Even while facing the current COVID-19 challenges, Samaritan Ministries is preparing for the future, bringing in a new Chief Information Officer, Will Cooper.
Will has experience over his career as a global business leader in the IT, cable and telecom sectors. He has worked with companies such as Amdocs, Unisys, Verizon, and Bell Laboratories and has studied at Johns Hopkins University, Livingstone College, Harvard University, and The Wharton School of Business.
Will said he was attracted to Samaritan Ministries because of its unique operational practices.
“I was initially fascinated by how this organization functions both as a ministry and as a business, providing a service to the Body of Christ that is very much needed in our time,” he said. “Secondly, after visiting Samaritan and meeting the various levels of management on site, I felt a sweet spirit of grace that was overwhelming. On my last interview visit, (Samaritan founder) Ted Pittenger gave me a copy of the book Sharing the Burden. I read the book on the way back to Maryland, and the story sealed it for me. To see the journey that Ted and the team encountered truly validates that there is a God, and God has been with Samaritan.”
Will said he hopes the attribute of servant leadership will help him connect with both Samaritan staff and members.
“I am here to serve Samaritan in my capacity as a leader and use my past experiences as an executive in Fortune 100 companies to assist Samaritan in helping build the Kingdom of God,” Will added. “From a creativity and imagination perspective, I look forward to the opportunity to develop new and innovative ideas that will help Samaritan grow to even higher levels.”
One of Will's first challenges at Samaritan came in mid-March, when ministries and businesses were facing shelter-in-place orders. In just 10 days, approximately 95% of Samaritan’s 350-plus employees transitioned to working from locations outside the office—no small feat with work hours stretching longer each day as Samaritan staff continued to help over a quarter of a million members navigate this constantly changing health care situation.
“As CIO, my first priority was the safeguarding of our staff, ensuring their health and safety during this COVID-19 event,” Will said. “It was an urgent requirement to unite the Information Technology team to provide our staff with the best remote work options for our ministry. Overall, I am very excited and proud of the Information Technology team and how they heard the call and implemented a state-of-the-art remote infrastructure. At the end of this effort, 95% of our workforce is now working remotely and providing exemplary services to our members.”
The CIO also hopes Samaritan’s IT department will inspire the ministry through technology as it embarks on a digital transformation journey that will allow Samaritan to enhance the member experience through innovative technologies.
“Our ministry is high-touch, and we want to leverage how we can use technology to expand our high-touch culture to serve even more members of the Body of Christ,” Will said. “We have the opportunity to provide more unique services to and through our solid membership base. We want to gradually expand our reach of sharing the burden beyond health care, to help enable Samaritan members to do what Jesus commanded in the Great Commission, doing all He commanded us in all arenas of life. Ephesians 3:20 tells us that if we rely on God, He is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or even imagine by His power working in us. I am excited about being a part of a leadership team and ministry that can help bring this to fruition. Our God comes first in all that we do, and He is awesome!”