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Leading technology in Manila

Meg Viado, Darlene de la Cruz and Len Lapuz-De Guzman are technology leaders in Macquarie’s Manila office. Over the past 13 years, they have each been integral to the evolution of Manila as a technology hub. The colleagues say they’ve enjoyed the innovative culture that promotes diversity and has enabled them to learn and grow.

Meg Viado: Building technology teams and platforms

Meg is Associate Director and Engineering Platform Lead for our Commodities and Global Markets business

“My passion has always been technology. I like the satisfaction of using my skills to provide something that could change someone’s life in a positive way and seeing that impact. 

I studied computer science at university. My first job was as a data developer before I got into networking in the early days of the internet. I then worked as a database administrator, and moved into development, before designing systems as Head of Application Architecture for a global insurer.

In 2009, I joined Macquarie’s Manila office. They were looking for capabilities in architecture, development and project management. In me, they found all three. On my third day with Macquarie, I flew to Sydney to promote Manila’s capabilities as a development centre.

Over the next eight years I focused on building teams, from less than 10 developers at the start to hundreds of developers today, working to support Macquarie’s businesses across the globe.

One of my proudest achievements is helping to establish our Manila office as one of the key technology development hubs for Macquarie. Not only was I able to offer work to my fellow Filipinos, showcase their talent, and make people's lives better, but we also proved that engineering and architecture can be driven from Manila.

I’m a technologist through and through and I still wanted to use my development skills. So, in 2018 I asked if I could do something new. I was given a small platform app and I suggested how we could develop it with new technology.

This has now developed into Macquarie’s strategic tool for managing workflows and enables straight through, zero-touch processing. My current ​​role as Engineering Platform Lead involves looking at the road map for our workflow tool and how we evolve the platform to support the business. I belong to the leadership team in Commodities and Global Markets Post Trade and Digital and lead the engineering team. I also head up the engineering guild, which brings engineers together across teams to share ideas and best practice.

Macquarie is agile and open to new technologies and supports you to experiment, grow and learn new things.”

Over my career I’ve seen technology mature. We have better tools to help us deliver systems faster, the standards have risen, the requirements are more complex, the turnarounds are faster, and the expectation of users has evolved. Data has been a game changer. 

After 13 years at Macquarie, it’s the innovation that keeps me interested.

What I wish I knew when I started my technology career

First, you can never go wrong if you pursue your passion. Second, everyone has insecurities, but you need to be confident and back yourself. Third, a Macquarie mentor showed me early in my time with the organisation that it is so important to invest in networking and building relationships throughout your career. A network is crucial for support.

Darlene de la Cruz: At the helm of my own career

Darlene is Vice President of Engineering for Banking and Financial Services Technology in Asia

I grew up watching Star Trek. While living in outer space didn’t appeal to me, even as a child, I knew I wanted to work with computers. There was never a doubt in my mind I would be a software engineer.

​​​I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Prior to joining Macquarie, I had various experiences ranging from creating games for phones, implementing enterprise resource planning software for manufacturing companies, and building UIs for web apps to administering databases.

In 2010, I had a job interview with Macquarie where the interviewer and I had a debate on certain technology implementation. I thought that was cool. I like telling this story because it’s a good reflection of Macquarie’s culture - people are empowered to speak up and share their ideas. By then, I knew I had found my home.

My first team was in Banking and Financial Services Technology, working on a security and user access project. Since then, I’ve worked with different divisions and projects such as credit cards, distributed finance, and car loans. Somewhere along the journey, I became a delivery manager. But I am a software engineer at heart, so I talked to my manager about my aspirations to be a Director of Engineering instead. My manager was supportive, and this new opportunity gave me autonomy to elevate the skills of our teams and challenge the way that we work.

Today I’m Vice President of Engineering for Banking and Financial Services Technology in Asia. I make sure we have the right culture, tools and practices for our engineers to flourish. I belong to the leadership team of Banking and Financial Services Technology, and I am also a part of the global Engineering Leadership Team of Macquarie, representing engineers from Asia and encouraging collaboration between engineering teams in different business areas. 

Macquarie puts its people first and the emphasis on continuous learning allows you to grow and shape your own career path.”

I’m inspired by the fact that there is always something new happening. We have ambitious goals where software engineering plays an important part in our ability to evolve and deliver exceptional customer experiences alongside our leading digital banking platforms.  

It’s exciting to be part of an organisation where I’m empowered to carve my own unique career path. And while this may not be the final frontier, I’ll continue to explore and discover new things along the way. That’s what makes it fun!

What I wish I knew when I started my technology career

​​​First, it’s OK to make mistakes. In fact, making mistakes is when you learn the most, because you’ll remember them more keenly than the successes. Second, communication skills are essential to be effective in any role, including software engineering. Finally, change is constant. Focus on what is important and what you can control – everything else is noise.

Len Lapuz-De Guzman: Go places you never thought you'd go

Len is Associate Director and Head of Technology for Commodities and Global Markets and Macquarie Capital in Manila

After completing a Computer Engineering degree in 2001, I joined a graduate program for a technology company where I explored different roles from engineering, software development and testing to service delivery management.

I was very happy there but when a friend sent me a job ad for a Global Service Desk Manager for Macquarie, I was intrigued. It was early days for Macquarie’s Manila office and during the interview I heard how Manila would play a critical role in the global delivery of technology, and the technology transformation of Macquarie. I joined the Technology team in 2009 and the rest is history.

Initially, I worked on a transformational project to move from regional delivery into a global operating model for tech, with a 24/7 team in Manila. I had the chance to travel to Hong Kong, Sydney, London and New York, to connect directly with our users and bring them on the transformation journey. I also spent six months in Philadelphia, building out a team. 

These experiences really shaped me as a person, broadened my perspective by exposing me to different cultures, and developed my passion for diversity, equity and inclusion.

I then moved into a service delivery team for Manila infrastructure, becoming a people manager as well as delivering business improvements. 

Right now, as Associate Director in Technology, my role involves looking at the big picture while juggling decision management, insights and reporting. I lead Service Management for Commodities and Global Markets and Macquarie Capital globally, which gives me broad exposure and a deeper understanding of what the business does. I also find opportunities to uplift the value, breadth and depth of skills we have and help further our people’s careers.

Developing diverse tech talent is something I’m passionate about, which is why I’ve been the management sponsor of the Women in Tech Employee Network Group (ENG) for the last five years. This is a voluntary, employee-led group that gives women in tech across Macquarie the chance to exchange ideas and build relationships. More recently, I’ve also represented Manila in Macquarie’s Asia Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. I’ve seen it embedded into how Macquarie does things, from the top down, and become important to our business - from the Employee Network Groups to our business priorities. 

Macquarie supports me to be a mum to my family, as well as leading the team in Manila, and to create a balance to work effectively in these roles.

Macquarie doesn’t put you in a box. You can grow laterally, vertically and you’re supported to shape your own career. You’re encouraged to move outside your comfort zone and go places you never thought you’d go.”

I’ve been empowered to pursue new challenges at Macquarie, while being supported by my managers along the way. Change is a constant and I’ve evolved, learned and transformed on a personal and professional level.

What I wish I knew when I started my technology career

My advice to anyone looking to start a tech career would be to be open and ready to be surprised with opportunities that you never really planned for. 

One of the challenges of working in technology is that it’s fast moving, so you have to be opportunistic, and push yourself to learn, relearn and unlearn to continually equip yourself with future skills. You can’t rest on your laurels, you always need to be relevant in what you do, uplift the value, and have a learning mindset. 

Tech transformation requires you to bring both the tech people and your customers in on the same journey, so collaboration is critical.

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