From space exploration to war combats, women are ever-present in a variety of fields that have been traditionally dominated by men. Today, more men assume home and family care duties. Nevertheless, studies show that women continue to bear the majority of domestic responsibilities while still balancing increasingly complex careers. With such demanding responsibilities overhead, the life of an executive woman is not a cakewalk.
One woman who beats all odds and achieved individual and corporate success is Sallie Wright, CIO for Fulton County Government. With a wealth of experience in information technology and a broad specialization in information security, she effectively leads Georgia’s largest local government through the use of modern technology. Sallie has built her career in multiple industries ranging from consumer products to higher education. Her passion for work has been the drive behind her engagement and contributions within public and private sectors.
Remolding the Business in Fulton County
Motivated by the opportunity to improve processes, technology and enhance people’s skills, Sallie figures among the executive leaders of the largest County in Georgia. “Driven” is the word which best describes her. As CIO, Ms. Wright oversees the daily operations of the Fulton County IT department and provides guidance for technology decisions. She also develops adequate planning approach to implement new strategies. The CIO is aware of common views about government having slow technology upgrades and ongoing challenges to provide easy service access to the citizens. With such awareness, Sallie outlines her goals to reinforce digital solutions within the County. She aims to achieve 3 main objectives:
- Develop a transparent and a cost effective plan to limit unnecessary trips made by citizens to service locations when conducting business with the County.
- Transition County staff activities from paper processes to automated workflows.
- Facilitate new businesses establishment and relocation within Fulton County.
Passion Drives Sallie to Improve the Services of the County Government
Sallie works extra hours and earns lower pay than many in the private sector in her Fulton County CIO’s position; however, she is highly committed. She believes that her present contributions bring more value than any positions she held in the past. Through her tenure at Fulton County, she has implemented a governance structure to increase IT assets and prioritize projects as well as capital spending. Her strategic plans are designed in ways that align with the County strategic goals. She has further executed and classified County projects into three categories namely, essential, functional and transformational. Each category is designed to create higher impact on the County business processes. Infrastructure projects led by Sallie are focusing primarily on providing required technology solutions to enable network replacements, hardware virtualization and desktops upgrades. Sallie similarly leads other projects to simplify data communications across judicial systems and reduce detention delays within correctional facilities. Furthermore, the CIO’s functional and transforming projects are redefining the entire County system workflows for services such as restaurants health inspections and collection of tax appraisal information.
An Active Member of Atlanta Technology Community and Achiever of Respected Positions
Sallie Wright is known to be an active member of the technology community within the Atlanta region. She serves on multiple well respected boards and committees notably, Kettering Executive Women Board of Directors, Atlanta Technology Professionals Executive Advisory Board, Technology Association of Georgia Public Sector Board, Technology Association of Georgia HR & Diversity Board, Governors Computer Information Systems Technology Advisory Committee, Governors IT Task Force, Georgia Piedmont Technical College Computer Information Systems Advisory Committee, PowerMyLearning Greater Atlanta Region Board and CISO Executive Council. Ms. Wright is also a member of the Georgia CIO Leadership Association (GCLA) and a mentor for students of the Georgia State University Robinson School of Business since 2013. Sallie was inducted into the Pink Tech Hall of Fame in 2015 and was nominated Georgia CIO of the year in 2016 and 2017.
In spite of her busy lifestyle, Sallie strives to maintain a work-life balance. She defines success as such, “Success is that warm feeling when you or your group produces something wonderful that makes a difference in the lives of the citizens.” Under Sallie Wright’s leadership, Fulton County Government is continuing to explore digital services that will expand citizen access to areas including justice systems, public health, public safety, public works, and more.
Confidence Is the Key to Success
Commissioners, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Strategy Officer and County Attorney, constitute just a few of successful roles upheld by women at Fulton County Government. Hence, Sallie advises young working women to be confident and to believe that they are as competent as their male counterparts. To her fellow executive women, Sallie suggests maintaining a high professional network, with colleagues, external partners, vendors and others. Ms. Wright further recommends her peers to stay informed of technologies innovations, to uphold commitments, to take credit for accomplished works and to always seek a mentor or coach for guidance.