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WGU Academic Engagement Webinars Becoming an IT Leader: How to Move from Here to There

Join us for a webinar recording about the life of an IT manager and becoming a leader in IT

In this session, we learned more about what it takes to have a IT manager career. Panelists shared various functions and job responsibilities, as well as shared experiences and lessons they learned during their respective careers. This panel was moderated by Ryan Whisler and Goran Trajkovski. View recording below.

Michael Harrigan Headshot

Michael Harrigan


Mike Harrigan is VP for Store Technology Operations at Ingka US Digital, headquartered in Conshohocken, PA. His work is focused on delivering effective information technology solutions to all supported business units within the United States. Driven by a deep desire to improve life at home for the many, Mike has worked since 1997 in a variety of retail, IT, and project management roles for IKEA both nationally and internationally. He takes pride in leading high-performance technology teams tasked with creating IT Service experiences that delight users from coast to coast. When not keeping busy modernizing our stores, you can find Mike working locally with unwanted animals to help them find forever homes, enjoying a round of golf with some friends, or out for an early morning hike with his family on the scenic trails of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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Dr. Steve Kozakoff


Steve Kozakoff serves as a Course Instructor at Western Governors University, where he has worked since 2018. He helps to contribute to the success of WGU students and graduates by providing one-to-one coaching, instructional webinars, and personalized study plans for students in the Data Management/Data Analytics program. Prior to WGU, Steve spent 21 years leading information technology departments in healthcare, 5 years as a course instructor in the Florida state college system, and 16 years appointed to an Information Technology Education Advisory Board, where he helped guide the establishment of multiple information technology degrees and certification programs. In addition to his 31+ years of professional experience, Steve has BS and MS degrees in Information Technology from the University of South Florida Computer Science and Engineering department. His specialization is in computer science education, deep learning, and evolutionary computation.

Sandra Perry Headshot

Sandra Jeffries-Perry


Sandra Jeffries-Perry is the Chief Information Officer & Director for Shelby County Government Information Technology Services Department, located in Memphis, Tennessee. In this role, Sandra leads efforts to build and implement enterprise-wide information systems and solutions that support Shelby County Government business operations.

She has over 20+ years of diverse Information Technology (IT) experience, specializing in IT Infrastructure. She has held progressively responsible technical and leadership positions within Shelby County's Information Technology Services Division. Sandra has a strong background in technology and leadership. Sandra is service-oriented and known as a “people-first” leader.

A Memphis native, Sandra received her Bachelor’s degree from University of Memphis and her Master’s from Western Governor’s University. She holds several technology and business certifications. Ms. Perry is also a member of professional Information Technology organizations both local and national. Sandra participates in faith-based ministries as a leader and facilitator. Sandra is the mother and friend of a young adult daughter, Deveney. She also mentors youth and young adults, sharing essential life lessons.

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Dr. Vincent Grasso


Despite the hardships and limitations imposed by the COVID 19 Pandemic, Dr. Grasso delivered value since 2000 within 3 concurrent roles. He was the Healthcare & Life Sciences Global Practice Lead for IPsoft Inc., the world’s leading private AI company, Chief Technology Officer for a rapidly expanding network of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in Chicago Southland, and a practicing physician within a multispecialty clinic in Newark, NJ. Dr. Grasso leverages his diverse subject matter expertise within the domains of healthcare, technology, and business to optimize value contribution, market differentiation, and competitive advantage within equitable constructs.

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Dr. Trevor Caskey


Trevor Caskey has 14 years of experience applying data analytics and modeling/simulation in the government contracting industry. Since 2013, he has worked at The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs). Trevor is currently a Principal Data Scientist at MITRE and the group leader of the Complex Systems Modeling and Analysis group, leading projects and tasks for various research sponsors. He enjoys engaging decision-makers to understand their challenges and applying a mix of data analytics, modeling/simulation, and data visualization to empower them to make the best decisions to meet their objectives. Trevor holds a BS in Mathematics from the College of William and Mary, a MS in Operations Research from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from George Washington University.

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