Seminar Series October 25, 2012
Martha Heller, President, Heller Search Associates

The CIO Paradox

October 25, 2012

About the CIO Paradox Program

Regardless of industry, most major companies are becoming technology companies. The successful management of information has become so critical to a company’s goals, that in many ways, now is the age of the CIO. Yet IT executives are besieged by a host of contradictions: bad technology can bring a company to its knees, but corporate boards rarely employ CIOs; CIOs must keep costs down at the very same time that they drive innovation. CIOs are focused on the future, while they are tethered by technology decisions made in the past. These contradictions form what Martha Heller calls The CIO Paradox, a set of conflicting forces that are deeply embedded in governance, staffing, executive expectations, and even corporate culture. Her book, The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership will be published on October 16, 2012.

Based on in-depth interviews with a wide array of successful CIOs, more than 12 years working closely with the CIO community, Martha’s presentation offers guidance to CIOs on how to attack, reverse, or neutralize the paradoxical elements of the CIO role, and level the playing field for IT’s success.


Martha Heller is president of Heller Search Associates, a Boston-based executive search firm that specializes in IT leadership positions. Prior to founding Heller Search, Martha was Managing Director of the IT Leadership Practice at ZRG Partners, a global executive search firm. Before establishing her career in executive search, Martha was Founder and Managing Director of CIO magazine’s CIO Executive Council, a professional organization for CIOs. She continues to engage with CIO audiences through her monthly column in CIO magazine, as author of’s Movers & Shakers blog, and as author of You and Your CIO, a blog on Martha has presented on “the CIO career” at CIO events, the CIO Executive Summit, MIT’s emerging technology conference, SIM, the United Nations Forum on Women and Technology, and numerous academic executive programs. Martha is also on the judging panel for CIO’s prestigious CIO 100 award. Martha received her B.A. in English from Hamilton College and her M.A. in English from SUNY Stony Brook.

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