Technology is at the heart of nearly every industry, making its experts among the most important leaders. C-suite executives and digital officers are responsible for more departments and responsibilities that aren’t easy to narrow down to a single title, which is why Lo Li recommends leaving names and titles out. As Managing VP of Customer Digital Experience and Payments for Capital One, Lo oversees many aspects of the global financial institution’s technology landscape, but expectations for leaders in her field are higher than ever. Technologists can’t simply apply the same tactics for the boardroom as they do for motherboards — communication, business, and financial skills are just as crucial.
As CTOs and their ilk find their responsibilities and expectations expanded, it’s easy for tech leaders to focus on new innovations without communicating shareholder value. But as Lo has experienced, they should also work closely with product and business partners to understand the underlying problems that need to be solved. As technologists grow into their own as executive leaders, she and other experts expect to see more CTOs rising to chief executive positions across industries. But to succeed, technology leaders need to carry their own weight on the business end as well.