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To promote discussion and provide a glimpse into our colleagues’ experiences, the WashU IT Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee has interviewed several IT team members. Interviews will be posted bi-weekly coinciding with the publication of the Tuesday Tech News.

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Amy Walter

Assistant Vice Chancellor – Enterprise Applications

Inclusion is the foundation and building that environment of inclusion will really help us move the needle.

Amy grew up in Fairview Heights in a family culture where parents worked to get a paycheck. As she got older, Amy started to realize that it did not have to be that way. People can have jobs that they truly enjoy and it was up to her to chart her own course.

Amy enrolled in community college while waiting tables, transferred to SLU, and then landed her dream job at Boeing the summer before graduating. She worked there for 15 years as a developer, analyst, team lead, and IT manager. In 2015 she accepted a role at WashU and now leads the Enterprise Applications team. She attributes working at Boeing for building the foundation of the type of leader she wanted to be. She also learned from a different leadership perspective serving at the Christian Activity Center, an East St. Louis non-profit organization, where she recalls getting the advice to “Always hire people smarter than you.” and empower them to carry out the mission.

Compilation Videos

Hiring Question

WashU IT Question

Full Interviews

Bernard Bennett

MyDay Lead Internal Consultant

We need to take a cognitive approach to recognize that biases exist and be very intentional about how we navigate around them.

Bernard’s parents came to the St. Louis area in the early 1950s to escape the limited opportunities for people of color in the deep south. They then reached back to bring other siblings from that small southern town, resulting in a large family currently in St. Louis. Bernard grew up in North St. Louis, the youngest of five. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Northwest Missouri State and has been married for 25 years with one son.

Bernard started at WashU in 1990 and transitioned into the IT organization in 1996, where he has had various roles, including many leadership positions. Over the course of time, with mentors in place and learning from the successes of others throughout the organization, he has come to view himself as a situational leader. He leads according to the circumstances put in place, being sensitive to the past experiences of those involved.

Ashby Tyler

Director of Information Technology

You have to acknowledge that you have an identity, that you have a perspective that you are bringing to the table; and if you are not dealing with the biases that come out of that, then you are complicit in the adverse outcomes.

Ashby was raised in Knoxville, Tennessee where he also attended The University of Tennessee for his undergraduate degree. He worked there for a time as an admissions data specialist before he and his wife made their way to the Saint Louis area where Ashby pursued a graduate degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Later, he found his way to the WashU Brown School via a friend who was working on a research project there. He has spent the last 12 years with the Brown School, starting in the research center before moving on to administrative and user support for admin systems, and finally into an IT role which became the Director of IT for the Brown School.

Ashby views diversity, equity, and inclusion as an ongoing process that requires deliberate action and daily commitment to self-awareness and introspection. He believes that his perspective alone is not enough and optimal inclusion and the best services for IT consumers is produced by gathering a plethora of unique voices in a space of collaboration.

Bryant Douglas

Manger of Computer and General Services – Olin Business School

There’s a need to hire diverse individuals, different backgrounds and so forth, but you have to consider getting the job done, so it’s a tough thing to do.

Bryant is from Springfield, MO, graduated from Mizzou, served 10 years in the Navy, and has worked in various IT positions. These have primarily been manager positions at multiple organizations including the Federal Reserve Bank, Magellan Health Services, and WashU. He learned leadership skills initially in the military and added to his experience at the Federal Reserve Bank. Bryant firmly believes in the chain of command, however acknowledges that his leadership style has changed recently. Transitioning from a very military style, he has mellowed and improved upon his people skills. Bryant also recently celebrated his daughter’s college graduation.

Russell Sharp

Interim Executive Director – Chief of Staff to the CIO, Portfolio & Project Management Office, IT Vendor Management

It’s so easy to be judgmental. It’s so easy to have preconceived ideas. We have to be very deliberate not to do that and recognize that our own experiences don’t translate to those of others.

Native to the UK, Russell grew up in Scotland and England, and has also spent time living in Brussels, Belgium before moving to the US in 1997. Always fascinated by the sciences, Russell studied microbiology in college, before discovering an enthusiasm for IT during his time working with Shell in the 80s. Beyond his professional life, Russell has a wonderful wife, 2 amazing children, 2 “brown” dogs, and enjoys gardening, woodworking, and electronics. The richness of his experiences living in different countries and being exposed to several unique cultures has given him a unique, deeply attached perspective on diversity and inclusion. Additionally, his background in science has highlighted the importance of listening and introspecting as a leader, taking an approach of empathy where he listens to understand, rather than respond.

