“Always keep learning” is Coleen Griffin’s biggest piece of advice when it comes to working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This mantra has led her to her current role at Stericycle and makes her a strong candidate for Crain’s Chicago Business 2020 Notable Women in STEM award.
This June, Crain’s Chicago Business is profiling the winners of its award, and we are thrilled that one of our own, Coleen Griffin, was selected for the honor, receiving much deserved recognition for her role in advancing the field of data analytics and mentoring students and colleagues in Information Technology.
Bringing Rich, Technical Expertise to Data Analytics
Coleen has a broad base of experience in technical, strategic and client-facing positions where she has managed onshore and off-shore teams. As an enterprise architect for data and analytics at Stericycle, she knits together our company’s people, processes and technology by focusing on how we use information to make better business decisions. She plays a critical role in the development and implementation of our data strategy roadmap while collaborating with a cross-functional team to determine the right systems to enable our strategy and ensure those systems are onboarded effectively.
Over the years, Coleen has used her expansive technical knowledge and strong communication skills to lead several large-scale system implementations. She currently spearheads our SAP transformation, which replaces an outdated system with a more sophisticated one. Her goal with this effort is to seamlessly move our company toward greater data optimization with minimal disruption in daily operations. Coleen’s diverse experience also helps her act as a translator for various stakeholder groups, understanding the pain points IT professionals face as well as the business objectives senior leaders prioritize.
Learning Is a Primary Driver
At Stericycle, continuous improvement is one of our six core values. This means that not only do we strive to provide the most value while being as efficient as possible, but that the organization also places high importance on individual team members who strive to continually improve and grow as individuals. Coleen has a graduate degree in Information Systems from National University of Ireland (NUI) at Maynooth and an MBA from DePaul University in Chicago. She is currently working on her research-based PhD in Information Systems through NUI Galway.
In addition to pursuing formal education opportunities, she also works to foster a learning mindset among her colleagues. For example, she organizes monthly lunch-and-learns where IT employees explore different software tools and learn how to best apply them in their everyday work routines. Coleen also developed peer-to-peer learning programs in which she brought together solution architects from across Stericycle’s global resources to discuss emerging trends and engage in informal knowledge-sharing. Coleen is a leader in the national SAP user group and hosts a quarterly podcast with Stericycle partners Deloitte and NUI Galway that examines data analytics best practices.
Throughout her career, Coleen has heavily advocated for mentorship programs, establishing such programs in almost every company at which she has worked. At Stericycle, she formalized our IT internship program, partnering with Deloitte to pair interns with mentors who can provide advice and guidance for young professionals. Throughout these efforts, she has specifically focused on supporting women in the IT field, heavily recruiting them into the technology sphere and encouraging the pursuit of a master’s level education in IT. She frequently speaks on the topic of women in STEM and founded a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Club at her high school alma mater.
Coleen Provides Helpful Advice to New STEM Professionals
Looking back on her career and educational pursuits, Coleen has found that having mentors to guide her throughout her journey has been an essential part of her success. She also emphasizes the importance of maintaining both internal and external professional networks and keeping abreast of what’s new in her field. Stericycle is proud to have Coleen, and other employees like her that make an impact far beyond just their job description to find efficiencies and consistently improve processes and culture.
For more information about Stericycle’s team, culture and values, visit Our Culture.