Content sponsored by Citi
Raul Aldrey has some serious dance moves. The head of digital channels and ecosystems at Citi has built out extensive global experience in product innovation, product management, and digital business transformation and has over three dozen patents to his name.
What does that have to do with cutting a rug? It’s the way the executive explains his collaboration and leadership style.
“I always think of my teams as the body trying to dance at the same pace as the head,” Aldrey explains. “Sometimes the head is moving really fast, and if your body isn’t moving at the same pace, you’re going to look ridiculous. My job is to keep us moving at the same cadence.”
It’s the kind of explanation that can only come from someone who hasn’t truly embarrassed themselves on a wedding reception dance floor, and Aldrey’s two decades in digital, media, and telecom industries have proven that time and time again, the executive has figured out how to get tech and business moving together.
Building the Portfolio
Aldrey has only been at Citi for fifteen months, but so much has happened in that short time that the executive says he can’t claim “rookie” status anymore. “I always look to industrialize our capabilities so that they can be reused and repurposed if we want to enable integration services somewhere else.”
That mindset has already benefitted the new Citi Alliance, a product that “works with a client’s existing external advisor relationship and seeks to differentiate itself from other banking offers by providing a strong suite of benefits” including a dedicated relationship management team, global ATM reimbursements, waived fees on foreign currently deliveries, and several other business aids.
It’s a perfect case of embedding controls in Citi’s product development lifecycle that will benefit greatly from Aldrey and his team’s new, reused, and repurposed technologies.
A Path for Latinos
As much innovation as Aldrey has been able to bring in just fifteen months, the executive is also lending his leadership and perspective to Citi’s diversity and inclusion strategies.
“I know from my own experience how difficult it can be to be an immigrant and to put yourself in a very competitive industry,” Aldrey explains. “I want to mentor and share my experiences and support other Latinos that are trying to pursue their dreams.”
Aldrey proactively reached out to Citi’s diversity and inclusion team to see how he could best serve the Latino community at Citi. He’s already an executive sponsor for the Hispanic network at Citi and a member of The Alumni Society, HITECH, the Latino Donor Collaborative, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
“This is just something I’ve always been very passionate about,” Aldrey says of his D&I efforts. “You can say you believe in something, but if you don’t put the calories behind it, nothing really changes. That’s why I reached out as soon as I got here. Why wait to have someone contact you?”
For those on their own journeys, particularly those looking to find their way onto a board seat, Aldrey has great advice: building a network isn’t just about adding people to your LinkedIn profile. If you’re looking to build a network, the most crucial aspect of any interaction is finding meaningful connection points.
“You need to realize your network is a two-way street,” Aldrey says. “It’s not about what your network can do for you. You need to demonstrate your value and find a way to contribute. Sometimes it’s about general participation, sometimes it’s being a keynote speaker, and sometimes it’s helping a colleague on a project. But virtually every big step I’ve taken has been aided by the network that I have built over time.”
Aldrey is a board member of Akoya, Financial Data Exchange, and his own company, Bliss Orthodontics, and he knows just how challenging landing that first role can be. There may be “lighter touch” appointments available prior to finding that first legitimate board role, but Aldrey says almost any experience near a boardroom will ultimately help you get there yourself someday.
Inventing the Future
Raul Aldrey has demonstrated a clear commitment to the future in every one of his roles, including his new post at Citi. And he’s got the patents to back it up.
Aldrey has been granted a whopping thirty-six individual patents—ranging from DVR and other digitized recording tech to voice and telecom technology and text and instant messaging capabilities—throughout his career.
“It takes a lot of personal time and energy, but it’s a way for me to contribute to the world,” Aldrey explains. “If I see a problem, I get this fire within me to figure out a way to solve it. I love eliminating friction points and designing something that can make people’s lives easier.”