Craig Pohl

Sr. Director Research Infrastructure Services

I think we as an organization could be much more successful if we get to know each other a bit more, right? And get to really understand and accept the person that’s sitting next to us.

A native Saint Louisan, Craig Pohl grew up in North Saint Louis County as one of six children in a Catholic family. While Craig’s community and Catholic school was predominantly white, he found himself empowered and deeply influenced by the diversity that his father prioritized while coaching his church’s soccer team. From his diverse friendships formed in youth sports to his time in SIUE, Craig developed a deep value for how diverse perspectives and ideas create more effective teams. Now at WashU, Craig actively searches for ways to ensure minority groups are being represented and given opportunities within both the research and IT communities.

Kevin Lin

Application Developer I, WashU IT – Research Infrastructure Services

It doesn’t matter if there is a relationship. If there is no relationship, it matters.
A first-generation immigrant from Taiwan, Kevin came to study computer science at the University of Missouri St. Louis. He now has a wife and family of 4, and joined the WashU family in May, 2017. Kevin is passionate about providing solutions with technology and greatly values his wife, from whom he has learned the importance of respectfulness, humbleness, forgiveness and tolerance.

Kevin Hardcastle

Associate Chief Information Security Officer

We’re all trying to work towards a goal and we need each other to do it… if we try to isolate ourselves we’re not going to be successful.
Originally from a small manufacturing town in southern Missouri, Kevin’s first major experience with diversity came when he moved away from home for college. With the enrichment of diversity in college dorm life, as well as a wealth of wisdom passed on from his father, Kevin was able to grow immensely and continued to expand his horizons by working at 13 different Saint Louis area organizations. Since then, Kevin has brought his wealth of knowledge, experience, and leadership skills to WashU, where he has served for 13 years. Through his unique experiences, international travel through various organizations, and collaboration with workers of various cultures, Kevin has developed a deeper understanding and value of the different perspectives diverse groups bring.

Rooji Sugathan, PhD

Executive Director, Data Management

It’s important for a leader to sit back and give the opportunity to their team members to express their ideas.

Originally from India, Rooji came to the US approximately 25 years ago, where he earned his Masters and Doctoral degrees. He and his wife, who he met in college, decided to live in St. Louis to be close to family. Here he began his career at a small international company, moved on to a large fortune 50 organization, and then came to WashU. Throughout his journey, Rooji has come to understand the importance of accountability, process, and collaboration.

Shin Leong

Application Developer III

G – Greeting: Every time I see people, I always greet them no matter their culture or background.
U – Understanding: When people talk to me, I try to listen to understand them.
R – Respecting: No matter who, you need to respect people.
U – Unique: Everybody is unique!


Originally from Malaysia, Shin came to the US 20 years ago to study computer engineering. After discovering that America is a multicultural and diverse nation, much like Malaysia, Shin decided to stay in the US, and lives with his beautiful wife Emily and their two amazing sons Jayden and Spencer. Shin believes that by starting with a push for equity, that diversity will more naturally flourish, and that inclusion follows quickly behind. Shin also seeks to be inclusive in every day interactions, by being mindful to act in a way that is accepting and welcoming to others regardless of their culture or background.

Sherry Holmes, Ed.D

Director, Student Technology Services

Diversity counts people, inclusion means people count.

A Boston native who applies her social work background to the realm of technology, Sherry works under the philosophy that you have to seek out diversity, meet people where they are and respect what they can bring to the table. She’s worked hard to build a diverse team and embraces those who have the drive and desire to learn.

John Bailey

Manager of Cloud Services, WashU IT

It is not weakness to allow your perspective to change based on new information and new relationships that you’ve built in your life.

John Bailey credits his immersion in diversity greatly to his work in the IT industry, development in leadership courses, and by actively introspecting and reaching out to people from other groups for their unique perspectives. He has been married for 17 years and has 5 amazing children, whom he greatly enjoys outdoor activities with. John regularly searches for small ways to practice diversity and inclusion with his work team by fostering an environment that allows people of all backgrounds to speak freely on their ideas, beliefs, and perspectives.

Matt Arthur

Director – A/V & Media Services | Incident Communications Solutions, Interim Director Service Desk

We all have to think in terms of understanding other people’s perspective.

Matt grew up in a small Ohio town with very little diversity during the 60s, before moving to Tampa, Florida during the start of the city’s bussing program in the 70s. His life has taken him from summer camp supervision to high school education to the US Army and right here to Washington University, where he’s been for over thirty years. Listen in to Matt’s interview for more on how his journey helped him grow as a leader and formed his commitment to diversity and inclusion.