created meaningful advances in the city’s IT field. 

In his role, Scott Morgan is responsible for establishing and executing the strategic vision for information technology throughout the Dearborn Group enterprise.  He leads a large team of technology professionals and is responsible for the transformative modernization roadmap. He also leads business development, which includes strategic partnerships and distribution arrangements. 

Additionally, Scott leads strategy and innovation for the dental line of business, which is one of the largest dental programs nationally.  He oversees network recruiting and operations as well as clinical support. In his role,also has responsibility for DenteMax, which is one of the largest leasable dental network companies in the country.

Over is career, he has served in various leadership roles, including chief of staff and vice president of operations.  He has also held positions in financial analysis, risk management, corporate development, strategic planning, marketing and corporate communications.

Special 2021 Awards

CIO Innovator of the Year

This award recognizes a CIO who has been especially innovative in his or her approach to producing business results far above the other nominees.

The 2021 CIO Innovator of the Year Award Winner is Bill Blount, CIO of benefitexpress.

Bill Blount has recently moved from benefitexpress to VelocityEHS as their CIO.

Bill Blount is a transformational Chief Information Officer known for a people-first mindset which enables him to build collaborative, high-functioning teams in rapidly growing companies. His organizations consistently deliver business value through digital solutions. 

Bill was a member of the leadership team that achieved the sale of benefitexpress from its private equity owner to WEX in 2021. Before joining benefitexpress, Bill was the Chief Technology Officer at PayFlex, where he led the post-acquisition integration of PayFlex into Aetna. Throughout his career, he has built and managed highly scalable and resilient solutions for PayFlex, FTD.com, and Restaurant.com. He has consulted for clients as diverse as the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Oracle Corporation. 

His experiences have inspired him to serve as a mentor to university students taking their first steps and those already progressing on their career paths.

CIO+ Award

This award recognizes a CIO who has successfully expanded his or her current role into other business areas like Operations, Marketing, Sales, CEO role, etc., thus, broadening their impact on driving success for the overall business entity.

The 2021 CIO+ Award Winner is Tracy Elmblad, COO &CIO, Hinshaw & Culbertson


Tracy Elmblad currently holds a dual role of Chief Information & Operating Officer at Hinshaw & Culbertson, a 425+ lawyer firm with 24 offices.  With over 30 years of legal experience, she is responsible for the execution, management and delivery of the firm’s technology resources in addition to HR, Risk Management, Marketing, Knowledge Management, Facilities and Litigation Support.

Tracy was formerly the CIO of Bingham McCutchen, a Global AmLaw 50 firm with 1,000 lawyers and 29 offices.  In 2011, she was proud to win ILTA’s Sharepoint Innovator of the Year.  Tracy joined Bingham in 2008 as the Director of Applications & Development.  She climbed the IT management ladder at Bingham and was promoted from her original position to Director of Applications, Development, Project Management and Customer Service in 2010; in 2012 she became Director of IT, in 2014 she moved into the top role of CIO.   

Tracy was the Co-Founder, Managing Partner and Principal at Aztech Consulting Group, LLC for 11 years prior to joining Bingham as a Director.  As a Principal of Aztech she consulted with over 30 law firms and legal departments in the Northeast, including Seyfarth Shaw, priceline.com, Fidelity, BiogenIDEC and Mintz Levin. 

CIO of the Year Program - Overview

Meet the 2021 CIO of the Year Candidates

Meet the 2021 CIO of the Year Judges

2021 CIO of the Year Timeline

Since 1995, the Society of Information Management Chicago Chapter together with The Executives’ Club of Chicago and the AITP Chicago Chapter have recognized technology leaders with the premier CIO of the Year Award in Chicagoland.   Beginning in 2019, three additional premier organizations have joined in recognizing the CIO of the Year – Chicago Innovation, i.c.stars and Evanta/Gartner.

Selection considers leadership in driving business value, technological innovation, business partnerships and creating best-in-class workplaces for IT professionals. Finalists will be interviewed and the winner will be announced at SIM Gala on October 14, 2021.

In 2019, we added two additional categories:

  • CIO Innovator of the Year recognizes a CIO who has been especially innovative in his or her approach to producing business results far above the other nominees.
  • CIO+ Award celebrates a CIO who has successfully expanded his or her current role into other business areas like Operations, Marketing, Sales, CEO role, etc., thus, broadening their impact on driving success for the overall business entity.

If you know a company that is doing great things because of its technology leadership, please submit a CIO of the Year Award Nomination.

Each year, 20+ top CIO's are nominated by their CIO peers and company CEO's. Those nominated receive a formal application and prepare an in-depth write-up on their key initiatives, contributions and impact covering several key category areas such as:

      • Leadership Role in the Business
      • Value Creation
      • Value Protection
      • Team Development
      • Building Relationships
      • Technology Leadership/Innovation
      • Community Involvement

Each of the CIO category answers are individually scored on a 1-10 basis by a panel of judges consisting of C-Level executives.  Finalists are then interviewed by senior C-Level Executives to determine the CIO of the Year.

