June 2012 CIPS Volunteer of the Month:
Deborah Harrop, I.S.P., ITCP, CISSP, CBCP, CISM
Senior Manager, IT Service Delivery, Workers’ Compensation Board Alberta
What is your Background?
I had an early mid life crisis. I went back to school in my thirties to take a diploma program in Computing Systems Technology at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). While it was a two year program if you went full days, I was working full time and, as a result, spent 5 ½ years at night school. It was a lot of fun and a great deal of work, but ultimately very rewarding.
I started my IT Career with Canadian Utilities as a mainframe Help Desk Analyst while I continued with my studies at NAIT. Night shifts and carrying a pager provided great experience in time and crisis management. I moved on to develop a real love for Disaster Recovery Planning and IT Security as I lead those teams with the same company, rebranded as ATCO I-tek. After 10 years an opportunity came to my attention at WCB where I have spent 12 years in a variety of areas including IT Security, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning. I spent a few years managing the teams responsible for Infrastructure and Operations and most recently I’m leading the teams responsible for IT Security, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning, Help Desk and Desktop Support, Enterprise Architecture and IT Finance and Contracting. The most fun I have though is in leading the groups that provide governance over our outsourced Application Development and Maintenance, helping to ensure that WCB Alberta is investing in the best tools and applications to meet our business objectives.
In my spare time in the summer I indulge in my love of gardening. Peter, my husband, and I have an award winning garden that has been featured in several magazines and on a number of fund raising tours for charities and not-for-profit organizations such as Alberta Ballet, local libraries and women’s shelters. Peter deals with the hardscaping, music systems and lighting while I take care of the plants. We both enjoy sitting in the gazebo with a glass of wine when the work is done! I spend the winter months enjoying my other love – painting. I dabble in oils, acrylics and most recently using pencil crayons. I think I’m returning to my childhood – anyone else recall colouring in maps of Canada with pencil crayons?
What type of Involvement have you had with CIPS?
I have had the privilege of working with great volunteers with CIPS in a number of capacities. I served on the local Board in Edmonton for a number of years and helped to chair the program committee for the National Conference. The friendships I developed there have lasted for many years. The past 12 years I have been involved with the Edmonton CIPS Women in IT Conference committee. We organize and host an annual conference at the University of Alberta for 350 Grade nine female students to help them understand what a wonderful, rewarding career IT can be. It is so gratifying to hear them adopt our messages that IT Careers are not just for geeks and that girls can be very successful in IT.
What value has your involvement with CIPS provided?
The connections I have made through CIPS have helped me move forward in my career and provided me with amazing opportunities to work with motivated, passionate and dedicated IT professionals. The experience I gained through my work with CIPS has lead to new job opportunities, the ability to participate in marketing CIPS and the IT Industry, and to give back to both the industry and to the community.