MENTOR CREATING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MOVING WOMEN FORWARD IN STEM
Cindy Langston has traveled the world forging positive relationships and focusing on diversification. Her ability to take a technical solution and translate it into business solutions and results has successfully made her a sought-after leader in the health insurance industry.
As vice president of the EPMO, Data Platform & Integration and Architecture at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, she oversees three key divisions within Information Technology that reach about 1.2 million of the health plans members. As a key advisor to the chief information officer, she provides direction, technical advisement and authorization to carry out major changes to IT processes or procedures. She also oversees a portfolio of over 90 active projects, working collaboratively with business partners to ensure cost-effective, high-quality implementation of enterprise-wide projects.
Throughout her career, Langston has proven to be a collaborative, approachable manager who generates peak levels of performance from staff members through individualization, creating a common vision, forging positive relationships and focusing on diversification. She has extensive experience in manufacturing and spent a decade as an international consultant, where she led large, global IT implementations in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Singapore, Scotland and Seoul.
In the words of Cindy Langston:
What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
“STEM is different from other disciplines in that it often is comprised of an informal technocracy. That is, those with the strongest ideas and those willing to back them up with facts move forward and up the ranks. Women need to understand and believe that being outspoken and assertive about technical issues is how women will move forward in STEM fields.”
What barriers are in the way to closing the gender gap in STEM?
“Stereotypes about women’s abilities and their role in the family are still barriers often keeping women from pursuing math and science careers. The world is changing. More and more men are staying at home, being more flexible, helping with household work, and taking on a greater role in child rearing.” How is the world changing with respect to STEM? “For people of color, engaging and keeping them in STEM is only getting worse. Schools are more racially and economically segregated today than they were 35 years ago.”
Where do you see women in STEM in five years?
“Too many people see diversity today as a politically correct concept. But a diversity of ideas, backgrounds and experience is what has made our country so rich with ideas. Women have been making progress in STEM, even with the slower growth for some groups. If women who’ve been fortunate enough to move forward in STEM continue to mentor young women and provide them leadership, then I see STEM opportunities for all women continuing to grow.”