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Opportunities for Women in AI

Women in AI
March 22, 2022

To close out Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight some of the powerful women who make up DataForce and their extraordinary contributions to the world of AI.

Here at DataForce, at our core, we collect diverse training data to enable and equip algorithms with the ability to eliminate bias, making AI technologies inclusive for all. But without a proper balance of men and women on our staff, our core mission wouldn’t be reflected internally—the data would simply be skewed.

Within the world of AI comes a vast opportunity for not only women, but also the industry as a whole. In the near future, roles will be created that have never been offered before, branches of business will be started from the ground up, and resources will become available to us that we could have never imagined. With women on the rise in AI, there is bound to be opportunity for everyone.

Let’s hear it from some of our DataForce women!

Willa Lin, Director, AI | Australia

Currently resides in Indonesia

What do you do? I lead the consulting practice in support of our DataForce business. We work with potential clients to understand their AI/ML goals and provide consultation on data solutions to best meet their unique needs, no matter how far along they are on their AI journey. Once we agree on an execution plan, we also liaise with our internal teams to ensure delivery of successful project outcomes for our clients.

How did you get into the AI field? I stumbled into the AI field 12 years ago right after graduation working on language technology data solutions such as speech recognition and text-to-speech as a junior PM, which was a perfect combination of my love for business and languages. It evolved into what is now called the AI/ML data services industry and my career has advanced along with the explosive industry growth. I am also a military spouse, and that means to keep my family together I need to relocate every two to three years, often to a different country. It was imperative that I found a job that would support my multiple international moves. I am very lucky in that I work in an industry that is so globally connected and allowed remote work even a decade ago when it was certainly not the norm. Unemployment and underemployment for military spouses is a big challenge for many families as the constant relocation often makes it difficult to hang on to a job, let alone build a career.

Any advice for women entering the field? Invest in yourself in terms of relevant education and put your hand up for different projects to gain experience. Once you’re in, it will be helpful to find a mentor that has walked this path before you. The tech industry is still male-dominated, especially as you move up the corporate ladder. As women, we need to know our worth and not be afraid to ask for what is needed to keep us growing professionally while balancing personal priorities.

Dorota Iskra, Senior Director, AI | Poland

Currently resides in The Netherlands

What do you do? I’m part of the DataForce sales team where my task is to bring in new clients and expand on the existing client relationships. I talk to clients about new potential projects, put together proposals, and, once the contracts are signed, I hand them over to our delivery teams—although I’m the one who stays responsible for the client relationship.

How did you get into the AI field? When I was still at school, I was always into languages, but also into math. When I went to University, I had to choose between the two and decided to choose languages. Some time into my degree I discovered speech technology, which was a perfect combination of the two. I haven’t left the area since and have been doing research and working for companies in various roles. Speech technology has since become a very important part of artificial intelligence, and has been developing at an incredible pace. When I started, I struggled to explain what I did. These days, I can just mention Siri, Alexa, and Google and everybody knows what I’m talking about.

Any advice for women entering the field? It’s a fascinating area to be part of. Although it sounds very specialist and unapproachable, there are so many different aspects to it that it has a need for people with different skills and backgrounds. And like with many other fields, the bigger the diversity of the people working on it, the better the results! So don’t get scared and join the club!

Sofia Silva, Account Executive, AI | Portugal

Currently resides in Luxembourg

What do you do? I’ve worked in DataForce for three years and have been responsible for business development in different regions.

How did you get into the AI field? I was doing an internship in a different area here in Luxembourg and I was looking for a full-time job. Since I had previous work experiences in sales, I knew that was the area I would be looking for. An opportunity in DataForce appeared and when searching more about the AI field I was very interested in learning more and understood this was an area that was (and is still) growing. Since I don’t have a technical background in the area, I feel that every day I have a new lesson learned, and this is very challenging and motivates me a lot. In addition, I believe that the AI and technology sector in general is always evolving and change is always present—every client and project is different from each other and this makes the work very dynamic.

Any advice for women entering the field? I think the best advice I can give to other women that, like me, don’t have any technical background is that we must keep learning as much about the AI field as possible and always be able to accept change. In order to do that, you have to be curious and be open to learn from other colleagues with more experience, making sure that you are comfortable in being wrong and always open to receiving criticism in a constructive way.

Jocelyne Rocke, Account Executive, AI | Philippines

Currently resides in Portugal

What do you do? I work as an Account Executive at DataForce.

How did you get into the AI field? I was always curious about AI, as I had people around me that were very enthusiastic about topics around artificial intelligence. I got into AI when I started at DataForce; I started learning about data and image annotation, machine learning, and computer vision. I knew it was an industry that was fast paced and constantly growing, and that I wanted to be a part of it.

Any advice for women entering the field? It is a great industry to work in! It is definitely constantly evolving; it would be great for women to get more exposure to this industry from a younger age so they wouldn’t feel discouraged or overwhelmed to enter the AI industry in the start of their careers. For those interested in learning more, it would be a good start to educate themselves more about AI across different industries and to read more about women that are in the industry and are already very successful. Us women who are interested in entering the AI field or those already in it should never stop learning about AI so we can thrive in this faced-paced and competitive environment.

Madalina Popescu, Account Executive, AI | Romania

Currently resides in Luxembourg

What do you do? I work as an Account Executive at DataForce.

How did you get into the AI field? Artificial intelligence has had a huge impact on our lives in recent years—from supermarkets to traveling, from automobile to household, from social events to music creation. Even my washing machine was... intelligent!

Four years ago, when I first started “talking” to my phone, vehicle, and plenty of other items around me, I realized that the future is here truly quicker than we thought! And, yeah, it's incredible! I got this book from Steven Kotler and Peter H. Diamandis, The Future Is Faster Than We Think, and since then I have studied this field every single day.

Any advice for women entering the field? Welcome on board and never forget the significance of diversity in AI's success! Despite the challenges, there are huge benefits to being a woman in AI, and the future seems promising.

Elmira Hajimani, Solutions Architect, AI | Iran

Currently resides in Portugal

What do you do? Gathering and analyzing project requirements, working with production, engineering, and functional teams to create innovative solutions, writing project proposals and supporting the sales team throughout the sales lifecycle, designing execution processes and project plans, leading and overseeing the onboarding of new customers, and overseeing the implementation of solutions are parts of my day-to-day tasks.

How did you get into the AI field? When I was doing my MS in software engineering I took an optional course named Soft Computing. As a part of this course and as my first project in the AI domain, I created a program that was able to read handwritten digits, and I fell in love with this field of science since then. I did a PhD in computer vision afterward and continued to work in the AI domain until now.

Any advice for women entering the field? My advice, not only for women, but for all individuals who are interested in entering this field, is to keep themselves updated with state-of-the-art concepts and techniques, try to apply these techniques in solving real-world problems, and learn from the challenges they face while solving those problems.

We hope their stories and experiences have inspired you to find where your opportunity is within the world of AI.

Interested in a career with DataForce? See our open roles here!