Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Houston CDAO Community

Mario Rojas

Chief of Data Analytics

University Lands

Mario Rojas is the chief of data analytics at University Lands. He has 20 years of experience in roles such as project manager, R&D leader and data analytics leader. His main interest is technology and innovation management. 

Fun facts about Mario are that he loves anything that has to do with water. Beaches and lakes are his favorite places. He enjoys barbecue and making his own craft beer.

Learn more about the Houston CDAO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I started my career in engineering, working on the development of chemical products for O&G applications. I also worked on water cleaning technologies.

With time and understanding, data analytics became my main driver, and I made the decision to make that my career path. I was fortunate enough to have mentors and people who helped me along the way to get more training, experience and exposure to data projects, and in 2022, the opportunity came for me to transition to my current role in University Lands.  

My data and technology journey continues, and I am having a great time growing and leading in this space.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

My guiding leadership principle is to be a servant leader! If you hire, promote, nurture and reward talent, the rest gets done by itself.

What is the greatest challenge your particular C-level role is facing today, and how are you addressing it?

I think the biggest challenge we are facing right now is the governance and management of AI technologies in very traditional data and technology environments. 

Our approach has been to identify use cases that allow us to test it, and to draw our own rules and guardrails around it in a proactive manner. It does take a lot of collaboration among the different teams to address this.

What is the key to success for someone just starting out in your C-level role?

The key to success is to listen, listen, listen. I find that to be the greatest skill you can have as a leader. You have to listen to your team, and you have to listen to people who have walked your path before you.

How do you measure success as a leader?

I measure success by how engaged the people I lead are with the vision and the purpose of our organization, and with the rest of the team. Engaged people are inspired, motivated and innovative.

What is the value of being a member of the Evanta community?

In the community I have found a place to share success and failure stories with peers. This helps put our roles of technology leaders in perspective.  

Having the opportunity to connect and network with peers from both small and large organizations has given me excellent insights, and I’ve learned from people with great backgrounds and experiences.

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