Alumna Watson Stands at the Forefront of Women in the IT Industry
The Shannon Executive Scholars Program, established by a generous gift from Professor William N. Shannon and his wife Bonnie, is an annual program at Saint Mary's College that invites successful alumnae back to campus to share their career development, expertise, and experiences with students, faculty, and staff in addition to personal visits with College leaders. Executive Scholars visit the College and share their expertise with students in professionally related classes as well as informal meetings.
Saint Mary's prepares students to stand out in their careers. Patricia (Patty) Watson '88, Shannon Scholar for the spring of 2024, is one such Belle, recognized for her work in the information technology industry.
Watson is the executive vice president and chief information officer of NCR Atleos, a technology company that powers the transactions of financial institutions across the country. Her work in the industry especially showcases her strength as a leader. On her path to becoming CIO, Watson began her career serving in the United States Air Force. She held various positions, serving as a young lieutenant and captain, managing projects, and working with her superiors. Watson's experiences within the 10 years in the Air Force provided an excellent foundation for her leadership development.
Not only did the United States Air Force prepare her for a future in IT, but Saint Mary's also played a prominent role in her life. As a ROTC scholar, Watson spent many hours as an undergraduate preparing to serve our country and earning her mathematics degree. Attending college at Saint Mary's in an environment with small classes and professors who know her by name empowered Watson with the ability to "speak up and be courageous and…speak the truth when the truth needs to be said."
Saint Mary's taught her she could accomplish anything, whether climbing the corporate ladder to CIO, being a resourceful mom of five children, or facing the challenges of having a child with Down syndrome.
Saint Mary's also allowed Watson to become a leader. The lessons she learned prepared her for a professional life, but it was her personal growth at Saint Mary's that made her the woman she is today. When asked about her favorite memories as a student at Saint Mary's, Watson says:
"It was the first time in my life that I was able to choose whether I was going to be Catholic. Being Catholic and attending Mass was part of our social life. We sought out Mass in our dorms or went over to Notre Dame and went with our friends. Becoming Catholic was something I chose to do, and when I think about Saint Mary's, I often think about my friends and relationships as well as my faith."
February 5, 2024