Wellspring Academy Trust
jonny Wathen – CIO Interview Series
Can you please provide a little introduction about yourself
I am currently the CIO of a large Multi-academy Trust that operates within the North of England.
What has your journey to your position been like? What path have you taken?
As a former teacher with a passion for technology I have supported a number of educational organizations with digital transformation initiatives. In my current capacity, I lead an executive portfolio consisting of commercial, digital and performance services.
Has it always been your vision to reach the position you’re at? Was your current role part of your vision to become a tech leader?
I have always wanted to make a difference in all that i do. I believe that as an executive leader within an organization that operates 28 academies I am able to make a difference at scale. I also enjoy collaborating with others across and beyond the education sector.
Have you had a role model or mentor that has helped you on your journey?
I have a number of personal and professional role models however my grandfather stands out for me due to his kind, caring and empathetic nature coupled with this relentless work ethic in order to support his family.
How do you see the role of the technology leader evolving over the next 5 years?
As more organizations embrace technology to connect, collaborate and communicate I believe the role of the technology leader will become more focused on people and change than on the technology.
What skills do you think leaders of the future will need in order to thrive?
I believe the focus should be on interpersonal skill development. Skills such as relational practice, developing trust and showing empathy. The ability to demonstrate active listening and be diplomatic. The ability to influence and persuades. The ability to communicate effectively with absolute clarity. Finally, the rate and pace of technological developments will require technology leaders to continue to synthesize information and deliver simplicity from complexity.
How do you keep current with new skills, technologies and personal development?
I utilize a leadership coach to support with my personal and professional development. I am currently completing an MBA and enjoy participating in a range of networks and online communities as part of my CPD. I also enjoy reading (and listening to audio) books!
What do you see as the next leap in technology that will impact your business or industry in particular?
I believe natural language processing will revolutionize the education sector both for individuals and educators alike.
If you were mentoring a leader of the future, what advice or guidance would you give to help them on their way?
Innovate. Believe in yourself. Push the boundaries. Take risks. Learn from failure.
Is there anything in particular that you would still like to achieve in your career or what is the next step on your journey?
I would like to grow my personal and professional networks and continue to make a difference to the lives of others.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Everyone should have equal access to education.
A big thank you to Jonny Wathen from Wellspring Academy Trust for sharing his journey to date.
If you would like to gain more perspective from Tech Leaders and CIOs you can read some of our other interviews here.