Podcast by InnovatorsBox®

Dear Workplace: Season 3

Sensemaking AI – 4: A Day with AI and DC Women Techmakers

Dear Workplace – a Podcast by InnovatorsBox®. Hosted by Monica H. Kang.

Reimagine how you thrive at work through conversations that matter. Hosted by workplace creativity expert Monica H. Kang, we’ll study the latest trends, changes, and challenges to untangle workplace people problems. We’ll talk with executives, innovators, and experts and visit different industries around the world so that you get first dibs into the changing workforce. 

Welcome to our first live conversations at Dear Workplace! I’m excited to share a sneak peek into the special day I had with DC Women Techmakers event in Washington D.C. I hosted on March 25, 2024. Women Techmakers (WTM) is a community program backed by Google and led by local community leaders like myself, and I’m thrilled to have made this event come to life with my friend Megha Sanghvi.

As we brought together 20 speakers and 60 participants for a full day of learning, reflecting, and deep discussion of the future of women in technology and AI, we were reminded how change starts here, today and within our own communities. I wanted to capture the inspiring day and also look back at the five months of planning we’ve done to make this possible. Thank you to all the speakers, friends and fans for making this possible.

Learn more at https://www.dcwomentechmakers.org/. Welcome to Dear Workplace as we untangle about the world of AI.

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Episode Shownotes

1. Episode Title: Sensemaking AI – 4: A Day with AI and DC Women Techmakers

 
2. Host: Monica H. Kang, Founder and CEO of InnovatorsBox
 

3. Episode Description: In this episode, join host Monica Kang as she shares insights and experiences from the recent DC Women TechMakers event held in Washington DC. Monica, along with her co-organizer Megha Sanghvi, provides a behind-the-scenes look into the planning and execution of the impactful event aimed at advocating for women in technology and fostering community engagement.

They share that this event was organized with a vision to create a platform where women in tech could gather, share their experiences, and inspire one another. They wanted to foster a supportive community where women could discuss their journeys in the tech industry, exchange insights, empower each other to thrive in their careers, and to create a platform where diverse voices were heard and valued in the conversation.

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4. Highlights:

  • Introduction to DC Women TechMakers: Monica introduces the initiative by Google aimed at advocating for women in technology and shares her journey in organizing the event alongside her friend Megha Sanghvi.

  • Preparation and Coordination: Monica and Megha discuss the extensive planning process, including scouting for speakers, coordinating logistics, and preparing goody bags for the attendees.

  • Event Goals and Highlights: They highlight the significance of the event in bridging the gap between technical and non-technical individuals, inspiring participants, and fostering community engagement.

  • Audience Engagement and Takeaways: The episode explores the diverse perspectives shared at the event, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning, community support, and resilience in the face of challenges.

  • Future Outlook: Monica and Megha express their enthusiasm for the future of DC Women TechMakers and their commitment to empowering individuals in the technology sector.

5. Speaker Highlights:

  1. Empowering Growth: Mentorship, Resilience, and Diversity in Tech

    • Alana Karen shared insightful highlights, emphasizing the importance of mentorship, resilience, and adaptability in career growth. She underscored the significance of embracing discomfort as a catalyst for learning and professional development. Alana stressed the value of building a supportive community and fostering diversity in tech spaces. Additionally, she highlighted the power of storytelling in inspiring and empowering others, encouraging individuals to share their unique narratives to drive positive change and inclusivity within the industry.
  2. Embracing Change: Navigating Career Transitions with Resilience and Diversity

    • Shanika Hope’s highlights include her journey navigating career transitions from academia to industry, emphasizing adaptability and resilience as essential traits for personal growth. She underscores the significance of mentorship and support networks in empowering individuals, particularly in male-dominated fields like technology, while advocating for inclusive environments that celebrate diversity of thought and background. Dr. Hope’s insights shed light on the importance of embracing change as an opportunity for learning and exploration, promoting inclusivity and diversity as catalysts for innovation and organizational success.
  3. Diverse Perspectives in Data Science:

