Meet Vivian Wong, Head of Application Development for Fund Services and Global Marketing Systems and learn about her experiences paving the way for technology transformation in the financial industry over the past 25 years.
Tell us about your career to date.
I earned my master’s degree in Computer Science from The City University of New York and started my career as an application lead in Equity Research. I worked for large financial institutions in technology roles before joining BBH in 2019 to lead application development for Fund Services and Global Marketing Systems. I like to participate in various committees within the Systems area. I’m currently a member of BBH’s Women in Technology community, which champions the contributions of female technologists within the firm and offers development and mentoring opportunities.
What is technology transformation and why is it important?
Technology transformation entails incorporating new technologies through people and processes. As such, comprehensive strategies around operating models need to be assessed and developed in order to pave the way for adoption success. In short, we aim “to do things better and to do better things”. Additionally, I believe that change brings opportunity. Transformation fundamentally changes the way we operate, from our culture to our mindset, ultimately encouraging the firm to critically assess the processes and the technologies we have in place. This critical assessment ensures that we are constantly aware of the changes in the market and helps us increase the agility and effectiveness with which we can respond to changes, helping us continuously achieve success.
What qualities do you look for when assembling a transformation team?
When building high impact teams that can inspire, support, and empower change, I look for individuals who have natural leadership tendencies and demonstrate accountability. When I refer to leadership traits, I’m talking about an individual’s ability to see what actions need to be put in place to ensure the success of the team as a whole. Because we work in an environment where change is constant, we need people who are agile and embrace change rather than shy away from it. Together, those qualities paired with strong mentorship programs, create a collaborative environment which fosters success.
What’s your secret for gaining leadership trust when introducing new technology and ideas?
I always operate with the organization’s core values and strategic priorities as my North Star. This approach has helped me partner with business sponsors and product teams to identify their pain points and bring new technology and ideas to fruition. Strong communication and transparency about potential challenges is key. Thankfully, I have always loved a good challenge and am inspired by the rapid pace of change within the technology industry and the possibilities that it affords. I find my passion for technology transformation helps me to rally support from key stakeholders.
Because these types of big strategic data priorities can take some time to implement and deliver value, I find it’s helpful to identify 5-10 quick wins to add value and demonstrate the return on investment. The small accomplishments demonstrate how with an agile approach, we can be quick to market with delivering on client needs.
Any career advice for your younger self?
Your career is going to be a journey that’s not always a straight path! There may also be some bumps along the way, but in the end, the way you choose to react to unpredictable changes and how you navigate these challenges will bring you the experience and uniqueness that makes you, you. Get a mentor as soon as you can and be brave enough to try things outside your comfort zone. Always ask questions and be open to learning as much as you can.