Q&A with sgLEADERS: Julie Vargo, The Ohio State University | npENGAGE

Q&A with sgLEADERS: Julie Vargo, The Ohio State University

By on Feb 10, 2020


higher education advancement, professional development

The “Q&A with sgLEADERS” series on sgENGAGE aims to provide readers, including the next generation of social good leaders, with valuable insights from executives across the social good community.

Today’s Q&A is with Julie Vargo, CIO of Advancement IT at The Ohio State University. She is responsible for the leadership, strategic direction and oversight of information technology and records for the university’s advancement office, and currently serves as the chair of the Blackbaud Higher Education Product Advisory Group.


Q: What led you to working in higher education?

A:  Honestly, I was more focused on working for Ohio State than in higher education.  Although, now I take great pride in working in higher education fundraising and I have a passion for making higher education more affordable and accessible.


Q: What do people think you do during a typical day… and what do you actually do in a typical day?

A:  Think: Meetings, meeting, meetings. Do: Meetings, meetings, email.


Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of as CIO of The Ohio State University Foundation?

A:  The successful implementation of several IT systems; the largest one has been Blackbaud CRM™.


Q: What role does technology play in your institution, and how do you see it continuing to have an impact in the future?

A:  Technology plays a huge role in our institution in all areas; academics, employment, medical center, and fundraising. A large impact in the fundraising space is the expectation for personalization.   The advances in technology and data collection continue allow us to refine our solicitations, so we can provide communication and options for giving that meet our donors needs/wants.


Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received that has guided the way you lead?

A:  Do not be afraid of change, consider it job security.


Q: What’s the most surprising place you draw inspiration from for your work?

A: My kids.


Q: What are you reading right now and/or what podcast are you listening to?

A:   Books:  I have several books on my nightstand – everything from IT project management trends to women in business to historical fiction.

Podcast:   My favorites are Pivot and This American Life


More about Julie:

As CIO of Advancement at Ohio State University, Julie Vargo is responsible for the leadership, strategic direction and oversight of Information Technology and Records. She has over 25 years of experience in a diverse range of technologies and business industries, with the last 14 years in higher education.  Her specialty is in her ability to implement large scale projects and strategic initiatives.  She has been an active participant of the Blackbaud Higher Education Product Advisory Group since 2012 and currently serves at the group’s chair.


As the principal content strategy manager at Blackbaud, Christine combines her passions for communications and social good, managing sgENGAGE and ensuring that the company is providing content that advances the thinking of the social good community. Christine believes that effective communication is an essential aspect to achieving social impact, whether an organization is a funder, nonprofit or technology company.

Prior to joining Blackbaud, Christine worked for nearly a decade in the corporate philanthropy, where she managed global health grant programs, product donations, disaster response and program communications. She was also a UNA-USA Blogger Fellow to the 2015 Social Good Summit. You can find her on Twitter at @newman_ca.

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