    • Madison Ostermann, a data scientist and engineer at NASA, shares insights into the various roles within her team, from traditional data analysis to advanced data science for workforce planning.
  4. Adopting AI and Emerging Technologies:

    • Gwendolyn Denise Stripling discusses her journey into AI, emphasizing the accessibility and empowerment it brings to individuals regardless of their background or formal education.
  5. Empowerment and Support:

    • Linda Molnar from the US National Science Foundation highlights the importance of women supporting each other in the tech industry and emphasizes the need for consistency and intentionality in lifting others up.
  6. Continuous Learning and Adaptation:

    • Participants reflect on the evolving nature of technology and the necessity of embracing constant learning and overcoming challenges.
  7. Community Building and Collaboration:

    • Sophia Greulich underscores the significance of knowledge-sharing and empowerment within the tech community, encouraging participation and confidence-building, especially among women and allies.
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  2. [Please note that the voices and messages shared in this podcast are just a selection of highlights, and we were privileged to hear from numerous other speakers who graced the stage at the event.]

6. Closing Thoughts by Monica Kang:

  • Monica Kang expresses gratitude for the event’s success, acknowledging both the highs and challenges faced.
  • She shares snippets of conversations and insights from the event, highlighting the sense of community, learning, and empowerment experienced by participants.
  • Kang extends appreciation to all contributors, sponsors, and attendees, emphasizing the importance of inclusive innovation and collaboration in the tech industry.
  • She concludes by inviting listeners to join upcoming events and series, encouraging ongoing learning and community engagement.


7. Episode Length and Release Date:

Episode Length: Approximately 37 Mins
Release Date: March 28, 2024


00:00

Monica H. Kang
Hey, hey innovators. I hope you’re having a great day. This is your host, Monica Kang and you’re listening to dear workplace. Today I’m extra excited because I am thrilled to welcome you to my first live audio log/vlog about my recent event that I’ve got to host and be part of in Washington DC. You see, outside of my role in InnovatorsBox, I also have sought out ways how to give back to the community. And one of the volunteering roles that I do is a program called Women TechMakers Ambassador. It’s an initiative by Google wanting to advocate for women and tech, both in how you can build a career or how to upskill to bring more voices into the field. 


00:49

Monica H. Kang
As you might know my background, I’m not necessarily a technical person, but I am definitely interested in the change of technology in AI and all of that, which is the reason why, as were looking at 2024, I realized, ‘wait, I dont think ive seen a good event in DC in a while on technology for women or AI that advocated for how we can rethink’. So I asked my friend Megha, hey, do you want to team up and start this event and initiative? And thats how DC Women Techmakers community started. So in the past five months, since I guess November/December 2023, we’ve been working with Google behind the scene to understand how do we make this event come to life and bringing all these people. 


01:34

Monica H. Kang
I’m really humbled and excited about how it all came together and want to really shout out to all the speakers, volunteers and Google for their support in making it possible. And of course, we’ve chipped in too as a sponsor and partner. And so as I look back, I thought it would be great to highlight some of the insights ive learned, not only just from the technical and non technical side, but just also from the event production side. Because five months at event planning with 60 people in person and 20 speakers all moving pieces, it, you know, it kind of builds up. So with further ado, welcome to Dear workplace. Let me bring you to what happened on March 25 in Washington, DC at our impacted future event with DC women techmakers at Google. Let’s dive in. 


02:25

Monica H. Kang
Okay, we’re gonna get started. So hello, my name is Monica Kang and my name is Megha Sanghvi and we are getting ready to do Women TechMakers event. And so this is currently now Sunday, March 12, the day before the big event we’ve been preparing since. 


02:47

Megha Sanghvi
When was it, like December? I checked my email yesterday. It’s like December 20 when first email came from Monica asking, like, do you want to do this together? So, yeah. 