To be nominated the CIO must have held the top IT position in the company for at least two years and be recognized as a leader in the industry. The nominee does not need to be a member of The Executives Club of Chicago, SIM or CompTIA AITP, but must be available to attend the SIM Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony (tentatively scheduled for October 14, 2021).

View Past Winners

On October 15, 2020, SIM Chicago, AITP Chicago and the Executives’ Club of Chicago held a Virtual Awards Ceremony for the 2020 CIO of the Year Awards.  Please join us in congratulating the 2020 Honorees.               

2020 CIO of the Year Award

On October 15, 2020, SIM Chicago, AITP Chicago and the Executives’ Club of Chicago held a Virtual Awards Ceremony for the 2020 CIO of the Year Awards.  Please join us in congratulating the 2020 Honorees.

Special congratulations to Heather Nelson, SVP & CIO, University of Chicago Medicine, our 2020 CIO of the Year!


AITP Chicago, SIM Chicago and The Executives’ Club of Chicago wish to congratulate Heather Nelson, SVP & CIO of University of Chicago Medicine, who was chosen as the 2020 CIO of the Year! Nominations were made by CxOs and senior business & IT executives, and all judging and elections were done by peers in the IT community.  The award was presented as part of a Virtual Awards Ceremony held on October 15, 2020.

The award is given to an individual with experience in driving business value through creative leadership, innovating through technology, and creating business partnerships and best-in-class workplaces for IT professionals.  The CIO of the Year Award has been presented for 25 years to a Chicago-based CIO whose accomplishments and innovations have created meaningful advances in the city’s IT field.  

Heather Nelson is currently in the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Information Technology division at UChicago Medicine. In the role of SVP/CIO, she is responsible for supporting all the information management systems (clinical & business/administrative), infrastructure, clinical engineering, IT support services, IT Project Management Office, integration, reporting, and analytics capabilities & technologies, as well as the privacy & IT security functions for UChicago Medicine. Her teams are comprised of talented IT professionals that are dedicated to supporting patient care and care teams throughout the health system and in our communities through a shared services operating model. 

Nelson joined UChicago Medicine in 2014 as the Executive Director of Applications Systems with oversight of all the clinical and revenue cycle management applications, clinical engineering team, population health strategies and systems, and support of the UCM Care Network strategies and systems. She was named Interim VP/CIO in August of 2017, named the VP/CIO in April of 2018, and promoted to SVP/CIO in 2019. 

Prior to joining UChicago Medicine, Nelson spent time at Baystate Health in Springfield, MA as a Senior Director of Applications and IT Operations, including an Interim CIO assignment and 10 years at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI with roles in Laboratory Services, Case Management, and increasing leadership responsibilities within the Information Technology division. Nelson holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Alma College in Alma, MI as well as a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University. She is a Certified Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) through the CHiME organization. 

“I am incredibly grateful to be chosen as the 2020 CIO of the Year,” said Nelson. “Chicago is a leader of tech innovation and excellence, and I am proud to represent the work of UChicago Medicine and our wonderful team. It is an honor to be receive this award amongst such an accomplished group of tech leaders and I look forward to continuing to make Chicago a global leader for technology and innovation.”  

Special 2020 Awards

CIO Innovator of the Year

This award recognizes a CIO who has been especially innovative in his or her approach to producing business results far above the other nominees.


The 2020 CIO Innovator of the Year Award Winner is Sean Katz, CIO of the Vitality Group USA.

Sean Katz, Chief Information Officer for Vitality, has extensive experience in Health IT technology, specifically in the payor and wellness space. He has spent the past 24 years working in this field - both locally and abroad - providing advanced technology solutions to solve complex business problems.

Sean rejoined Vitality Group at the beginning of 2013 and is responsible for the technology that helps people drive engagement in their health. This includes using IOT to get device data into real time journeys that incentivize people to complete healthy activities. Recently, Sean has worked with leading life insurance companies, including John Hancock and Manulife, to attach the Vitality program to their insurance products.

During his tenure, Sean has been responsible for re-architecting and building a new claims system and introducing new technology stacks and systems to better service clients and internal company operations.

Sean received his Master of Science degree in Computational and Applied Mathematics from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and his Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of South Africa.

CIO+ Award

This award recognizes a CIO who has successfully expanded his or her current role into other business areas like Operations, Marketing, Sales, CEO role, etc., thus, broadening their impact on driving success for the overall business entity.


The 2020 CIO+ Award Winner is Jill Albin-Hill, VP for Operations & Technology and CIO, Dominican University

Jill joined Dominican University in 2003 as Associate Director of IT, becoming Director of IT in 2006, CIO in 2009 and VP in 2013 before assuming her current role that brings together information technology, facilities, and security.

In her sixteen years at Dominican University, she has had the opportunity to grow and learn about many aspects of university administration. Her work has been driven by a keen interest in customer service and a strong desire to exceed expectations. She is passionate about helping others utilize and leverage technology in effective ways and is proud of the pervasiveness and usefulness of IT today. No longer begging for a seat at the table, there is hardly an initiative on campus in which the technology division is not involved.

Jill has also served as an Adjunct Professor for the past 13 years..

Prior to joining Dominican University, Jill served as the Manager of Technical Services at Consolidated Communications.

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