“If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!” (Se sarete quello che dovete essere, metterete fuoco in tutta Italia, non tanto costì!) -- St. Catherine of Siena
Merri Beth Lavagnino is a strategic leader and relationship builder who loves organizing complexity to make a lasting difference in people's lives. She has over 20 years’ experience working in higher education in medium and large universities, both public and private, and a regional consortium. Her subject matter expertise lies primarily in information technology, privacy, security, compliance, data management, enterprise risk management, policy, and governance.
In her current role as Director, Strategic Planning and Enterprise Risk for Indiana University, she oversees institutional strategic planning and enterprise risk activities for a major research university comprising seven campuses, nine medical education sites, 114,000 students, 40,000 full- and part-time regular and student employees, $614M in external research funding, and nearly 8,000 acres of real estate, with an annual operating budget of $3.5B.
In addition to her Bachelor of Education (Temple University) and Master of Library and Information Science (Indiana University) degrees, Merri Beth is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP), Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US, CIPT) and is trained in the Department of Homeland Security's Incident Command System (100, 200, 700, 800, 300, 400, & MGT 346). She enjoys contributing to the profession through speaking, teaching, writing, and service activities both locally and nationally.
Merri Beth is preparing for her encore career, ideally in some aspect of non-profit humanitarian aid. She recently earned her Certificate in Fund Raising Management from The Fund Raising School at the Indiana University School of Philanthropy.
Along with a husband, two cats, and six chickens, Merri Beth lives in Indianapolis. She enjoys organizing things, perennial gardening, organizing things, admiring her daughter, organizing things, scrapbooking, organizing things, and eating.
While STEM is not the right choice for every girl or woman, girls who know a woman in a STEM profession are substantially more likely to feel empowered when they engage in STEM activities (61%) than those who don’t know a woman in a STEM profession (44%). Given this research, it is astounding that my mother earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and worked a long and satisfying career as a chemist and a chemical patent searcher between the late 1950’s and the early 1990’s. Perhaps it was her influence that empowered me to seek an information technology career, and for my daughter to now seek a science career. How can I give back that empowering influence to other girls who lack role models? How do we empower girls to be what they should be, so that they, too, can set the world ablaze?
Merri Beth's personal objectives as she joins the Board are to increase attendance at Women & Hi Tech events by college students, and to engage Indiana colleges and universities more fully with the organization in order to advance our shared women in STEM careers goals.
Microsoft, Closing the STEM Gap: Why STEM classes and careers still lack girls and what we can do about it, p. 7. Available January 2, 2019 at: https://query.prod.cms.rt.microsoft.com/cms/api/am/binary/RE1UMWz.