Information Technology Leadership Academy Archives

Background Summary

The current Information Technology Leadership Academy is the result of many dedicated IT managers refining the program over the course of over three decades. The program began in 1990 at the State Training Center under the name Data Processing Manager’s Academy (DPMA). The original and groundbreaking training program provided coursework in project management, resource control, customer service, client negotiations, and effective communications.

By the ninth iteration of the academy, the course content had expanded to include collaborative skills, change management, and strategic and tactical planning. As a result, in 2001 the more vigorous program was renamed the Information Technology Managers Academy (ITMA) to better reflect the wider variety of IT classifications of the program participants. The program continued to evolve through the 2000’s, with class projects researching and developing IT workforce and succession plans and exploring “green” initiatives. In 2010 the name was again updated to the Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA) to more accurately describe the program’s emphasis on developing future CIO’s and state IT leaders. The academy continues to serve as a valuable training ground by providing coursework in advanced leadership skills and opportunities for participants to forge professional friendships that last for their entire career.

Past Academies:

Information Technology Leadership Academy (ITLA)

ITLA 24 - Access IT California



The graduation ceremony and celebration for the ITLA 24 class members took place on June 2nd, 2017. The class was comprised of 30 students from 23 unique agencies and departments. This year’s graduation was a standing room only gala celebration that featured speeches from Amy Tong, CDT Director and State CIO, Chris Cruz, CDT Chief Deputy Director and Deputy State CIO, and other distinguished program sponsors and former graduates.

The students’ diverse backgrounds made this year’s class discussions lively and informative as they shared their experiences and insights on all things IT. This year, the curriculum was designed to front load more classes in the first few months so that students were exposed to one another and their class managers more frequently. This assisted in having them get to know one another more quickly and helped form the ITLA Alumni bond earlier in the program.

The students completed many highly informative courses. The first was Leadership Foundations which taught the RAPID® decision making model and the DISC® communication styles. The Van Write Writing Workshop introduced mind mapping and sentence aerobics. These skills benefited the students in their next course—Executive Presentation skills. All of the students felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment with their ability to overcome their fear of public speaking despite the fact that this is the most dreaded class in the program. The course on the Budget Process taught a foundational understanding of the BCP process that was a benefit to all. A class titled Business Chemistry was highly interactive and enabled students to understand their communication styles as well as recognizing certain traits in others. Other classes focused on the Legislative Budget ProcessPersonal Leadership and Speaker Day, where various leaders discussed their IT career journeys with the class. Closing out the program were the Political Skills and Executive Interview Skills courses.

The class project chosen for this year was Access IT California. The goal of the project was to make web accessibility easy for all state departments to adopt and to build awareness around the need for accessibility. The project was sponsored by the Department of Rehabilitation and the Project Manager was Valerie Stanfield. The class presented an overview of the project at a festive event at the CA State Lottery Auditorium on May 19th. The results of their work can be found at Access IT California.

The students have demonstrated tremendous growth and certainly lived up to their mantra “Do More—ITLA 24!”

ITLA Students>

ITLA 23 - California Mentor Program (CaMP) and California Security Jumpstart Project

ITLA 23 logo



The graduation ceremony and celebration for the ITLA 23 class members took place on June 10th, 2016. The class consisted of 30 students from 25 unique departments.
This year, the ITLA 23 curriculum started with a two-day course in Leadership Branding where the cohort explored the five practices of exemplary leadership. Next, they learned that “learning how to unlearn is the most important thing for a leader” in the “Using Your Brain to Win: The Human Factor” class. ITLA 23 then studied advanced business writing techniques and learned to communicate under pressure in their “Executive Presentations” day. They explored intricate details of their home department’s budget and were able to apply what they learned by viewing the Governor’s Budget Presentation on January 7th. The new year also brought the Walk Like a Leader assignments when each participant receives a day-in-the-life experience shadowing various executive level program and state IT leaders.
In February, ITLA participants were featured prominently at the CIO Academy (February 24th-25th). Each member of ITLA 23 was assigned to teams for delivering content for the breakout sessions.
Finally, the class put the final touches on two class projects that were part of the program this year.
One project addresses the severe shortage of IT professionals and leaders that California state government faces in the coming years. The California Mentor Program (CaMP) project enhances the skills of the State’s IT staff through intensive one-on-one mentoring. State IT leaders and technical experts mentor IT staff (mentees), to enhance their skills and expand their careers. Mentors and mentees meet a few hours a month, over a six-month time period. Mentors benefit, as they foster and guide future IT leaders for the state, and mentees benefit, as they learn from successful leaders and experts in the technology field. Ms. Deborah Cunningham (DHCS) was the Project Manager of the team.
The California Security Jumpstart Project fills a vital role by providing tools that help state departments classify and categorize their information assets and craft solid business requirements for projects. Sponsored by the California Information Security Office and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, this award-winning project will minimize the risk and potential of a disclosure, breach and/or destruction of Californians’ information assets. Ms. Francoise Le (OSI) was the Project Manager of the team.
The future of technology within the State of California looks very bright thanks to the ITLA 23 class and its many hundreds of hours focused on these two valuable and sustainable projects.

ITLA 23 Students


ITLA 22 - The California Business Portal (Go-Biz)

ITLA 22 logo

Congratulations to the ITLA 22 Class of 2014 – 2015!!

ITLA 22 celebrated nine-months of accomplishments when they graduated June 12, 2015. Graduation day was full of excitement and the bitter-sweet acceptance that a truly great experience was coming to an end. Besides forming strong friendships, walking like a leader, honing executive speaking skills, and thinking fast on their feet in mock budget hearings, their biggest accomplishment by far is their project – the California Business Portal.

California Business Portal is a one-stop website where current and future California business owners learn what incentives, permits, regulations, taxes, forms, and financing applies to them. Visitors use interactive tools to get answers to questions about how to start, relocate, or expand a business in California. Or they can visit the online Service Desk for answers to 700 frequently asked questions. Visitors can speak to a live person, or be connected to partner agencies posting business content on Portal like Franchise Tax Board, Secretary of State, Board of Equalization, and Employment Development Department. Over the next year, the site’s sponsor, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, will onboard more state organizations critical to launching and sustaining California businesses.

ITLA 22 developed the Portal to meet the mission, vision, and guiding principles of the State of California’s IT Strategic Plan. With highly coordinated collaboration across 26 state department representatives, four high-profile partner agencies, and one committed project sponsor, ITLA 22 delivered a product in five-months that far exceeds the Academy’s expectations. We are very proud of this graduating class. Their project will benefit state and businesses alike for years to come.

Judging by the hugs and lively banter among graduates and supporting CIO’s at last week’s graduation, it’s hard to believe ITLA 22 is over. But like the friendships they’ve gained, their leadership-impact and California Business Portal, live on.

ITLA 22 Students