Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Houston CDAO Community

Shannon Hughes

CDO Enterprise Data Architecture Manager


Shannon Hughes is the Enterprise Data Architecture Manager in ExxonMobil’s Central Data Office, enabling the corporation to derive value from data assets by providing standard data management and data architecture practices to ensure alignment with data principles, policies, and standards. She has over 25 years of experience in the IT field with a passion for data architecture and data governance. She is a Certified Data Management Professional (CDMP Master) and was recently named one of CDO Magazine’s Global Data Power Women for 2023.

Learn more about the Houston CDAO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I have been at ExxonMobil since 2000 and started off in primarily IT infrastructure roles, including database administration and database system design. From there, I moved to a data consulting role, providing guidance for a variety of business functions to capture their data requirements through data modeling and helping increase data quality through establishing a data governance framework. Subsequently, I started a position in data architecture, establishing a data foundation in the Manufacturing space, which led to my current role. In 2021, I became a founding member of our newly formed Central Data Office, leading a team of data architects to establish standard data architecture practices, training, and governance for the enterprise.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

One of my leadership principles is to encourage constant learning and to ensure I am helping to mentor and grow the next generation of data professionals.

With disruption being a key theme of the past few years, where do you see your role as a CDAO going in the next 1-2 years?

I think a key objective for this role would be to focus on effectively using new technology to help data architects increase speed and agility to deliver robust designs for our business partners.  The work of "getting data right" is valued, but it needs to be at a pace that can keep up with the speed at which our business needs to transform.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CDAO?

Change is inevitable and setbacks can be discouraging. Focus on the mission, delivering value, and remain positive. Make sure the benefits your team is providing are visible.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I am a certified yoga instructor. Practicing yoga keeps me flexible and helps me deal with stress. I chose to teach to impart those benefits to others.
  2. I am also an artist and enjoy drawing and painting. I love to be able to sit down and create something new.
  3. I love the beach and saltwater fishing. I once hooked a six foot tiger shark (not on purpose) and luckily it swam away and broke the line!

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