Steve Hodgkinson - CIO of the Department of Health and Human Services and Victorian State Government
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Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.
Welcome to the boardroom.
Michael Murray 0:51
Steve, thank you for joining C suite partners in the boardroom.
Steve Hodgkinson 0:55
Great to be here.
Michael Murray 0:55
Let me understand your career from maybe 10 years ago to where you are now.
Steve Hodgkinson 1:00
I’m a an executive that moves back and forth between the public sector and the private sector. So I’ve worked in a number of different departments in the Victorian public sector, and also in a range of different consulting and advisory firms consulting back into public sector organisations. I’ve been for the past four and a half years, the CIO of the Department of Health and Human Services and Victorian State Government.
Michael Murray 1:29
What about the technology capability of the public sector compared to say, the private sector?
Steve Hodgkinson 1:36
Yeah, because the public sector has in government organizations generally have a bad rap for their reputation have the capacity to execute digital transformation. So the thing that drives me is fixing that problem. And I often describe it is, many years ago, many public sector executives lost their digital mojo. And my mission in the department that I’m in across the human services sector in Victoria, and across the health sector, is to restore and digital mojo. These days, IT and digital technologies are fundamental to our capacity to do anything in these organizations, we’ve got to be able to do IT project successfully.
Michael Murray 2:23
Tell me about a role that you stepped into and thought this is a bit out of my league, and you had to upskill really quickly.
Steve Hodgkinson 2:31
Right? So most many roles are kind of have been like that, quite frankly. And it’s a question of having the basic confidence to know that you’ve been in that situation before and it will somehow work out. So one illustration is I my previous role to this one was working as an Industry Analyst, leveraging the experience that I’ve had over my career to that point in public sector and government and healthcare. And as an industry analyst, you’re expected to be able to come up quickly and concisely with summaries of situations that are meaningful and insightful. And it’s actually quite a skill to do that. And the first year in that job was total terror, all the time, having to be under pressure to do that. And it took me a while to get to the point of confidence that you can do it. And you just have to keep doing it and doing it and doing it. And ultimately, things get easier and better. And you start getting feedback loops. So things that work. So that just get started and do it is the best way.
Michael Murray 3:47
Changing pace a little bit. What did you want to do when you left school?
Steve Hodgkinson 3:52
When I left school, I wanted to be a fighter pilot in the Air Force. Okay. And what would happen that I had spectacles and wasn’t good enough. So I ended up going and becoming a mountaineer. I was a mountaineer, in my early University days, that a lot of time in New Zealand, walking in the mountains and hill walking. And along the way, one day, I was in the hot pose in the mountains and happened to be talking to someone who was a university professor in Information Systems. And he’s talking to me about a career in computers. I didn’t even know what a computer was, you know, I’ve never heard of it before. One thing led to another. I ended up doing an Information Systems degree at university and when I started me on a career in it, and since then I’ve followed that through consulting strategy consulting, it advisory and executive roles around digital transformation.
Michael Murray 4:49
What about advice that you’d give yourself with 10 years ago? Would you say at quicker take more opportunities? Where is it in your mind?
Steve Hodgkinson 4:59
10 years As a guy, well, what advice would you give to your 10? year guy self? Just do it is the main thing just be optimistic and keep going, the things that I look back on sometimes and think, wow, you know, that could have gone better is usually where you didn’t have the courage of your convictions just to keep pressing on. And you decided not to pursue something or to give up with it?
Michael Murray 5:25
Was there a specific moment was it a project was role?
Steve Hodgkinson 5:27
Now look, the the worst one in my, in my career that just still goals me was a.com startup company that I had, okay, which was back in the early 2000s, it was a business called moving home.com.au. But it was just a little bit early in the timing of the development of the internet in Australia. And it was developing slowly and more slowly than we really wanted and had the capital means to, to persist with. So we ended up giving away a controlling interest in the company to in exchange for capital to fund it. And then we once you give away a controlling interest, you’re just a shareholder with a VCs, yes, even if it’s 49%, losing the company. And that’s a good example, when I look back, we should have just had the courage of our convictions, and keep going, you know, rather than going the comfortable route of going for an equity partner, which gave us financial comfort, but in the end, we lost the whole thing over it, you know.
Michael Murray 6:34
what about career legacy for you? Do you envisage what what you want to be remembered for and your type of role,
Steve Hodgkinson 6:41
just a person who got stuff done, if I look back in the last four or five years and the things that I’m really proud of as achievements, then it’s where the way that I’ve laid the organisation in the in the capacity of the team to do things, is produce really effective results. And some of those are, you know, really important things which save people’s lives which change the trajectory of, of Victorian citizens, you know, and it’s, it’s good to be able to manufacture those things and see them come to pass.
Michael Murray 7:12
Well Steve on that note, thank you very much for joining C-Suite Partners in the boardroom.
Steve Hodgkinson 7:16
Very good. Thanks.