The CIO Network Effect

Posted on January 4, 2016

By Robin Bulanti

The more CIOs you have in a room, the more valuable that room becomes to each one. Let’s call this the CIO network effect.

For over a decade, our team has been involved with an important network of Wall Street CIO, CTO and IT executives. Each December, nearly 100 of these men and women gather in New York City for dinner at the invitation of their hosts, formerly the Global CIO and CTO of Credit Suisse.

We help organize this exclusive, invitation-only event, and have gotten to know its attendees over the years, who now include a mix of friends, colleagues and advisors.

A lot has been written about the visionary CIO, and the evolving role of the CIO, and there’s no question this title is growing in importance in relation to a company’s bottom line. As this has happened, it has brought a related opportunity for us in public relations: tapping the CIO as a business leader, visionary and change agent.

We’ve collaborated on unique CIO “task force” projects with members from this network. Through the task force, they advise companies on communicating value to the CIO, champion CIO themes in business media, take on advisory board opportunities and share insights for companies targeting financial services.

Without question, these are the remarkable thinkers and innovators shaping the future of technology and Wall Street. They are powerful leaders in their respective industries. They are incredible human beings (and, I might add, dinner guests!).

Despite being a high-powered room, the talk is never all business, and the dinner has an authentic undercurrent of friendship. Attendees enjoy dinner together and talk about their families, life and plans for the year ahead… and they arrive early and stay late to mix and mingle.

What’s impressive is how many of these men and women go out of their way to clear busy calendars and travel from as far as London and San Francisco to attend this dinner (especially with it being so close to the holidays). It’s further proof that CIOs understand the power of the network (and its effect) and in developing these personal and professional relationships.