Imagine this: You receive a calendar invite from your CEO asking you to join a virtual meeting. You enter the call but they aren’t on camera, noting their video and audio aren’t working properly. You don’t think anything of it—sometimes your Wi-Fi acts up too. After a few minutes of failed attempts to stabilize their connection, they hang up. You receive an apology email a few minutes after, along with instructions to initiate a transfer of funds. You do it.
This is one of many ways scammers have been taking advantage of businesses in our increasingly virtual and digital world. The FBI says scams like these, the result of an individual compromising legitimate business or personal email accounts, are a $26 billion problem—a problem Senior Vice President and Global CIO Darryl Maraj is helping to solve at the Digital Innovation Group, a GA Telesis holding company.
To help organizations perform safe and fraud-free transactions, Maraj and his team developed Blockrails, which identifies fake identities, accounts, and potential fraud to solve identity validation risks for transactions. In February 2022, GA Telesis also teamed up with AWS Saas Factory to launch FraudBlock, a fraud protection API service for companies to protect their organizations from business email compromise scams and to help perform secure B2B transactions.
Maraj says those products are a result of the company’s efforts to protect itself as scams increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, when remote work became more prominent. Now, he is not only looking to apply what his team learned to GA Telesis globally but to other organizations and industries.
“Our mission is to change the face of the industry and to evolve how we all work so we brought the product to market,” says Maraj, who grew up in Trinidad before coming to the US. “It’s evolved into real estate and now we’re working with one of the largest real estate organizations to protect realtors and home buyers against this problem.”
Maraj’s mind has always been wired to solve complex problems, but his strong leadership skills developed with time. He admits that in the beginning of his career, he sometimes struggled with communicating big ideas in ways others could digest.
“You can have these awesome ideas but if you can’t communicate them and meet people where they are, it goes nowhere,” he says. “It becomes an idea you’re surrounded by in your mind and you almost become a prisoner of it.”
Maraj got a chance to develop those skills very early in his career. He worked at his alma mater, Florida Atlantic University, as a computer applications programmer under the finance division, where he helped execute the digital transformation of the university’s ERP system. There, he learned the value of active listening, a habit that continues to color the way he approaches his team members and colleagues today.
“Sometimes as a technologist you’re quick to act,” he says. “You may hear something you can solve for really quickly, but it’s not always the underlying issue that a client or another person is trying to address. And a lot of times it doesn’t always come across really clearly, so you have to listen to what’s not being said.”
As Maraj progressed through his career, other coaches and mentors showed him what building a community, collaborating, and having accountability can do for generating more innovative solutions to problems. When he got to GA Telesis in 2014, leaders pushed him to discover “the art of the possible.”
“You often assume how something works and you come into a problem saying ‘Oh, I’ve dealt with this before, this is how we solve this.’ But then my leaders would ask a question and challenge your assumptions,” Maraj explains. “For the past ten years, that’s become more and more of the premise that we work with. ‘Is there a better way? Is there something we’re assuming? How can we challenge that, and will our product be better as a result?’”
He credits that philosophy for helping him create GA Telesis’ digital innovation spin-off as chief technology officer. In that role Maraj was responsible for developing, leading, and scaling the new technology division while transforming complex tech into easy-to-use solutions.
That work not only produced the likes of FraudBlock and Blockrails but a green-time management software to help commercial airlines increase their service availability, lower costs, and maximize profits.
“As a global CIO, Darryl is a problem solver and an innovator in bringing new solutions and technology to solve complex business problems. Innova Solutions has had the pleasure of working with him over the past five years to build FraudBlock and Blockrails solutions,” says Prasenjit Paul, senior vice president and strategic business unit head of retail, manufacturing, and transportation at Innova Solutions. “We look forward to further strengthening our partnership, working with GA Telesis to build more solutions for their digital transformation journey.”
In that role, Maraj established a culture there that leaders took note of industry-wide. In 2022, he become a National CIO of the Year ORBIE finalist and chaired South Florida CIO. For him, the best part of those accomplishments has been having the opportunity to inspire those he’s led and to help foster a culture of thought leaders. He says it was all made possible by “a team that is built on curiosity, challenges assumptions, and [is] willing to take on massive challenges.”
These days Maraj is looking forward to projects related to optimizing demand across the aviation industry and continuing to leverage tech to drive innovation in the aviation industry.
With global delivery centers across North America, Asia, and Europe, Innova Solutions delivers strategic technology and business transformation solutions to clients, enabling them to operate as leaders within their fields. GA Telesis is the leading provider of integrated services in the commercial aviation industry. Through the GA Telesis Ecosystem™, the company is distinctly positioned across six continents to leverage its resources to create innovative solutions for its customers. GA Telesis partnered with Innova to augment its application development team, adding specialized resources such as blockchain developers and data scientists to quickly deliver enterprise-ready applications.