Kelli Trosvig: MHA, 1994
Kelli Trosvig, a 1994 alumna of the MHA Program, has been appointed Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer for the University of Washington. Trosvig previously held this Vice President position on an interim basis. President Michael Young praised her for leading UW-IT "out of a challenging situation and putting it on a path of fiscal responsibility and restraint."
When Trosvig took over UW-IT in August 2008, it had an accumulated $40 million deficit and had eliminated 100 positions. "The fundamental problem was IT was trying to be very responsive to the needs of campus without understanding the costing and the models behind it," she said. "We had to come back and balance things." She also had to rebuild trust between the IT department and faculty, students, and staff.
"The pace of technology change is astronomical right now," said Trosvig, who is credited with important initiatives such as upgrading wired and wireless networks, enhancing mobile offerings, and beginning the long-overdue process of modernizing teaching and administrative platforms. "Helping to navigate the choices is what IT is here for – really knowing when to lead, advise, or just enable is key for an IT organization to add value."
In her position, Trosvig is responsible for strategic oversight, planning, and direction of UW's information technology infrastructure, resources, and services. She also works with UW's President, Provost, and other committees to determine information technology strategies, policies, priorities, and resource allocation.
Trosvig has been at the university for more than 20 years, including eight years as Director of Health Sciences Administration, where she was responsible for several key initiatives: the creation of a Division of Bioinformatics, one of the first in the country, and a major redesign of central administrative systems user interface for the campus.
On the value of an MHA
"It's a great program that involves leadership and management. I was particularly focused on working in the public and nonprofit sectors," she said. "It gave me real skills and experiences that have helped me to this day: the importance of doing your own research, keeping up an intellectual aspect to your leadership, and seeking out a variety of opinions on important issues. The MHA program allowed me to step back and be more strategic and thoughtful about how you both manage and lead an organization. It's probably what's resulted in me being here."
Many faculty members made an impression on her, including Cheryl Scott, a now-retired clinical professor of Health Services who is President Emerita of Group Health Cooperative and Interim Director of the Integrated Delivery Global Development Program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Other faculty Trosvig cited include Austin Ross, Professor Emeritus of Health Services; Pat Wahl, Professor of Biostatistics and former Dean of the School of Public Health; and Martha Pilcher, who taught quantitative methods.
Advice for young alumni
"I think sometimes you need not to take the straight and narrow path in your career. Sometimes a vertical move or a step back to gain new skills is valuable. I've never really worried about the title as much as I have about the team and project. I've had a lot of titles, like special assistant, project analyst, acting COO. It is really about the contribution you make, the ability to learn new things and the relationships you build."