Growing up in rural Connecticut, Noreen Randazzo was brought up thinking there wasn't a big difference between herself and her two brothers. "My father always said, 'You're just as intelligent as your brothers; you can play sports just as well as they do.' I left the family nest feeling completely equal," Randazzo says, and even then, she had two ideas about her future.

"I either wanted to be a teacher like my mother, or an entrepreneur like my father," Randazzo says. But it was the early 1980s, and she took her sister's advice and went to business school. "With a technical or business degree, you can do whatever you want in the future," she says. She quickly discovered an interest in information systems. "I found out that IT leadership and business leadership was really about strategy, risk management and business capability; really linking ideas and solutions to business needs. And I was really fascinated by that. I figured out right away this was a field that offered the kind of diversity that would be exciting for me."

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