02:58

Monica H. Kang
And I was so glad she said yes. And fast forward now. In the past few months, we’ve had probably several, like, hundreds of emails, preparing, coordinating. We have 20 speakers and even some people traveling far, like, I think La. Yeah, New York, Philly, Boston. And we just finished preparing some of the goody bags. I’m gonna give you a little sneak peek into the little camera. Look at how the goodie bags that we’ve been preparing. And we’re gonna give you a little sneak peek into what we have. We have Alana’s book, “The adventures of women in tech”. So she’s gonna speak about of what are the research you found? Folks are going to have also our little business card, so that way they’re going to be able to stay in touch. 


03:48

Monica H. Kang
And then we also created a little mini notebook as well as a pen, so that way you can remember. And this beautiful. 


03:57

Megha Sanghvi
This is the Tote Bag to carry everything inside. And this one, like notebook and book, it’s like a small thank you for saying yes to the event, specifically speakers and all our participants to come and join us for this big day. 


04:14

Monica H. Kang
And I think we are able to now we’re looking at currently registration about 70 non Googlers and about like, 18 Googlers. So probably about, like a little less than 100 people in the room. So we’re really excited. So, okay, we’re gonna get a chance to, like, pause and recognize, like, Megha, how would you say, what’s been your highlight so far in preparing for this event? 


04:36

Megha Sanghvi
So I would say the first big thing is operationally executing this big event. I know it started with very small saying, okay, let’s see how many people coming together. So we started with, like, okay, scouting for the speaker. We get very diverse audio speaker on that. Then, like, participant, like, our social media engagement and setting up and content. Like, content is a pretty big, like, all the comment I received so far is related to content saying, okay, you have pretty rich content. 


05:09

Monica H. Kang
We worked really hard on the agenda. 


05:12

Megha Sanghvi
And specifically participant and other thing is, which kind of doesn’t show here is kind of learning that goes to put together this huge event together. It’s like, not like very small. From finding out like a. To what goodie bag we wanted to give. 


05:30

Monica H. Kang
I got from Korea. I got it manually in a big bag from Korea. 


05:35

Megha Sanghvi
Yeah. So that kind of a highlight for me other than doing everything else, what we are doing. And also the main highlight is doing two things together, like nine to five job. I know we both have our other dedicated thing. 


05:49

Monica H. Kang
How big is the team that you’re overseeing right now? 


05:52

Megha Sanghvi
It’s 50 plus. 


05:54

Monica H. Kang
She’s overseeing 50 plus people and she had time to do this. Like we’re gonna have to find out like how the time check and how that works. 


06:00

Megha Sanghvi
Yeah, so it’s like, it’s kind of reminded me that if you are energized to something dedicated to something, you still find the time to do the thing you love. So it’s kind of reminding people that, okay, if you love something, then you will find sign. 


06:16

Monica H. Kang
Love it, love it. And I think we need to ask Megha, like actually what her background is. Cause some of the folks who’s tuning in, they don’t actually know the background. So Megha, like you’ve been actually we’re gonna get a chance. Cause she’s gonna have to do a lot of Panel monitor. So you’re going to get a sneak peek into her journey. But Megha, tell me a little bit more like why did you wanted to get into tech and what was kind of your entryway into it? 


06:35

Megha Sanghvi
Yeah, so I come from Asia, like specifically from India. And India generally we have only two options. Either go in the medical or become an engineer. So it’s like a predefined by our pattern. So I kind of went into engineering and then I kind of started my first her a job as a BlackBerry developer. I know BlackBerry sounds like three. Yeah. So it’s like a designing application for BlackBerry. Then there is like Nokia devices and all that. And then kind of transitioning to a web development and then going into more into website development and building a product for a company and then kind of now overseeing the engineering. So it’s like I’ve been started as a developer and now kind of as a leader. So it was like that journey. 


