By Sarah Walker

For Stella Yeung, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Global Technology Applications at Scotiabank, her greatest motivation comes from helping people.

“I’m a teacher at heart,” she says, reflecting on the people she has mentored. “There’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in helping someone solve a problem or view [a situation] differently.”

That passion is matched by her day-to-day life as a senior technology executive. As a CIO, she uses her in-depth knowledge of technology and innovation to create outcome-focused solutions for both employees and clients. “My work is centered on creating ways to apply data and suitable technology to drive outcomes that will make it easy for clients to do business with us. It isn’t purely about numbers or coding — it’s about improving the experience.”

The result has been a decades-long career that’s earned her a number of accolades, including a 2022 Report on Business Best Executive Award, and most recently the 2024 WatersTechnology Lifetime Achievement Award — the highest honour given at the Women in Technology and Data Awards, presented to an individual who has made consistently outstanding contributions to the technology industry throughout her career.

Forging a connection between her desire to drive outcomes and her love of innovation happened long before she arrived in Canada to finish high school. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Stella learned early on that success depended on finding and contributing value to everything she did. This philosophy shaped the trajectory of her career. 

“My mother was a single mom to my older brother and I, and she always asked us, ‘Are you learning? Are you contributing? Are you adding value?’ This approach conditioned me to constantly focus on the ways I can make a difference,” Stella shares.

After relocating to Toronto, Stella moved in with relatives she had never met. Her uncle studied math and computer science, and the conversations they had on these topics sparked her curiosity about the profound impact technology has on everyday life. 

Her uncle’s insights inspired her to also pursue an education in math and computer science at the University of Toronto, which set the course for a rewarding career centered on developing innovative technology solutions for large organizations. Her first job after completing her degree was at HSBC in Hong Kong — one of the biggest banks in Asia. 

“I was happy to get away from Canadian winters. They were so cold!” she jokes. 

She went on to hold a variety of leadership positions at different financial services organizations, working as a hands-on systems developer and architect, and supporting the technology needs of enterprise risk and portfolio management, investment and corporate banking, and institutional equities.

Stella originally joined Scotiabank early in her career, and though her journey took her to different companies to tackle new challenges, she eventually returned to the bank in 2013, in large part due to “the people, the culture and the inclusiveness of Scotiabank.”


There’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in helping someone solve a problem or view [a situation] differently.”

Stella Yeung, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Global Technology Applications at Scotiabank

Today, she leads a team of more than 2,000 engineers globally that provide technology management to several Scotiabank groups, including Global Banking and Markets, Global Finance and Treasury, Global Risk Management and Anti-Money Laundering.  

“We’re focused on how we apply technology to maximize value for the Bank since it plays a pivotal role in all of the services we provide,” says Stella. “Imagine all the moves that happen in the stock market — trading, buying, selling. There is so much happening in the background that no one sees — no one is doing that stuff manually, they’re using technology. My team works to figure out what tools are available to make the client experience better while protecting the Bank — now and in the future — we always have our clients’ best interest at the forefront.”

Stella is focused on telling her story so other immigrant women working in male-dominated fields can see it’s possible to overcome challenges and rise to the top of their profession.

“At times it’s been a lot to handle,” she says. “As a woman and an immigrant, you sometimes feel like you constantly have to prove yourself — but I don’t allow myself to feel beaten up. Self-esteem is super important. I’ve worked hard to earn a seat at the table. I do things to boost my self-confidence and relax. I leverage good relationships. I seek out allies and sponsors. I continuously strive to reach measurable goals.”

Stella adds: “I don’t want people to think I’m never frustrated. Nobody should be naïve enough to think they’ll never experience any issues. Instead, my advice is to look at the challenge in front of you. Reframe the problem. Look to resolve it, not just for the moment, but in a sustainable way. Ask yourself if there’s a way to do something to make things better – for you and others.”

Above all else, she says it’s important to get to a place where you appreciate what you have so you can give back. “I am in a fortunate position to be able to help others,” says Stella. “And I’m proud of all I’ve been able to, and will continue to, deliver.”


This article was first published in Women of Influence and is republished with permission.