5 Lessons from Women in AI on the hello, Human Podcast

For this season of the hello, Human Podcast we celebrated Women in AI with a special series of eight episodes highlighting women across different industries including high tech, healthcare, and government. Throughout the series, the executives shared their stories, lessons learned, and advice for the next generation of women in tech. We rounded up some of our favorite pieces of advice — here are the takeaways:

1. Explore the Unknown 

  • Start with a mentor. It’s hard to figure out where to go and where to begin- especially when many women in tech don’t even start in tech. Sherika Ekpo started her career in human resources while recruiting talent for a government agency. She transitioned from government to tech and now works as the Global Diversity and Inclusion Lead for Artificial Intelligence at Google.
  • “Identify a career field that’s evolving, and identify mentors or sponsors who can help you get into that space.” Sherika didn’t start in tech, so she leaned on strong mentors to help her learn and advance in her career. It’s not about where you start but the resources you find. 
  • In some roles, it’s important to know the technical skills- whether that’s code or understanding the ins and outs of automation. But, it’s also important to keep advancing those skills through different certification courses, webinars, and conferences/events. 
  • Preeti Adhikary encourages young women to “be open to learning, and have that learner’s mindset.” Technical skills can be taught, but emotional intelligence can’t. Being a woman in tech, especially an executive, means knowing how to communicate with your team and the rest of the company. 

2. Battle Bias

3. Address the Gap

  • Katica Roy, the founder of Pipeline Equity, shared the “2021 Retrospective,” which shares the story of gender equity from the past decade in ten trends. “Since 1970, women have added $2 trillion to the US economy through their increased labor force participation. We were set back so far that we’ve lost over $1 trillion out of our economy just due to women leaving the workforce.
  • There are not enough women in tech and not even in the workforce. Employers need to understand that women are needed. There is a statistical gap, but also a need to address it- immediately. Businesses and organizations must continue establishing various inclusion programs for women, POC, and other groups. Creating an equal space and ensuring initiatives encourage the future workforce.
  • Females are powerful. Tripti Sethi was the first data science hire at Avanade. She built a team of 400. Yael was the first female doctor in her town. Growing up in a highly religious community, she would have never imagined being a doctor and now running her own business- Embryonics. Embryonics is developing and applying data-driven solutions to improve the journey and the success rates of fertility treatments. She’s been able to help thousands of women with their IVF journeys. To think, if these women had listened to those around them, their paths could have been very different.

4. Don’t Take No for an Answer

  • Zahra Timsah, the lead for AI Governance at MassMutual, encourages women to “be proactive, not just reactive.” Career is a risk, but life is an even bigger risk. Go for the goal and don’t turn back. If you believe in it, keep pushing for it. If there is no one to champion for you, champion for yourself. And if you can, always support other women. 
  • Katica Roy emphasized the importance of confidence and believing not only in yourself but other women. “Be brave, jump, and the ledge will appear.” It’s bravery that will push you to take that jump and leap of faith. Without taking that risk, you never know what the other side will hold- especially if you listen to others and not yourself first. 

5. Support Other Women (especially other Women in Tech)

You can tune into the Women in AI series here, and if you like what you hear, leave us a review. Ready to share your advice for the next generation of Women in AI? Be sure to tag us on Twitter and LinkedIn using the hashtag #hellohuman.