Illumina this week named Carissa Rollins as its next Chief Information Officer, bringing in a seasoned healthcare technology leader as the company accelerates its push toward personalized medicine.
She is based in Madison, Wisconsin and reports to CEO Francis deSouza.
Rollins most recently served as CIO at UnitedHealthcare, where she oversaw the technology strategy, roadmap and investments across business portfolios including commercial, Medicare and retirement, and government programs. Prior to UnitedHealthcare, she held senior leadership and executive positions at Gander Mountain, Kohl’s Corporation, ManpowerGroup, and Miller-Coors, now Molson Coors Beverage Company.
Rollins said the role at Illumina gives her a chance to stay focused on healthcare and to improve patients’ lives. People struggling with health issues or learning about potential illnesses for the first time “need a personalized experience and to feel it’s easy for them to navigate the healthcare system,” she said.
Technology will play a key role in delivering that personalization as Illumina analyzes vast troves of data to better understand customer needs and develop new products and services. Technology and data will also help uncover how Illumina’s business can best interact with physicians, insurers and others across the healthcare ecosystem.
Based in San Diego, Illumina sells genetic sequencing products and services to medical researchers and other customers around the world. Its products are used in applications across life sciences, oncology, reproductive health, agriculture, among other segments. The company reported $4.5 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2021. Last year, Illumina acquired GRAIL, an organization that created a blood test to help detect multiple cancers early.
Recruiting and developing talent with diverse backgrounds and skillsets will be another focus for Rollins. Drawing on past work at UnitedHealthcare, she noted plans to connect with local universities, expand programs around neurodiversity and find opportunities to invite underrepresented communities into the healthcare space.
“A passion in my career, especially over the last five years, is how we bring people into our organization who weren’t necessarily thinking about a career in tech,” Rollins said. She hopes to build teams whose members combine technical expertise with empathy, compassion and curiosity, and whose jobs are clearly aligned to the mission and purpose of the business.
Rollins holds a BS in Management Information Systems and an MBA from Marquette University. She is the current chair for the YWCA Minneapolis board of directors, sits on the Grand Canyon Conservancy board and is a member of the T-Mobile advisory board.