As an up-and-coming leader within Ameren’s Digital organization, Jennifer Wischnowsky was hesitant to get involved with too many extracurricular activities. After all, a heads-down approach and extreme focus on the task at hand are what helped her earn the promotion to senior manager over digital strategy & automation.
But joining the St. Louis Technology Leadership Experience (TechLX) program seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up.
The rest is history.
“I learned so much going through TechLX,” Jennifer said about the program created by Technology Partners and Ouellette & Associates. “Whether it was insights from my mentor or just helping me realize how much technology talent there actually is in St. Louis – the program made a significant impact on my career path.”
Jennifer oversees Ameren’s data team, an analytics team, the Center of Automation and the Innovation Center at the University of Illinois. She led the development and execution of the “One Ameren” data and analytics strategy and roadmap, including establishing leadership councils and executive steering committee. She is responsible for process automation, data architecture and engineering, data governance, business intelligence and advanced analytics to support Ameren’s top strategic priorities.
Jennifer’s experience in TechLX helped her understand how to communicate with C-suite leaders – and she has shared that skillset with the growing bench of first- and second-line managers within her department.
Two of her direct reports have gone through the TechLX program, as have a number of her first-line leaders. She plans on sending more.
“It’s such a valuable program and we’ve seen great results sending leaders through it year after year,” she said.
Jennifer recently sat down with Technology Partners to discuss her experience with TechLX and what she would share with others considering joining the program.
Can you tell me a bit about your background with the TechLX program?
I have an accounting background and am a CPA by trade, but I knew I wanted to do more with my career than stay strictly in finance. I was asked to stand up our process automation center of excellence. This shifted my path into Ameren’s digital function. I was a little hesitant to join TechLX but what ultimately made me join was the chance to work with other great technology leaders in the St. Louis region. Going through the program was one of the best decisions I have made as a professional.
What were the main benefits of TechLX?
I really enjoyed the networking and mentoring side of it. Not only did I learn more about how projects work and how non-technical leaders think, I was paired with a very senior tech leader who had progressed throughout various roles in the digital IT space. He was able to provide a lot of perspective on key areas of focus for me. Every organization seems to be going through a digital transformation right now. To be able to leverage those insights I learned from the program to help our internal leaders understand the value in a very strategic way, it was a very helpful experience.
What does it mean to have such a well-established leadership development program right here in St. Louis?
Honestly, it opened my eyes to realize how great our technology ecosystem is. I was able to meet a lot of people from different companies – and I learned all about the things they were working on. It made me understand that technology leaders can make a significant impact at a global scale at companies based right here in St. Louis.
How have you applied what you learned from TechLX within Ameren and your organization in specific?
Before joining the digital part of Ameren, I had experience as a business partner within the organization. What I learned in TechLX about communication and collaboration across different sectors, I was able to pass down to my team. Instead of purely technical benefits, we focus on communicating things like value realization, value measurement, and business outcomes when partnering with stakeholders. Those are some of the biggest changes I’ve been able to drive coming out of TechLX.
What would you tell up-and-coming leaders if they were on the fence about signing up for TechLX?
It’s such a great program for leaders trying to grow and develop into their career. This program is unique in that you get to interact with leaders throughout the St. Louis region, specifically in the technology space. You learn about their challenges. You identify with what they’re going through and collaborate on new ideas. I work at Ameren because it’s a steward to St. Louis. If you’re passionate about the city and care about the community, TechLX will help you have an even greater impact right here at home.
TechLX is a leadership development program that empowers, equips, and champions high-potential IT professionals as they grow into the next generation of CIOs and technology leadership of St. Louis. Since its inception in June 2018, the St. Louis chapter of TechLX has engaged over 80 companies in the area and has graduated over 150 participants. For more information on TechLX, contact Kendall Brewer, Director of Leadership Programs at Technology Partners.
About Technology Partners
Technology Partners is an award-winning, St. Louis-based company that provides solutions through talent, technology, and leadership development. In business for nearly 30 years, the company has partnered with hundreds of corporate clients across a range of industries nationwide. It is a certified Women Business Enterprise and was built upon a revolutionary transparent-margin business model. Visit www.technologypartners.net for more information.