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Fuertes Named Executive Director for IT Digital Transformation

Digital Strategy and Optimized Execution Plan among Top Priorities

Michelle Fuertes has been named Washington University in St. Louis’ first executive director for Information Technology Digital Transformation (IT-DT). Fuertes’ position dually reports to Chief Technology Officer Greg Hart and professor, and founding Director of the Institute for Informatics (I2), Dr. Philip Payne. Fuertes began her role Monday, May 22.

Digital transformation is the process of using technologies to create or modify existing business practices and customer experiences to meet changing business requirements. Fuertes will set the vision and direction for WashU IT digital strategy while collaborating with university stakeholders and leaders to ensure all relevant digital initiatives are fully integrated and aligned with WashU’s campus wide strategy and initiatives.

“We’re excited to have Michelle join our team and help lead critical projects spanning our IT and Digital Transformation efforts.” Payne said. “As we seek to build a digitally enabled university that can advance solutions to major challenges at the local, national, and global levels, our technology and data infrastructure will need to evolve to match those demands. Michelle’s expertise and leadership experience will be essential to our success as we do so.”

This newly created position will provide leadership and direction, removing barriers and equipping program team members with the tools and guidance necessary to successfully execute the DT program.
“I am excited to become a part of an institution whose mission has such a noble purpose, the pursuit of truth and knowledge for the benefit of others,” Fuertes said.

Fuertes brings with her more than 17 years of experience implementing highly scalable multi-million-dollar digital initiatives across multiple industries. Most recently, she served as the director of product portfolio management for Faith Technologies Inc., in Menasha, Wis. Prior, she was the program manager on the Pharm Modernization Program at Cardinal Health in Dublin, Ohio.

Fuertes will pull from her broad experience as she champions efforts that synchronize business needs and foster cross-function partnerships to achieve university digital ambitions.

“Fuertes expertise in large, complex transformational projects, along with her knack for process improvement, stakeholder management, and global team leadership make her the ideal person for this inaugural role,” said Hart. “She brings a sense of optimism and energy, and we are confident her deep experience in coaching, innovation, and drive for high-quality results will prove invaluable not only to WashU but to the greater St. Louis community as a whole.”

With an objective to synchronize organizational needs with technological solutions, Fuertes will serve as an advisor and strategic partner across the enterprise, collaboratively creating innovative solutions that align with Here and Next.

“I hope through my servant leadership, my shared passion for WashU’s mission, and my collaboration with colleagues across the university, I will become a valuable asset in helping WashU realize our digital future,” said Fuertes.

Fuertes earned a Bachelor of Arts Women’s Studies, receiving the honor of Summa Cum Laude, from The Ohio State University and a Master of Science in education from Capella University in Minn. with an emphasis on Differentiated Instruction.