Rosa Ramos-Kwok: Accomplished. Authentic. Ambitious.
Rosa joined Bank of America in February 2014 as the Global Wholesale Bank Chief Technology Officer. Prior to joining the bank, she was the Morgan Stanley Global head of Enterprise Production Management as well as the Americas regional head of Enterprise Infrastructure. Rosa had a 25+ year tenure at Morgan Stanley joining as a trainee and rising through the ranks to become Managing Director. She held roles in Application Development, Infrastructure Management, Risk Management and Production Management. Rosa was also the Chair of the Latino Employee Network. Rosa has been featured in several publications including Latina Style Magazine and Diversity and Careers Magazine, was recognized as a Trendsetter by Latin Trends magazine, and Hispanic Engineer and IT Magazine recently named Rosa as one of the top Latinas in Information Technology. In 2017, Rosa has been recognized in Fortune among the 50 most powerful Latinas in corporate America, a list compiled by the Association of Latino Professionals (ALPFA), and she ranks eighth among Business Insider’s 43 most powerful female engineers for the year. She was recognized as a great mind in Science, Technology, Engi-neering and Math (STEM) by the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) organization, was recognized by the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC) as one of the top 100 U.S. based Latinos in Technology (2013, 2014, and 2015) and is a HITEC board member. Rosa is also a Senior Leadership Council member of the NY Chapter of the ALPFA and a member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
How did you arrive to your current position?
I joined Bank of America three years ago as the Chief Technology Officer for the Global Wholesale Bank after more than 25 years at Morgan Stanley. After two years at Bank of America, I had the opportunity to join Retail, Preferred and Small Business and GWIM Technology, leading the Consumer and Shared Services Operations Technology organization. I studied liberal arts in college and was drawn to Technology to help automate business processes and make the work-place more efficient. I learned to code in the Morgan Stanley technology training program.
What was given to you in terms of advice or mentor-ship that pushed you to where you are today?
A few points – first, always be your authentic self. Re-member to leverage your strengths just as much as you focus on your development areas. I have had a number of mentors along the way. One of my mentors encouraged me to stay on a more technical path, which has served me well. I also received great coaching about dealing with disappointments. While we all want our careers to grow exponentially, that does not always happen. Sometimes we have set backs. When you do, sulk for 24 hours and then get right back in the game and focus on your goals.
As a recognized industry leader - what advice can you give to the upcoming generations? Careers are long. To achieve a long career, focus on your craft – have the right balance of patience to learn your craft. At the same time incorporate a sense of urgency to achieve and continue learning. Learn, learn, learn, have fun, collaborate, have integrity about who you are. Give back, be a role model.
What advantages do you see in supporting organizations such as HITEC?
The HITEC organization showcases great technology leaders (they also happen to be Hispanic!). The mentoring of emerging executives is something that is very special and unique. The next generation needs role models that look like our communities – you get that with HITEC.
What steps do we need to take to address the Hispanic Technology pipeline shortage? How can we improve Latino representation? I think Hispanic youth need to see role models that look like them and come from similar backgrounds. I think to improve representation we need to show the younger generation what is possible. Parents also have to be educated about the job market in technology – it is a great career with even more promise.
What role do you see Latinos playing for BoA’s future, as leaders, customers and collaborators?
The bank is committed to diversity and inclusion – for our employees to reflect the communities we serve. As Latino’s we are contributing to all of the firm’s lines of business, one of the fastest growing customer bases. We are focused on meeting the needs of Latinos. Our Mobile applications are available in Spanish – that is just one example of how important the Latino community is to the bank.
Which is your main strategy to ensure success in your operations?
Do your best everyday – focus on your people, the business and technology. I think it is important to connect and be available for your team and your clients.
What are your most important work and professional values?
Be true to yourself, remember where you came from, have integrity, try your best and help others along the way.
How do you see the challenges ahead for your company and in your industry? How do you approach them?
Technology is always changing – that is what makes it interesting – embrace it. I see challenges as opportunities – go toward them and be a thought leader in the process.
What innovations are you most exited about?
Lately I have been learning about and implementing Robotic Process Automation as well as digitizing business processes. Very cool!
What is the main lesson you have learned at BoA?
I have met great people at the bank – all committed to doing what is best for our customers and clients. All working to make our clients financial lives better – through the power of making connections. Technology helps drive those connections.
What is the philosophy you lead your teams with?
Teamwork – together we can accomplish so much more than any individual can. Doing the right thing never feels difficult – it feels right.