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Lois Brooks receives ORBIE CIO of the year award

WisconsinCIO—the Wisconsin chapter of InspireCIO, a national peer leadership network—has awarded UW–‍Madison Chief Information Officer and Vice Provost for Information Technology Lois Brooks the 2022 ORBIE award for excellence in IT leadership, in the large enterprise category.

Since 1998, the ORBIE awards have recognized technology executives in multiple organizational categories for leadership, innovation and excellence. Finalists and winners are selected by an independent peer review process, led by prior ORBIE recipients, based on:

  • Leadership and management effectiveness
  • Business value created by technology innovation
  • Engagement in industry and community endeavors

Brooks was nominated for the honor by a peer CIO in higher education, David Seidl of Miami University, who noted her exceptional commitment to the IT industry, UW–Madison’s mission, and fostering an equitable IT community.

“Lois has a big impact—both on campus, but also through higher education consortiums like Unizin,” Seidl wrote. “She visibly looks for ways to uplift our entire industry while also driving UW’s research and academic missions.”

In accepting the ORBIE honor, Brooks credited the response of the entire IT community at UW–Madison throughout the pandemic—including critical periods when the university relied on IT services to enable remote classes and virtual work, to meet the need for new technology services, and to help people succeed in their virtual experience.

Pandemic response aside, Brooks also cites the rewards of working in a dynamic higher education environment and building a strong IT foundation that enables UW–Madison to innovate.

“The coolest part about being a CIO at a university is everything we do here is so incredibly interesting,” said Brooks, who joined UW–⁠Madison in August 2018. “We’re doing performing arts, we’re doing athletics, we’re doing weather science. We’re doing human health and human sciences, and we’re studying the way the Earth is changing… All of these things happen here every day.”

“And so, every time we engage with people around us is so incredibly interesting, impactful and meaningful,” Brooks added. “Being a part of that is really a lot of fun.”

Read about the ORBIE awards

Meet the 2022 winners & finalists