‘Success Is Not a Straight Line’

By Ellen Daley

Quite an interesting morning as Orange Chamber members heard Julieta Ross, an extraordinary woman who has reinvented herself several times and is now Chief Technology Officer for M&T Bank, share her remarkable story… a story that includes playing a key role in the development of Bluetooth technology.

successstraightlineAs the Chamber’s special breakfast speaker for the annual Women in Business Month, Julieta Ross is definitely not the computer nerd you might expect to be behind complex technology that changed our lives forever.

Turns out that 20 years ago, Julieta and her team at Motorola were working on the technology for smart phones, an initiative called Project X at the time. The technology they created led to the development of Bluetooth.

Because she is always looking for challenges and ways “to do what I do just a little bit better,” Julieta left Motorola with a few like-minded computer engineers to pursue new frontiers. Running their own start-up, they were soon writing their own operating systems and ended up creating a search engine long before anyone ever heard of Google. Julieta and her team eventually sold the technology to a large telecommunications company. Only 27, Julieta then bought property in Florida and became a landlord in Miami.

Setting off on yet another career path, Julieta was recruited and hired by CitiBank and spent the next 13 years traveling the world working in multiple roles, ending her career there as Chief Technology Officer for Latin America and Mexico.

A year ago, M&T Bank found Julieta, who is now Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. M&T’s focus on diversity is one reason why Julieta joined the bank.

Born in Buenos Aires to a Spanish father and an Italian mother, Julieta came to the US at 13 as an exchange student and a year later, decided to stay. She calls herself a “bucket of diversity,” but goes on to explain that “Diversity is a mindset.” It’s not about race, color or gender. “I’m talking about the way you think,” she says, describing what she looks for in employees.

Dr. Ross peppered her remarks with bits of wisdom that she’s gained during her relatively short – but extraordinary — career:

  • “The path to success is paved with tough choices.”
  • “You cannot have it all.”
  • “Happiness is a mindset.”
  • “Learn to find the beautiful things in life.”
  • “Make sure you have the right people guiding you.”
  • “Every day, ask yourself, ‘How do I do what I do just a little bit better?’”
  • “Success is not a straight line.”

Definitely not the words of a computer nerd. But those of a remarkable woman who has used intelligence, perseverance, sensitivity, creativity – and great decision-making — on her path to success.