Viola Maxwell-Thompson

President, Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF)

Viola Maxwell-Thompson is President of Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF), a national organization committed to the continuous professional development of black senior-level executives in the technology industry.  Their members, who are CIOs and other senior-level technology executives, are from Fortune 500 companies, the public sector, Academia and privately-owned technology companies. 

A nationally recognized thought-leader in business transformation and process re-engineering, Ms. Thompson, who is a former IT management consultant, joined ITSMF as a member in the late 1990s, became Executive Director in 2004 and President in 2015.  Ms. Thompson’s business acumen and technical know-how—she’s fluent in everything from “assembler programming” to tweeting on her iPad—have positioned her to lead ITSMF as it raises its visibility, makes its mark on the technology industry and becomes a Web-page “favorite place” for technology professionals.  Ms. Thompson has drawn on her vast experience in program management and career training to transform ITSMF into a professional development organization with the fiscal soundness and infrastructure to prepare the next generation of black technology leaders for the executive suite.

Prior to joining ITSMF, Ms. Thompson was a partner with Ernst & Young LLC’s Management Consulting Practice in Chicago and Atlanta, where she specialized in organizational development, process re-engineering and technology deployment. For 17 years, she led diverse teams that blended strategic-problem solving with state-of-the-art technology solutions to enhance operations for Fortune 500 companies in the manufacturing, financial services and consumer products industries. Her expertise in sales and customer-management, combined with her technical proficiency, contributed to her success directing some of Ernst & Young’s largest implementation projects. These include an $82 million program to improve the supply chain for the largest printing company in the U.S., featuring package selection and implementation of an integrated Supply Chain, Order Management and Shop Floor Operations.

Ms. Thompson is often featured in the media for her expert insights on a variety of business topics, including diversity and the retention of executives; work-life balance issues; and career management as a female executive of color. She has been quoted in numerous leading industry and consumer publications—CIO Insight, the Chicago Tribune, Black Enterprise Magazine, Diversity Careers Magazine and IT Management Consulting, among others. In 1998, she was nominated for the National Society of Black Engineers’ (NSBE) “Golden Touch Award,” which recognizes outstanding achievements by black engineers.

Ms. Thompson received her B.A. in Psychology and Education from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois. She also holds certifications in Project Management and Systems Methodology.