Scott Findlater - CIO - Anord Mardix

Wael YOUNAN

CIO / CISO

CalOptima

Wael younan – CIO Interview Series

Can you please provide a little introduction about yourself

I am currently in a dual role capacity as both the Chief Information Officer and Chief Information Security Officer for CalOptima in the city of Orange, CA

What has your journey to your position been like? What path have you taken?

I have been in healthcare IT for over 22 years. I began my career as a field tech for Lucent Technologies, later moved into a NOC role with Kaiser Permanente and spent the next 13 years there in various roles from operations, engineering, consulting and management in both network and security capacity. I learned a LOT working for Kaiser Permanente and left there as a Consultant-Specilaist. That set me up for the my next role at CareMore/Anthem as a Security Advisor, which quickly turned into a Senior Security Advisor to the CIO. I stayed in that role for 4 years building and improving our security posture and interoperability efforts. I later made the migration to Los Angeles County Department of Health Services as a CISO for Ambulatory Care, Correctional Health and Managed Care Services for 4 years prior to joining CalOptima as their CIO/CISO. I have a unique perspective having been in both private and public, along with on both sides of the payer and provider networks. My goal here is to advance the technology initiatives by embarking on a Digital Transformation journey.

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 lead but did not expect to take on a CIO role. What I found is that a CISO background allows me to provide secure technology implementations from an IT perspective with a heightened focus on security, which is extremely important today.

Have you had a role model or mentor that has helped you on your journey?

I have had numerous role models on my journey. George Halverson was Kaiser’s CEO during my tenure. George along with Bernard Tyson did a fantastic job in leading with compassion and care. Later I had the pleasure of working under Leeba Lessin and Sachin Jain at CareMore, same rules apply. I currently work for Michael Hunn as the CEO at CalOptima and see the same values and leadership with both him, along with our COO Yunkyung Kim. These leaders focus on our members and what we provide and a continued focus on our role in helping the community we serve. It is inspirational, that leaders like this, have the potential to save or improve millions of lives and that aligns with my mission and the reason I have remained in healthcare for so long. We don’t produce widgets, we impact lives!

How do you see the role of the technology leader evolving over the next 5 years?

Technology leaders really need to adapt to business minded individuals. Everything we tend to touch has a technology component on the back-end. We can help improve Digital Strategy, Enterprise Resource Planning, Human Capital Management, Finance, Analytics etc. All to help the business function and meet its Mission and Vision. As a strategic partner to the business, technology leaders can really improve overall impact to the organization.

What skills do you think leaders of the future will need in order to thrive?

Business Acumen. As stated above, we need to have a heightened focus on interoperability and building relationships at all levels, both upstream and downstream

How do you keep current with new skills, technologies and personal development?

I’m an avid reader, I enjoy networking and collaboration with others for brain-think and constantly study reports, videos and conference material to remain current and keep a constant heartbeat.

What do you see as the next leap in technology that will impact your business or industry in particular?

Robotic Process Automation, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, along with cloud services. Not in any particular order but those emerging technologies and can provide significant workflow optimizations, improve accuracy and in a timely manner.

If you were mentoring a leader of the future, what advice or guidance would you give to help them on their way?

Start with your team. People, Process and Technology is stated as such, as that is the right order. Build trust within your team, you can lead without a title and others with titles don’t lead. When you take care of your team, they will develop the process and improve the technology…without our teams, we can accomplish nothing.

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 want to be the best CIO in healthcare. Not looking for an award, looking to be rewarded with the work I do, the services I provide and the lives I improve along the way, both for my team, our members and our partners.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Equity. I feel that everyone should have the ability to succeed, thrive, be healthy and treated fairly.

A big thank you to Wael Younan from CalOptima for sharing his journey to date.

https://caloptima.org

 

If you would like to gain more perspective from Tech Leaders and CIOs you can read some of our other interviews here.

 

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