Angie Ruan is Senior Vice President, Global Technology at Nasdaq where she leads the Nasdaq global infrastructure, cloud deployment, risk and surveillance engineering teams. The systems developed within her purview are critical to Nasdaq's internal operations, as well to the products and services Nasdaq provides to more than 100 customers worldwide.
We sat down with Ruan to learn about her career in technology and what advice she would give to young professionals who aspire to work in the capital markets.
How would you describe your role at Nasdaq?
My mission is extremely inspiring. I oversee the development of Nasdaq's market technology products, as well as global infrastructure development and services. One of my key areas of focus is Nasdaq Financial Framework, which is a very innovative solution comprising a core and a set of integrated services that sit on top of it. I also lead Nasdaq's efforts to transform to cloud technology and support markets everywhere.
I liken my role to an orchestra conductor. I spend my time planning, coordinating, executing and removing roadblocks for the teams. I meet and collaborate with our internal and external clients as well as partners. Since I work in a technology area that runs real-time applications, sometimes I have to jump in to solve production issues. But I also manage to set aside some quiet time to read books and technical articles, and listen to podcasts.
How is technology a part of your role at Nasdaq?
Nasdaq is making significant investments into its core platforms and services to deliver improved capabilities and efficiencies across the platforms exchanges operate today. We invest in R&D that enables us to run highly-reliable, ultra-low latency trading systems, and offer value-added products and services to our customers globally. Cloud, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data analytics, as well as blockchain are all important to our technology strategy. Moreover, our advanced surveillance systems ensure market integrity and fairness.
In terms of my role, I need to follow technology trends closely, and look for opportunities to deploy technologies that are used in other industries in the capital markets. User interface design and user experience design (UI/UX), which came out of the gaming industry, is a good example of that. I'm doing a lot of work in that area.
What challenges did you need to overcome during your career?
Before joining Nasdaq, I led technology transformations at American Express, PayPal and eBay, so I've had a very rich career so far. Technology evolves incredibly fast, and that means that the mindset and culture of an organization have to change quickly, too, and that's not always easy. Throughout my career I've had to learn to adapt, collaborate with people with diverse skillsets and backgrounds, and work in cross-functional teams. I think that ability has contributed to my success.
How has being a woman in finance and technology impacted your career?
I'm extremely fortunate to have worked with so many incredible men and women who have been my mentors and sponsors in finance and technology. Women are under-represented in both fields. As a woman, I'm very visible in my cohort, but at the same time I've had to work really hard to seize every opportunity.
What advice would you give to young women who aspire to be in finance and technology?
Don't be afraid to ask for help, and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.