07:23

Monica H. Kang
Love it, love it. And then for myself, as folks know, I got into tech more as a non technical leader. Just being really excited about seeing that intersection as I continue my leadership development and the work in innovation. And of course technology is a big industry that continues a lot of that but also needs a lot of new thinking in how we navigate. And so it’s been really fun to learn about, you know, the development of AI, which we’ve been covering a lot tomorrow. What is LLM, like machine learning, how is it changing, what’s not changing and what do we look out for? And especially I’m excited about the intersection of like both technical and non technical people. And you know, you’ve also. How long have you been now in the DC area? 


08:04

Megha Sanghvi
It’s like almost nine years. 


08:06

Monica H. Kang
Nine years. And I’ve also been like probably lived most of my life more than like 15-20 years in DC. And I feel like one of the things that I’m excited about the DC tech scene that we want to kind of re-catalyze here. It’s like after pandemic especially was like really hard to like bring people, I think I haven’t seen a lot of good events like, yeah, I feel like I’ve had to go out of DC to find those. And my hope is that we change. 


08:29

Megha Sanghvi
Yeah, that is like one of the main area. When you called me and said, do you want to do, I asked her. 


08:35

Monica H. Kang
I’m like, makeup, would you be interested? 


08:38

Megha Sanghvi
Yeah. It’s because every time I see like looking, I search for an event like DC or tech event and I couldn’t find anything. Last I found was six years ago, yesterday night also I googled it like six years ago. And that was also very small audience and specific. So there is nothing that big. What we are trying to do and other thing is kind of to inspire people the way I was started as a BlackBerry developer and where I am. So everyone should not kind of worry that, okay, I’m starting in this technology and it’s evolving. So the main thing as a leader I learned is like you, every time you have to change, like you just have to be ready to adopt the new change and AI is not going to be the different. 


09:22

Megha Sanghvi
And our hope as a part of DC woman tech maker is to keep growing this and provide like more insight to people who are in tech and non tech to kind of get that inspiration and not worry about, okay, how should I do it? I am so old technology. So yeah, this is for inspire, you guys. And giving back to the society to say, okay, what we learn as a non tech and tech, like how to give back to the society. 


09:49

Monica H. Kang
Yeah. And I think one of the things that were excited as were bridging this is just like how, you know, even just, I mean, we use the non tech just in the formality sense. But really everyone is part of both worlds, which is really key to think about, which is really exciting. And so I guess how are you feeling right now as we think about the event? I mean, it’s less than now 24 hours because it’s already like afternoon and we’ve spent this morning like packing the goodie bags. How are you feeling? 


10:17

Megha Sanghvi
I am feeling quite energetic and nervous. Like this is, like, my first event. I will be very honest here. So it’s my first. 


10:25

Monica H. Kang
He’s been a prize. 


10:27

Megha Sanghvi
So I’m, like, very energized and very happy that we are able to give back and continue to do this. One thing I want to reiterate, which Monica and always talked about, this is just the beginning, and it’s continued to go on. So we would really encourage, like, everyone to keep tagging. Yeah. And, yeah, very excited for tomorrow. 


10:53

Monica H. Kang
And I’m excited as well. I feel like, I mean, I thought, like, the packing of hundred bags was gonna take many hours. I don’t make it, evidently. Like, please come in advance. But we kind of, like, we, like, we actually improved on the innovation process. We, like, did it in, like, 40 minutes or less. And so was, like, really happy. And so now it’s giving us time to do all these other prep. And so one thing that you hope that you can feel at the end. 


11:15

Megha Sanghvi
Of the event, I would say that how we as a content, like, what people get out of it is the most important thing. Like, we covered a lot of topics in that. You will see that from like, nine to five, it’s, like, full packed session today, tomorrow. So it’s, like, very excited on that front. Like, to people leave the event inspired and think that, okay, like, AI, I will just take AI as an example. It’s not something people are scaring off. They should get out of the event saying, okay, I can do it too. It’s just another technology change. So that’s my main thing. 


