Leadership Profile: Huan Yan

By | May 23, 2024
Huan Yan
Huan Yan, Information Technology Director at Michigan Law

Early adopter or late arrival?

I am more of an early adopter. The Law School is a late arrival from the technology side. 

Mac or PC? iPhone or Android?

PC, iPhone.

Tell us about your role.

As the Information Technology Director at Michigan Law, I lead the school’s IT department, guiding the strategic planning, implementation, and management of technical services and solutions to support a premier legal education for teaching excellence and student success, from audiovisual services to end-user computing, infrastructure/network, security, and software development.

What do you enjoy most about your job, or what gives you the most satisfaction?

My current job gives me the opportunity to oversee and support all aspects of IT services and solutions which are essential to the operation of the Law School.  Additionally, I assume a more significant role in identifying, appraising, and choosing the strategic approaches and solutions for technology innovation and digital transformation within the organization.

What advice or leadership lesson would you offer to others that they could ascribe to their journey?

There are a lot of lessons learned from my IT leadership journey. The top three insights I’d like to impart are as follows:

Balance confidence with humility. As IT leaders, we need to believe in our own and the team’s capabilities and be decisive (even sometimes when not all the details/information are available) while remaining resilient and humble. This will allow us to learn, improve, and build rapport with others.

Serve others. I subscribe to the principles of servant leadership, which prioritizes the team and/or community’s welfare, growth, and achievements above personal goals. My approach focuses on inspiring and empowering the team, providing them with the necessary guidance, support, and resources to ensure their collective success.

Invest in building relationships and networking. With every new role I undertake, I prioritize acquainting myself with my colleagues—my team, coworkers, clients, and superiors. Establishing and nurturing solid relationships requires skill, determination, and time, but it is worthwhile for improving collaboration, boosting team spirit, and fostering trust.

Describe the culture you try to create on your team.

Collaboration and teamwork, open communication, being inclusive, accountability, trust and transparency, professional growth and development.

What is your background?

Before I joined the Michigan Law School in January 2023, I was the Senior Director of Enterprise Applications within the Computing and Information Technology division at Wayne State University. In that role, I adeptly led IT units in the development and maintenance of a wide spectrum of software and system solutions vital to the university’s operations, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM),  Learning Management Systems (LMS), Documentation management, Data warehouse, etc.

My voyage into higher education IT administration was preceded by an 18-year tenure in the technology sector with extensive experience in software/web development, project management, product management, and IT leadership, notably at companies like General Electric.

What do you do in your downtime, or what do you do for fun?

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, especially crime-solving novels and cooking. Since last summer, my husband has influenced me to enthusiastically embrace playing Pickleball with him and our circle of friends, a pastime that has swiftly turned into a beloved hobby.

What motivates you?

I am most motivated by the opportunity and potential to make an impact/change (big or small) on the organization’s success and to influence key decisions. I strive to partner with functional customers, demonstrate how IT can add value, and introduce efficiency and simplicity to business processes.