Employee Spotlight September 2021
Cindy, her husband and their adult children enjoy a meal together in New York City.

Cindy Leavitt

Vice President and CIO (Beginning 9/20/21)

Meet Cindy, the incoming VP and CIO for our collective IT and eLearning organizations—a unique combination she is looking forward to leading. This Buckeye-in-the-Making knew this was the place for her after witnessing the passion and enthusiasm of our teams. A statistics lover and avid cyclist, Cindy also enjoys volunteering with kids and teens. Originally from Utah, she enjoys visiting Lake Michigan and traveling across the US to spend time with her adult children. When you get a chance to chat, send her restaurant recommendations so she can explore the finest eats Columbus has to offer!

Q: What is your role at the university? I will be starting as the Vice President and CIO on September 20, 2021, and I am thrilled.

Q: What do you like best about your job? I am passionate about developing positive leaders and organizations. Seeing my teams growing and stretching and making a difference is the best thing about being a CIO.

Q. How do you create and innovate? This is a team sport for me. I am most creative when I am working with others to try and solve a problem with limited resources. I read a ton and spend a lot of time talking with people about what they are trying to do. I am always looking around to see what others are doing and what we could expand.

Q: Did you always know this is what you wanted to do as a career? I could not have even imagined being a CIO and VP when I was growing up. I am the 3rd of 6 children, and my father was a steel worker. I was introduced to IT when my oldest sister graduated in computer science, got a job and bought her first car. That was enough to motivate me to declare computer science as my first major in college which only stuck for one semester. After exploring several different majors, I fell in love with Deming and his quality work after WWII in Japan and ended up graduating in statistics. My first job was with Novell as a statistical quality control analyst. After that, I added skills and certifications as the opportunity and interest arose. I am passionate about making things better, designing systems, and creating strong teams, which are all at the core of Deming’s philosophy.

Q. How did your career path bring you to work for us? I was a trailing academic spouse for many years and so switched jobs often. Early in my career, I worked for technology companies but moved to higher education when my children were little so that I could have better work/life balance. After working in several roles at the University of Michigan, I took the VP/CIO role at Temple University in 2016 and moved to Philadelphia.

Q. Why did you choose to work at Ohio State? The thing that attracted me to Ohio State was the opportunity to lead Digital Education and eLearning in addition to IT. That combination is unusual and exciting. The thing that convinced me that I wanted to work for Ohio State was hearing the enthusiasm and love for each other and the university that was expressed by everyone I interviewed with.

Q. Of what are you most proud? The positive impact that I had at Temple. The last month has been overwhelming with the many stories people shared with me about how much they learned from me and how my leadership changed the culture and their lives for the better.

Q: Where did you go to college? My BS in Statistics/Business is from Brigham Young University and my MBA is from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Q: Where are you from originally? I grew up in Orem, Utah

Q: What is your favorite place to visit? A friend’s house on Lake Michigan just north of Grand Haven.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? South Island, New Zealand. My husband, a couple of friends, and I did a 10-day bike tour and 3-day great hike on the Routeborn Track. I would love to take my family back there for a similar adventure.

Q: Can you tell us about your family? My husband, Mark, and I met on Match.com. We have been married for seven years and have a reverse Brady Bunch family. I have two sons and Mark has two daughters from our first marriages. Our children are all adults and live in interesting places we enjoy visiting. We ski with my son and his wife in Utah and go to museums and wonderful restaurants with our son in New York and daughter in Philadelpha.

Q: Do you have any hobbies? My husband and I are avid cyclists. We regularly ride 40 miles with our cycling club on Saturday mornings. We also love hiking and skiing.

Q. What kinds of things are you passionate about outside of work? I love working with kids and teenagers. I have been involved in my church youth programs for many years. I also serve on a nonprofit board for Inner Strength Education that teaches mindfulness to high school students in Philadelphia.

Q: What is something most people might be surprised to know about you? I adore power tools. I bought my husband the chop saw he requested for Christmas, and he claims that I use it more than he does.

Q: Favorite place to eat in Columbus? I am very interested in exploring this question thoroughly. The best place so far is the Third and Hollywood.

Q: Best concert you’ve ever been to? Front row seats at the Michael Buble’ concert in Toronto. My husband surprised me for my birthday the first year we were married.

Q: Favorite quote? “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” - Marianne Williamson

Q: Do you have a favorite book or movie? I love to read and prefer reading to movies. A couple of authors I love are Patrick Rothfuss and Fredrik Backman.

Q: It’s 9 p.m. on a Saturday. What are you doing? Watching a movie or football with my husband. If it was a Friday, we would be watching the latest Ted Lasso episode.

Q: Give three adjectives that best describe yourself. Optimistic, Competent, Curious.