Get to know: Ana Margarita Albir, CEO, ADL Digital Lab

Get to know: Ana Margarita Albir, CEO, ADL Digital Lab

On the lighter side of things, we ask Ana Margarita Albir, CEO ADL Digital Lab, what makes her tick.

Ana Margarita Albir, CEO ADL Digital Lab

What would you describe as your most memorable achievement?

On a personal level, I can highlight the moment when I became a mother. It truly is a unique, indescribable and memorable experience.

Professionally, I have had many achievements, including the opportunity to be part of different organizations where I have contributed with my knowledge, skills and strengths. I have also founded six companies, one in the United States and five within the Grupo Aval, among which is the first Multi-Entity Digital Laboratory in Latin America, which bets on innovation and Digital Transformation of our clients. But the most memorable has been the construction and consolidation of the work teams, of which I feel proud and with whom we are building the country.

What first made you think of a career in technology?

I studied physics and I loved it. However, during my first job at a consulting firm in Boston, they asked me to leverage the programming and data analysis skills I had learned during my studies and apply them to developing customized software for multinational companies. In that job, I felt the power of technology: the efficiency (a small team with laptops) that could design a program in 10 countries and the speed of innovation.

After that experience, I decided to build my career in technology. I have been fortunate enough to deepen my use of it to develop and execute strategies in various companies from different countries.

What style of management philosophy do you employ in your current position?

More than philosophy, I like to talk about inclusive and equitable leadership style, in which the same opportunities for development and growth can be guaranteed to all members of an organization, regardless of gender. I believe in the importance of empowering diverse teams.

What do you think is the current hot technology conversation topic?

I believe it is vital to highlight the conversation generated around Artificial Intelligence and the possibility of democratizing access to this type of technology in all industry sectors. While a few years ago, we only talked about this advancement in the technology and finance sectors, today, we can implement it in any business and adapt it to each company’s needs.

How do you deal with stress and relax outside of the office?

I enjoy spending time with my family, making plans with my husband and children, and traveling. I try to find time for music, I love playing piano and singing.

If you could go back and change one career decision, what would it be?

My entire journey has allowed me to learn continuously; I wouldn’t change anything about what I have experienced. I feel very proud of what I have built alongside my work teams and what we have achieved, thanks to collaborative and multidisciplinary work.

What do you currently identify as the top investment areas in your industry?

There are four areas currently being invested in:

  • Openfinance: generating a banking system increasinglyinterconnected with the external ecosystem and fintech
  • Artificial Intelligence: making it accessible to everyone
  • Generation of new or alternative means of payment
  • Digitalization and access technologies

What are the specific challenges of the region when implementing new technologies in Latin America?

Capital restrictions, the economic outlook and the situation of capital funds are causing the fintech environment to suffer, with new bets and startups being affected and a complex year projected for the banking industry. Therefore, it is essential to implement new technologies and new alliances between startups and traditional companies so that together they can navigate the challenges and maintain (and even accelerate) innovation that comes from new technologies.

What changes have you seen in your job role in the last year and how do you think they will develop in the next 12 months?

In the past year, innovation has been a strategic priority for ADL Digital Lab. Different launches, developments, alliances and acquisitions have constituted milestones in the Digital Transformation of the country’s financial sector, making the digital lab an essential reference in Latin America.

The lab was the orchestrator of the Digital Transformation investment of the largest financial group in Colombia. Last year, working together with the entities of our group, we achieved that 60% of the group’s consumer sales were digital. And perhaps more importantly, we deepened a 360 understanding of the customer, allowing us to anticipate their needs timelier.

Next year, we will focus on an even more significant scaling of the four ecosystems we launched: Carroya – mobility, Metrocuadrado – housing, Seguros ADL, and Matilde – Marketing Tech. With these ecosystems, we seek to transform the way we accompany our clients in the critical moments of their lives.

What advice would you give someone aspiring to a C-level position in your industry?

A leader should strive to be a good and professional human being. They should have clear goals, be willing to continuously expand their knowledge and be at the forefront of the trends and topics that concern them. But they should not forget that nothing is achieved without a team, so caring for and fostering talent is essential. They should have a passion for what they do and find ways to instill that passion in others.

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