Leadership Means Testing Your Limits
CIO Straight Talk|Issue 8

A senior IT executive in the traditionally male world of brewing capitalized on her project management and problem solving skills to generate value for a new and unfamiliar part of the business.

When I was growing up in Alabama, you couldn’t buy Coors beer. People would leave the state to bring it back and that created a lot of mystique around it. Today, having spent the last 35 years at Molson Coors, I have to say that the company is still something that you’d go out of your way for. It’s a pretty great place to be.

I started working for Coors as an accountant and held various positions in finance and accounting for nearly 20 years—corporate reporting, sales and marketing finance, planning and forecasting, and supply chain finance, to name a few. When I took a role leading finance for the supply chain, I put together a business case for a new inventory system. We were the world’s largest brewery but we had been taking manual inventory counts weekly. And there was a lot of inventory! It was going to be a massive SAP project and the brewery vice president and company controller suggested I run it. Even though I wasn’t the most technical person on the planet, they were both rather insistent. It was my first IT project management role, but it wouldn’t be my last.

It was a big risk – and it turned out to be one of the best career moves I could have made. When I moved into this area I wasn’t an expert—far from it. I had to move from being a manager to being “leader.” In my previous roles, I knew accounting and finance from the bottom up.

But IT was new to me. I knew how to ask questions, listen, and leverage ideas, but I had to rely on others’ knowledge and experience in order to do detailed problem-solving and get things done. The project expanded and soon replaced some of the Y2K work we were doing. I wound up overseeing the largest ERP project implemented at Coors up to that point. (We’ve done bigger ones since then!) After we successfully completed the project, I had the option to go back to finance, but the CIO asked me to stay in IT. He thought I could leverage my approach and my problem-solving skills to get benefits of the kind that we had been struggling to achieve from our big technology projects.

A Fresh Approach

Ultimately, I created a business case for delivering technology projects differently. In the past, the company had approached them as a technical exercise. They didn’t look at the role of change management, process transformation, and business ownership in deriving value from these implementations. I created an internal change management and process design group inside of IT, a strategic move that still exists and today serves the company well in terms of project execution.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine



Vote counting in the union push at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, is expected to start as early as Thursday, but hundreds of contested ballots could muddy the outcome if it’s a close race.

2 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #493


The findings reinforce concerns that differential privacy will lower the quality of the data used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts. They also suggest that the census figures won’t support efforts to protect the power of minority voters and comply with court rulings requiring districts to have equal population numbers.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #493

This Florida Drug Smuggler Escaped 7 Life Sentences—Twice

Dickie Lynn’s story shows how the drug war warped the Criminal Justice System.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
April 2021


The U.S. Air Force announced that the new U.S. Space Command headquarters will be in Huntsville, Alabama, after the state was selected over five others competing for the project, including Colorado, where Space Command is provisionally located.

3 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #481

The man who built the foundation

Perkins will always be remembered for ending the dark era

3 mins read
The Giant Insider
January 04, 2021

List of needs no longer imposing

With the regular season rapidly winding down, the needs of this team moving forward are pretty obvious, aren’t they?

2 mins read
Dolphin Digest
January 2021

Lowe Mill Arts

An Art Pilgrimage in Huntsville, Alabama

6 mins read
Winter 2021

Salvation Through Dictation

Charlotte attorney—who can’t type—has first novel published 61 years after stroke at birth

3 mins read
Charlotte Magazine
August 2020

Flo Milli Is Only Going Up From Here

The rising rapper from Mobile, Alabama, spins rhymes that sound like schoolyard taunts.

8 mins read
New York magazine
August 3 - 16, 2020

Wind ships ahead: Technology pulling more power from sails


4 mins read
Professional Mariner
May 2020