Above all, rising stars fear boredom and crave creativity. "Having a creative component is important to me and to people of my generation," says Rabinowitz. "Industries that have been around a long time have a tough time changing, but we value creativity and change."
So does Rabinowitz's boss, John Prusnick. "Armand has the ability to think creatively -- I won't say 'outside the box,' but in different boxes. You can put him into a situation with new parameters and he adapts well," says Prusnick, director of IT innovation and strategy. Those are qualities tech staffers need at Hyatt, which has a small IT footprint thanks to an early move to the cloud and multiple partnerships with third-party providers. "Most of the people we have on our respective teams are not managing technology but managing business relationships," says Prusnick. "It's a critical skill for the new modern IT professional."
That's a sentiment that's widely held in other industries besides hospitality. "These days we're seeing a significant difference in who's getting hired and promoted," says Marshall Oldham, director of recruiting at IT staffing firm TEKsystems. "During the dot-com boom and the early 2000s, you got hired and promoted if you had a specific level of technical expertise that other people didn't have," he says.
Now the questions have changed, Oldham says. "Do you fit into the corporate culture? Do you understand the line of business? Can you manage people? These have all come to the forefront."
Here's how these rising stars are answering those questions in their own unique ways.
Lynn Costa, 43
Vice president, Shared Services, Scholastic, New York
What she does: Lynn Costa joined children's book publisher Scholastic four years ago, at the behest of her boss, senior vice president and CIO Saad Ayub, who had also been her manager at The Hartford Insurance Group. Since he knew what she was capable of, Ayub felt comfortable loading Costa's plate high.
As vice president of shared services, Costa functions like a divisional CIO, overseeing corporate enterprise applications like Workday for HR. She is also responsible for access management, help desk, mobility strategy and other software-as-a-service (SaaS) initiatives. "It's most exciting how we're leveraging technology to improve productivity," says Costa, who has 60 people reporting to her and serves some 8,500 U.S. employees.
What she brings to the table: Costa's specialty is identifying processes that support change. "It's really solutions and problem-solving," she explains, "putting the right organizational structure in place to get things done." Specifically, Costa identifies the structure, governance and standards that now underlie enterprise architecture, project management, business analysis and ITIL functions at Scholastic. "It's changing the way IT is working," Costa says. "IT needs to work cross-organizationally, in a matrix environment."
Her vision for IT: "With the evolution of technology -- SaaS, cloud, mobility and consumerization -- the role of the CIO and his or her reports is changing," Costa says. "It's a consultative model versus an execution role." In the past, Costa had been tasked with overseeing ambitious application development projects, but that's changing. "More and more we're leveraging what's already built and provided to us via software as a service," she says. "Our role now is as a strategic business consultant, to understand what they're trying to get done and to leverage the right technologies for them."
David Paschane, 43
Director, Office of Strategic Services, National Capital Region IT, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington