In Technology


Title: Senior Manager of Enterprise Technology Services Integrations


Bachelor degrees in information technology and criminal justice, master’s degree in criminal justice

Organizational Affiliations:
Member of Western Pennsylvania Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), UPMC Women in IT, RedChair, Strong Women Strong Girl, and Fortyx80 – LAUNCH Mentor Program

Erika Brunner

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  • Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Award Nominee – 2020
  • RedChair Scholarship Winner – Pittsburgh Technical Council and RedChair – 2019
  • Naval Command Recognition for outstanding accomplishments as the Mobilization Ombudsman, U.S. Navy - 2020

My journey so far has been...

What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
While working as a Pittsburgh police officer, I realized I would be able to retire after 20 years and shift to a new career. But, after eight years on the police force, technology attracted me because of its diversity, ever-changing environment, longevity, and several challenging focus areas. I went back to school to get another degree, but, this time, in technology. While attending school, I met a then-professor and now UPMC senior vice president in IT, who hired me after graduation. While I did not plan to leave the police force early, I could not delay the amazing opportunity to join the technology field, especially at one of the country’s leading academic medical centers.

What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Challenging, enlightening, and indescribable.

What is your personal mantra?
When you start seeing your worth, you’ll find it harder to stay around people who don’t.

Describe the highest point in your career so far and how you got there, including all the hurdles you had to jump (and the ones you tripped over too).
The highest point of my career was within a three-month period, when I was selected as a Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA nominee and promoted to a senior manager. This came at a very trying time in my life. My husband had not lived with us for 18 months due to being actively deployed, and I was working full time while raising our infant as a single parent. During this period, I was implementing innovative changes at work, pursuing my passion of mentoring/coaching, supporting the families of deployed U.S. Navy sailors in my husband’s mobilization, supporting as many women in the IT field as possible — and suffering and healing from PTSD, anxiety, and a miscarriage. Oftentimes, I felt like a failure inside, that I was not enough, and many more negative thoughts. These two achievements made me realize that no matter how broken I felt, I was still making a real difference — not only in my field but also in many peoples’ lives.

What is your most admirable quality?
Being supportive. All of those in my life — whether friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances — know they can come to me and receive a supporting ear, validation of their feelings, and a positive outlook. Reality is based on your perception, and only you are able to change that view.

I'm looking forward to a future that is...

What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
The answer to both questions is having a diverse workforce in the technology field. Having diversity across the board brings in new ideas, which leads to increased productivity, creativity, and performance. Every person brings a unique perspective, and, in an ever-changing field, this is key to innovation.

When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
I see continued improvement of processes across all areas of technology, especially in the health care arena. I see optimized cloud services expanding across more organizations, intuitive artificial intelligence that improves patient care, and increased patient satisfaction with telemedicine processes.

What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far, and how has it helped you in your career?
Each of us was created to be who we are, and we need to love and believe in ourselves because of that. It took a long time to understand that because I thought it was a selfish behavior. I am strong, resilient, and amazing just as I am, as is everyone else once they believe in themselves. Overall, this has helped me gain more happiness, increase productivity at work, feel like a better parent/partner, and connect with people on a deeper level.

What three adjectives come to mind when you think about the future?
Innovative, inspiring, and dedicated.

March 2021

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