Assistant Commissioner, Project Portfolio Management
Zarina has 25 years of IT leadership experience that spans across both private and public sectors. She has been with Minnesota IT Services partnering with MMB since June 2018 where she led implementations of SWIFT (the state’s finance and procurement system) and portal system upgrades. Zarina Baber will join the MNIT leadership team as the Assistant Commissioner of Project Portfolio Management, in addition to serving as CBTO for the Governor's Office. Baber previously served a dual role as the Deputy CBTO for Minnesota Management and Budget and CBTO for the Governor’s Office.
Prior to MNIT, Zarina’s experience included major program execution, establishing and leading Project Management Offices (PMO), and implementing portfolio management practices. As the Director of the Enterprise PMO at Ameriprise Financial Services, Zarina led the transformation of technology’s annual planning process to a rolling monthly portfolio management process. She has extensive experience implementing a $175 million electronic health record initiative at Fairview Health Services, and stood up the PMO at Target Corporation. Zarina’s public sector experience includes several years at Hennepin County Medical Center, where among other things she developed and introduced the Information Management Life Cycle. She also led the implementation of a service integration initiative across nine divisions—the data sharing project included business process redesign and cross-divisional systems integration.
Outside of work, Zarina is a recognized leader in the state for some of her ground-breaking work for multiple causes. She was a recipient of the Annual Asian Pacific Leadership Award in 2001, and the recipient of AARP and Pollen’s 2017 50 Over 50 leadership award in the Disruptors category, an annual award that highlights the 50 most inspiring and accomplished leaders across Minnesota. Zarina has served on several boards including Advocates for Human Rights, an internationally renowned human rights organization.
Zarina holds a BS in MIS from Carlson School of Management, U of M; MS in Technology Management from the School of Engineering, University of St. Thomas and a Master Certificate in Healthcare Leadership with Focus on Organizational Change Management from Cornell University. In addition, Zarina is a certified Project Management Professional and a Certified Scrum Master.