“Who am I as a leader, and who do I want to become?” Scott Bingham on how the EMBA Prepared Him for a Career in Leadership and Service

Posted by Albers School of Business and Economics on Friday, September 16, 2022 at 9:16 PM PDT

Center for Leadership Formation binder on a table

Growing up, Scott Bingham ’18 knew he would pursue a career helping others, but he never dreamed he would be doing just that via technology. Today, he is Senior Director of IT Operations at Seattle Children’s Hospital, delivering technical solutions for clinical teams supporting young patients.

A prominent fixture in the city with a long history of community support, Seattle Children’s mission is Hope, Care, and Cure. “It’s about providing care for every child, irrespective of a family’s ability to pay,” says Scott. “We serve a diverse patient population, respecting and caring for all kids equally. It’s not just a hospital for children; children are different, and they have to be treated differently.” Scott Bingham

Technology is a significant part of delivering the care these children need. Scott leads teams who support technology on the hospital floor, in the desktop environment, and elsewhere. “The hospital delivers care 24/7,” he reminds us. “We have over 300 kiddos in the hospital under long-term care. They need the technology to work. It has to work—all the time. We need to ensure that technology isn’t slowing down the care our kids need.”

Working in hospital IT feels more rewarding to Scott than his previous work in for-profit corporate environments. “There’s a different reason for showing up,” he says. “Caring for these kiddos gives us the motivation and inspiration for doing what we do. It’s inspiring to work in an environment like that.”

Scott’s dedication to his hospital, its patients, and his team led him to think about how earning an EMBA could arm him with the tools to better serve them. When choosing the right EMBA for him, he knew he needed to continue prioritizing service along with business.

On Selecting an EMBA Program: Confidence, Leadership, and Impact

While he had been interested in pursuing a graduate degree for several years, Scott put this goal on the back burner while he built his career and raised his family, including his four children. Then, in 2016, he knew it was the right time. “I felt like I had this gap in my confidence,” he says. “I wanted to believe in myself more. I also wanted to pursue new learning opportunities and grow as a leader.”

When it came to choosing an EMBA program, Scott was torn between Albers and his undergraduate alma mater. Speaking with Albers Director Ariel Rosemond during his interview, Scott said, “I want to make a difference—to have a real impact.” The two grabbed a coffee and walked around campus, discussing Scott’s commitments and career goals. Scott quickly realized it was the right fit.

As part of his confidence journey, Scott wanted to focus on finding his own voice so he could convey his ideas with clarity and persuasion. He also wanted to focus on social injustices in his community.

“I found Albers to be in great alignment for what I was looking for,” he says. “The Leadership EMBA program filled this need I had to grow myself and do something remarkable with my education.”

On the Transformative Journey at Albers

At Albers, Scott was surprised by how much of the education included introspective work. “It’s so much more than just the academics,” he says. “Yes, it’s statistics, finance, and strategy… but it’s also cultural understanding and self-reflection. This experience opened me up to seeing what makes me tick and how I could grow myself in ways I didn’t think were possible. Who am I as a leader, and who do I want to become?”

He credits his classmates with encouraging that growth as well. “They gave me the positive affirmation to practice voicing my thoughts and becoming a better leader,” he says. Scott praises the cohort experience, emphasizing the strong bond he had with others.

Coaching also influenced his professional development in the program. As part of the Leadership EMBA at Albers, students have access to an executive coach. For Scott, this relationship helped him develop as a more influential leader. “It’s hard to make an impact if you aren’t willing to project your voice,” says Scott. “I’ve always worked hard, but I needed to learn to amplify my ideas, use my voice, and hold my ground.”

There were necessary hard skills he needed, too. “I didn’t have a finance or business background. I was self-taught,” says Scott. “Albers gave me skills like these, which helped me grow as a leader in my current role.”

Another big takeaway for Scott was the way Albers encouraged him to think about the experiences of others with different subjectivities. “This experience helped me cultivate more compassion, understanding, and respect for those who are different from me,” says Scott. “I’m able to better empathize with the experiences of marginalized people and to think about how I can make a difference.”

On Applying His Leadership EMBA Education to the Workplace

One area Scott sought improvement in was conveying the needs and practices of his team to hospital administration. “I needed to learn how to translate why we do what we do. Sometimes, that translation is more important than the thing itself,” he says.

His team had to get used to him talking about Albers, too. “Through each and every course of the Leadership EMBA program, I took my learnings and applied them right back to my work at Seattle Children’s,” says Scott. “Every quarter, my team would say, ‘Oh, you learned something new.’” He tried out different strategies with his team, from leadership development to strategic planning. “These skills from Albers helped me fill my knowledge gaps and think about how my education could help us support the hospital.” His experience has since inspired other Seattle Children’s employees to pursue a Leadership EMBA at Albers.

Scott found the strategy development course to be particularly applicable to his role at the hospital. The course helped him learn about different methodologies for creating and implementing strategies. He also spent time considering how to build partnerships with community partners. “Leadership and strategy went hand-in-glove in this course,” says Scott,” and it gave me the voice to amplify my work.” These skills in leadership, strategy, and persuasion would serve him in two service initiatives he pursued at Seattle Children’s. “Without Albers, I wouldn’t have stood a chance.”

Forming A Healthcare Guild

Founded on philanthropy, Seattle Children’s Hospital boasts quality care and research, but there was a gap: housing. During a project for his Leadership EMBA, Scott established a nonprofit: Housing Solutions for Hope. “The genesis for this nonprofit came from stories I heard at the hospital,” says Scott. Many families traveled from long distances—sometimes from out of state—to have their children treated at Seattle Children’s. Some families were housing or food insecure. Some caregivers lost wages due to needing time away to care for their child. Some families lived in their car.

“I thought, I can’t not do something about this,” says Scott. “That’s what Albers taught me: When you see something, you can’t unsee it. I had to do something with my privilege, access, and knowledge. I needed to get busy.” And he did.

Creating a nonprofit takes a lot of work—and it also requires raising a significant amount of money. Armed with the confidence from his Leadership EMBA coursework, Scott collaborated with executives and leaders at Seattle Children’s Hospital to create a new guild

Every dollar raised goes back to the hospital. A social work team then allocates the funds to families in the greatest need. To date, Housing Solutions for Hope has raised almost $500,000, helping well over 75 families.

Paving An Alternative Pathway to IT Careers

Outside of his nonprofit work, Scott is also busy paving alternative pathways for others interested in pursuing a career in IT. “Not everyone has the advantage of a clear pathway to a university education,” says Scott. To address this gap in access to education, he has worked with Seattle colleges (North, Central, South) that serve a diverse student population. Together, they built a micro-credential, three-quarter program, which just graduated its first cohort this June.

This one-of-a-kind program provides under-represented communities with the opportunity to enter health care IT when they may not otherwise have a pathway. “Creating access was very important to me. Also, creating equity and diversity creates business value and grows who we are as Seattle Children’s IT,” says Scott.

On Advice to Incoming Students: Keep Your Foot on the Gas

To others considering a degree at Albers, Scott says: Prepare to be challenged. “It’s a time commitment, sure, but it also involves opening yourself up and looking inside. It will give you a lot if you embrace it.”

He also adds, “Trust the process”—a phrase often heard among Albers alums. It refers to the rigorous emotional, intellectual work involved in earning a Leadership EMBA at Seattle University—and the payoffs that come with it. “You will build so much momentum during this program,” says Scott. “Keep your foot on the gas. Build those ideas through your capstone project, graduate, then bring your ideas to fruition in your community.”