Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Larisa Wentholt is the Chief Information Officer at the Central Bureau of Driving Certification (CBR), the public independent administrative organisation that assesses the skills and fitness of professional drivers.
What most excites you about working at CBR?
We are witnessing the digitalisation of the automotive industry. Drivers today must know how to operate advanced assistance services, such as adaptive cruise control and automatic parking. As the world of mobility changes, we need to update our exams and make sure drivers are properly trained to use these features. We also think about how we can add value through innovation for our customers.
As the CIO, at the uppermost level, I define the vision and drive innovation together with CBR’s executive team. Within the IT organisation, I manage daily operations, including technical infrastructure, business applications, information management and development.
Because I work in the public sector, I am able to see how my work affects the people around me. For example, CBR digitalised the driver’s licence exam. Whereas I completed my exam in a large room where the exam was projected on the wall, applicants now complete it on a touchscreen device during an individual timeslot. Although teens today experience this milestone differently, I recognise the same excitement on these young people’s faces as they walk through the door. I enjoy seeing the relevance of my work every day.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in digital technology?
Initially, I studied IT at the University of Nijmegen. When I began to understand how digital technology was going to transform our world, I decided to combine IT with change management at the University of Eindhoven. In my early career, I helped organisations transition from DOS to Windows. Later on, I introduced email and electronic collaboration in offices. Today, I work with automation and satellite global positioning systems.
Digitalisation, IT and data are revolutionising every aspect of how we work and live. This is what excites me and drives me. Through my work, I look for ways I can add value to this change.
As a woman in a technology-focused leadership role, can you describe the landscape in terms of gender diversity?
I see almost no women in network and system maintenance roles. I see some women in application development, but I would like to see more women in these pure technology roles. Diversity is good for companies, and changing team dynamics is healthy.