Photo by Nikki Buchalski, CS&T at TIAA

TIAA: Women in IT — Lisa Weil: The Human Side of Tech

Written by Julian Cantella, CS&T Communications at TIAA

Lisa Weil has always loved solving puzzles. It didn’t take her long to discover that some of the most compelling puzzles have a human component.

The interest in technology came early: coding at 14, volunteer work building software for nonprofits in high school. At her first job, a purely technical role, she realized that staying close to the customer was equally important. That balance of hard skills and customer focus led Lisa to a dynamic career that included time at tech startups, Fidelity and her own consulting firm.

Now, as head of TIAA’s digital customer experience, Lisa’s focus on the customer has paid significant dividends.

“We live and breathe customer feedback,” she said. “As technology helps us obtain rich online feedback, we don’t let it replace live conversations with our clients.”

Under Lisa’s leadership, the quality and usage of TIAA’s digital channels has risen steadily. Consider these 2019 statistics:

  • Digital channels served more than 2.4 million clients
  • Digital interactions hit 90 percent of all customer interactions with TIAA
  • With an expanded voice of the customer program, TIAA listened and responded to 63,000 pieces of feedback from more than 30,000 customers

Throughout her career, Lisa has focused on working hard, building strong teams and driving positive change. She’s always viewed herself as an equal partner, listening and learning with self-awareness and not being afraid to act and challenge the status quo.Thriving as a woman in IT

“My first thought is never about my gender. When I walk through the door, I expect everyone’s perspectives to be heard – leading to creative solutions built together,” she said.

But as has been covered broadly in the media, women are significantly underrepresented in computing degrees and careers. For women who do hold technology roles, low representation can pose a variety of challenges, from unconscious bias to a lack of development opportunities.

Recently, Lisa has taken a more active role encouraging women in technology careers. In mentoring sessions and at conferences, Lisa has laid out three ways for women in technology to thrive:

​1) Know your customer – Understand how technology solves real-world problems, through direct customer interaction.

2) Create a safe environment – As a leader, cultivate cooperation and trust, inspiring team members to feel they can contribute something positive and be valued.

“One way I create a safe environment, I show vulnerability myself,” Lisa said. “We need to be authentic, share how we feel, and integrate personal values into our work. We need different perspectives to solve problems creatively.”

3) Seize opportunities – Don’t let fear get in your way, and seek “stretch” roles where you can learn and grow. Lisa believes we need to help women understand their worth and provide more opportunities for women to seize.

“When we coach women and give them a safe space to grow, they’re knocking it out of the park.”

Growing at TIAA

In her own career, Lisa’s learned some valuable lessons that she cultivates in her team at TIAA, regardless of gender. For one, you don’t need to have all the answers.

“Early in my career, saying ‘I don’t know’ wasn’t acceptable,” Lisa said. “Now, with the pace of change in technology, it’s impossible to think anyone would have all the answers. So embrace not knowing, seek to learn from different perspectives and move forward.”

One thing has been a constant throughout Lisa’s career: never forget the human piece of the puzzle.

“When team members trust each other, you don’t need as many meetings and status reports – things get done faster and everyone wins.”

Latest News

woke politics

Republicans Launch a War on ‘Woke’ Politics in Hopes of Big Legislative Wins in 2022

In 2020, former President Barack Obama warned that the phrase “Defund the Police” could become a dangerous rallying cry for the conservative right. But now, Republicans have apparently taken that warning one step further, declaring war on all things “woke.” Allan Smith and Sahil Kapur of NBC News wrote that…

women in politics

Women Remain Vastly Underrepresented in Local Government, Despite Conventional Wisdom Suggesting Otherwise

Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi sat behind President Biden during his first speech to a joint session of Congress on April 28 — representing the first time two women held such important and high-ranking political offices. Even after such a historic moment, the reality…

voter restriction

Florida Follows Georgia’s Lead, Approves Racist Anti-Voter Restrictions Aimed Primarily at Democrats and People of Color

Not content with letting Georgia be the only state in the South demonized for its bigoted and racist attacks on voter rights, Florida has jumped into the fray in issuing its own series of new and highly controversial “Jim Crow-esque” anti-voting restrictions aimed specifically at disenfranchising Democrats and voters of…

Kentucky Derby

Inspired by Protests Over Breonna Taylor’s Death, Humana and Kentucky Derby Festival Launch Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in Louisville

Ahead of the 147th Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1, Kentucky Derby officials and Humana (No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020) have announced a new equity initiative meant to make the race more accessible and welcoming to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age…

crimes against human ity

‘Crime Against Humanity’; Global Report Says the US Should Be Prosecuted in International Criminal Court for Ongoing Police Murders of Black Americans

In what has been described as a “devastating” report, human rights experts and lawyers have investigated and released a 188-page analysis of the ongoing police brutality and killing of Black Americans in the U.S. Their verdict: the country is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and should be prosecuted for its…

Tokyo, Olympics

Tokyo Olympics to Encourage Significant Increase in Gender Equality Among Event’s Corporate Sponsors

Besides simply being a showcase for some of the most talented and athletic men and women on the planet, the organizers of the Tokyo Olympics are hoping their event this summer can also help promote significant change in corporate culture, both in Japan and around the globe. Bloomberg’s Ayai Tomisawa…