Ligia Vilela is chief technology officer/chief application officer and senior vice president of Digital Channels Technology for Wells Fargo Bank. She has distinguished herself not only as a woman in technology but as a top technology professional in the banking industry.

Through her distinguished 25-year career as a technology professional she has led by example. She leads a team of more than 500 with responsibilities to deliver online and mobile services for millions of Wells Fargo customers. She is respected for an inclusive leadership style that respects diversity and fosters a family-like environment. Through her support of team members and corporate diversity networks, she has been responsible for influencing professional advancement in others.

At Wells Fargo, Vilela is co-chair of the Enterprise Information Technology and Operations Group Diversity & Inclusion Council and is also an active participant in the company’s Team Member Networks. Through her leadership and passion for mentoring and recruiting Latinas, as well as her commitment to hiring diverse candidates by creating an emerging talent recruiting program, she promotes a strong and inclusive team member base. Her efforts have helped attract diverse talent to Wells Fargo, where she serves as an example of what a woman in technology can achieve.

In the words of Ligia Vilela:

What can be done to move women forward in STEM?
“We need to emphasize to our young girls that creative and analytical thinking are as important as a strong inclination towards math, science, engineering or technology. The new school programs that are teaching young girls to code, to build robots, to create art via 3D, to be exposed to women in senior roles as mentors create the path for additional women to explore career paths in STEM.”

Where do you see women in STEM in five years?
“If we continue to work on expanding young girls and women awareness in STEM, we will see more women entering universities wanting to pursue STEM careers. As a result, they will have better paying jobs and hopefully will enable them to participate in encouraging and inspiring the next generation of women toward STEM. Technology is a fertile field for women to explore as various branches of Artificial Intelligence are being created requiring a new set of engineers that are able to transform their skills and integrate the various elements of emotional intelligence into their technical solutions. I believe that women have an edge on emotional intelligence that could make a career in technology more satisfying.”

Words I live by:
“Be respectful, helpful and good to others.”