It’s not easy to climb the ladder to the C-suite of a publicly traded company as a woman of color in the male-dominated fintech industry, but Linglong He has seized a top rung as chief leadership advisor of Rocket Central.
She has been shaking up the technology industry for more than 20 years at one of the nation’s largest personal finance and consumer service brands: Rocket Companies. Fortune ranked Rocket as No. 5 among its 2021 “100 Best Companies to Work For.”
This St. Thomas alumna previously served from 2010-21 as chief information officer at sister company Quicken Loans, now called Rocket Mortgage. In that role, she spearheaded the 2015 launch of the first completely digital mortgage experience.
Linglong He joined the Rocket family of brands in 1996 as a software engineer, two years after obtaining a master’s degree in software engineering from the University of St. Thomas.
Her Words of Advice
For business leaders: Technology is an asset, not an expense. I think a lot of business leaders are starting to understand this. The CIO and CTO need to be at the table because technology is central to business. Your team members will be inspired to do more if they feel they don’t have to live in a box. You have to not only treat it as an investment, but you also have to make sure you’re investing in emerging, cutting-edge technology.
For women and people of color: People may look at you differently because of your gender, because of your race, because of your accent. You need to see yourself as an intelligent individual who is going to contribute to the table. Don’t ever let external barriers become internal barriers — nobody else can bring you down. When people discriminate against you, don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t easily give up. Prove you can do it.
For success: I never wanted to climb the ladder. I always try to be the best version of me. My main three things I want to share with people: Take ownership. Whenever people give you a task, big or small, you have to take the opportunity to master your own craft. Take initiative. How will people know you are more capable? Finally, build the relationship and make meaningful connections with others – it is too easy to be isolated in today’s world.
This story is featured in the spring 2022 issue of St. Thomas Engineer.