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7 Questions on Leadership with Roque Martinez

Name: Roque Martinez

Title: Senior Vice President, Technology

Oranisation: Frontier Foundry

Rocky has over 30 years of experience in financial technology and has been responsible for all product technology, innovation, and delivery.

Rocky has held senior leadership positions at various software companies that have serviced Fortune 500 companies such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Allstate, Motorola, and consulting companies such as Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Rocky focuses on leading digital change through technology and creating opportunities for new products and services that are unique in industry. Rocky hones his skills as an Associate in Columbia’s University Technology Management Program of the School of Professional Studies, working with future leaders and entrepreneurs.

Rocky is an author of published articles and the subject of interviews.

Rocky has an undergraduate degree from Fordham University, a Masters in Technology Management from Columbia University, and a Doctorate in Business Administration from Rutgers University.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Roque's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

What I have found most challenging, is actually becoming a leader and not a manager. The jump was very difficult for me and required, lots of introspection and training.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I became a leader as I suspect many have before me. I had a skill at making sure projects and tasks were completed on-time. I also was not afraid of the hard the conversations, either being late, over budget or asking the team why are we not performing as well as we should be.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I wake up early and look at the news to find out if there are any externalities that will affect me today. I do some exercise and read something unrelated to anything I normally do. I review my calendar and make sure I am aware of times not to be late. Then, I read emails from the people involved in deliverables first. Prioritize, accordingly and then work on making sure if there are roadblocks, remove them. I then look at the sprint boards to make sure the vision, mission, and strategy match what work is getting completed.

Finally, I will review with my peers any open sale opportunities and new market information and review how these changes will make a difference or enforce the Mission, Vision, and Strategy.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Communication! Silly interaction but a powerful lesson for me to relearn. I am an old-school Wall Street person, suit and tie for client meetings. I showed up, and my boss was in a t-shirt and blazer, a total tech bro look. I should not have assumed and communicated what I was anticipating wearing. Would have avoided an awkward moment.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

There are two: never split the difference and against the tide. Never split the difference, provided me skills on how to address conflict and provide an outcome that was not a simple compromise but allowed me to get what I wanted. Against the tide is a great book on how not to compromise your ethics and still create a great functioning team.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Never stop reading or listening.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

When to say no, it was not recent, but I was being forced to fire a mid-senior manager because of perceived ineffectiveness. Instead of just blindly firing the person, I took some time to understand the issues of the perceived ineffectiveness. Turns out the person was having some personal issues. I gave the person a three-day work-from-home opportunity when it was different from the norm, and within weeks, they were a different person and were promoted shortly after.

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