Transforming the EduTech landscape
Like so many Visionaries, Mugunth Vaithylingam learned to embrace challenges at a young age. Throughout the course of his life, he has gravitated towards opportunities to solve issues and create a path towards something new and exciting. Today, as a leader in Technology and Operations, he continues to elevate himself, his organization, and other growth-minded individuals around him, to reach the next level of progress.
Mugunth’s natural instinct to look for ways to bring positive disruption to the organizations he has been at, has served him well in the ever-evolving landscape of higher education. “I was not intentionally seeking a career in Higher Education but was drawn to the mission of changing the lives of students,” he has said. After a short stint working as an Analyst at a Casino, Mugunth seized an opportunity at the University of Hartford, where he had earned his MBA, and has never looked back.
Mugunth moved to the United States after obtaining his undergrad degree in India, a country he had moved to from Sri Lanka at the age of 11.
Now, with two decades of experience and transformative work under his belt, Vaithylingam is currently the Chief Experience Officer at the College of Southern Nevada (USA) where he is transforming operations across the institution by aligning the physical and digital infrastructure as the leader over IT, Compliance, Facilities, Wellness and Events. As the third largest institution of its type in the U.S. with over 3,000 classes supporting 43,000 students per semester, it is important to offer a state-of-the-art campus and remote experience to the faculty, staff and students at the college with its 3 campuses and 8 academic/learning centers.
“I am fortunate to have been surrounded by great people and mentors throughout my life. This has made me passionate about helping others.”
Throughout the years, Mugunth and his team have participated in numerous ways to give back to the community – collecting toys for those in need, reading to inner city youth, donating to food banks, volunteering at local charities, and raising money for scholarships to homeless youth. He is continuously looking for places to give students a chance to gain practical experience while getting their education.
These kinds of efforts to create opportunities and equality are baked into Mugunth’s DNA. Beyond the college, Mugunth has worked with colleagues across many industries as a Founding Member of TechPACT (TechPact.org), an organization keenly focused on advocating for Diversity and Inclusion within the Tech community.
Thanks to this service and two decades of a highly accomplished career, today Mugunth is well respected as a leader with strengths in solving complex challenges, resolving short-term business issues that create long-term value, and driving initiatives that achieve targets, results and bottom-line objectives. Recently, he also completed the prestigious Harvard University Emerging Leaders Program.
A Tech Innovator and Influencer, Mugunth is a much sought after Thought Leader, Board Member, and Public Speaker. In his pursuit of continuous improvement, he has been able to garner several awards for Leadership and Service such as a Most Influential CIO Award from Evanta, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Las Vegas Top Tech Awards, and most recently named to the CIO 100. He also delivered the commencement speech for Victor Valley College because of his influential leadership in the region. Mugunth is always quick to recognize his team whenever he receives these accolades. “I am keenly aware of how much I owe to my team. Without them I cannot deliver on anything. They make me look good.”
Of course, none of this comes without challenges. “I often turn to other people for advice when I encounter challenges, and I am not afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness to reach out to others, but a sign of humility that you are aware of your own shortcomings and are willing to learn. Understanding others’ viewpoints and how they see your problems allows for a fresh perspective. Sometimes, you may be too close to the issue… seeing the application of different life experiences and an outside view can be just what you need to move through the difficulty.”
Lastly, in a field that is constantly evolving, what inspires Mugunth to keep going? “Every person I have had the pleasure of meeting throughout my life has been an inspiration to me. This creates a cycle of feeding my passion for helping others. When we seek to make a tangible impact on others, we see our lives transformed, and are in turn inspired to do more. The well never runs dry.”