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Latino Trailblazer

Ligia Vilela

  • Gender: Female
  • Undergraduate Degree: Information Systems
  • Organization: Wells Fargo
  • Position Title: Head of Innovation Technology

Ligia is an executive in the banking industry, with over 25 years of experience in her primary field of technology. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems at San Francisco State University, she began her career in technology at Sprint and Bank of America, before moving to Wells Fargo, where she is now the Head of Innovation Technology.

She started at Wells Fargo as a senior developer and steadily advanced in her career, becoming Chief Technology Officer for Digital Channels Technology in 2007. In 2017, she was promoted to her current role, through which she oversees the branch of the organization that develops solutions to improve the experience of both customers and employees. She is responsible for the management of innovation labs, as well as the research, support, and development of emerging technologies, including Wells Fargo’s artificial intelligence platform.

She has been named by Latino Leaders Magazine as one of the “HITECH 100.” The annual list, created in partnership with the Hispanic IT Executive Council, recognizes top Latinos in technology. In 2017, she was Women Worth Watching’s STEM Award winner, based on “her inclusive leadership style,” valuing the diversity of people and ideas, as well as collaboration and team development.

She mentors a number of people within and outside of the Wells Fargo network, and volunteers her time, with the goal of promoting career advancement for others.

From her vantage point as a businesswoman in the world of innovative technology, Ligia sees great opportunities for women in STEM careers, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence. In an interview with Women to Watch 2019, she stated that industry advances will require a “new set of engineers that are able to transform their skills and integrate the various elements of emotional intelligence into their technical solutions.” Her hope is that as young women become increasingly aware of the options available to them, more will choose to start college with a plan to pursue lucrative and fulfilling careers in STEM fields—eventually inspiring others to do the same.