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Changing the Parameters for Success

Angel Diaz
VP, Technology Capabilities & Innovation
Riverwoods, IL
Pronouns: He/Him

Growing up in Puerto Rico

I grew up on a rural farm in Puerto Rico. Some of my favorite memories are celebrating Christmas on the farm with my family and friends. We always ate lots of Puerto Rican food (pig roasts, beans and rice) and danced salsa late into the night.

The people who changed my life

At a young age, my grandmother instilled in me a strong worth ethic and a passion for math and science. As I got older, my interest in these fields continued to grow and evolve as I attended lectures held by visiting professors at local churches. I made it a point to ask questions and learn as much as I could from these visiting scholars. Through their teachings, my love for computer science, technology and innovation began to take shape.

A number of these visiting professors ended up supporting me throughout my academic journey and as I progressed in my career. I was truly the beneficiary of others who invested in me and inspired me to ask questions, push boundaries and continue educating myself.

Improving the way we work as a society

I’m always seeking new ways to innovate and learn, not only to stay on top of the latest industry trends and practices, but simply because I enjoy doing it. The advice, “whatever you do, do it better than you’ve done it before,” has always resonated with me. I’ve leveraged this advice in pioneering breakthrough standards and capabilities in open source communities across cloud, data, artificial intelligence, programing languages and blockchain. I spend a significant amount of time reading and educating myself because I’m extremely passionate about innovating technology to improve the way we work as a society, with a focus on collaboration and having fun.

My “fail fast” moments

In my career over the years, I’ve had my share of “fail fast” moments — moments where things didn’t quite work out. I remember when writing my PhD thesis, my advisor and I actually thought for a month that we solved the famous math problem P=NP, which would have made us the two most famous computer scientists on earth. But when you’re faced with the reality of not succeeding the way you would like, the key is to change the game. You can change the parameters for success — whether it’s more time, more resources, a different goal, and you create a positive from a negative.


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