12:01

Monica H. Kang
Yeah, no, I agree. And I think one of the things, as somebody who’s, you know, that we’ve been preparing for a while and thinking of is, like, I really hope folks feel like, wow, like, I’m not scared anymore. Like, or I know how to take it to the next level or, like, I want to. Because, like, my hope is that welcome, like, all different chapters of people, like, both, whether you have been in technology and impact, a leader for many years, like, I hope they feel inspired to know, like, were just chatting even earlier today, like, you know, mega’s looking like, okay, we’re going to manifest it. Like, Mega’s going to be a CTO in the future. So, like, an entrepreneur and exploring and thinking about all of that. Like, what does that look like? 


12:36

Monica H. Kang
How can she also upskill as somebody who’s already senior? And then even for those out there, it’s like, I’ve never thought of tech or AI, like, but how they can merge or even somebody out there. Now who’s listening? Like, how can I better equipped to this world when I don’t know how to code or I’m not an engineer. And so we’re bridging that. And so whether you’re tuning in from DC or anywhere else in the world, we are excited to know that you are in the right place. And we hope that inspires you, that you create something maybe in your communities as well. 


13:05

Megha Sanghvi
And just to add to that, this event or this community is not only for women. So we don’t want our allies to feel, oh, it’s women in tech. I don’t want to join it. We are welcoming both the party woman and our allies. 


13:20

Monica H. Kang
So, yeah, no, thank you very much all for already being advocate and support. We are really excited and look forward to looking back and documenting. So we’ll see you later. 


13:32

Dr. Shanika Hope
Bye. 


13:36

Monica H. Kang
DC Woman TechMakers. Yay. 


13:42

Keynote Speaker: Alana Karen
They were often for people who’d made it to the tippy top, a CEO in tech, someone who was a major investor. And what I would hear ongoing from women was that didn’t resonate with them, that they didn’t look at that and feel like they could see themselves. And so many women said this to me. What, you don’t wake up at 05:00 a.m. To do hot yoga. And so it was impenetrable, this thing that, like, people who look like me, people who talk like me, people with background like me, people who like to, like, sleep in as long as possible, could thrive in tech. And so I wrote this book. I interviewed over 80 women. You can read about all of them. They’re lovely, all different backgrounds. And hopefully you’ll see that you can belong. It was generally these four things. 


14:33

Keynote Speaker: Alana Karen
One, the chance to change the world, that this was an opportunity that they hadn’t seen yet, to come somewhere and really, at scale, change the world. Number two, that then would also benefit them. If you think about your career as an arc in a long, unfortunately long one, we worked for 50 years, probably right, you know, and a long one, there will be years where your job is more, set it and forget it. You know, you can go nine to five, it doesn’t have as much evening responsibility. And maybe that’s when you pick up a hobby. Maybe that’s when you pick up a new skill set. For me, I finally had a year where the kid was sleeping, and I got this. I was just so annoyed. I was so provoked, and I was like, I can write this book. 


15:30

Keynote Speaker: Alana Karen
I call it Google hubris. I don’t see it, I’ll do it. And I use every evening, every weekend, every holiday. So the other thing I will say is, it’s a choice. If you want to do something like this and you want to do it on top of your day job, you do not have balance for a year. And so is that what you want to do? Well, maybe not now. Maybe in the future it will be. Maybe you’ll have a circumstance where you don’t have to do both at once. I didn’t have that. So it is just worth knowing when, like, you see someone like me, it’s not that they had it all without consequence or that they chose that forever. Last year, I did no proactive book business. I sat on my couch after work and I played with apps on my phone. 


16:20

Keynote Speaker: Alana Karen
I was tired. I was burnt out. I released a workbook the year prior, a follow up workbook, and I just was like, you know what, ladies? You’re on your own. Like, have a year. Call me if you need help. I’m not proactively doing anything this year. So, yeah, that’s how you do it, right? And maybe you’ll find a better way to do it than I did. The other thing I will say is, I wrote the book in a blazing, like, nine month energy spurt. Most people say they took longer than that to write their book, so you also don’t have to do what I did there. 


17:01

Dr. Shanika Hope
But they were not excited about the second one. They’re like, how did she even find sports? 


17:04

Dr. Shanika Hope
And we drop her off at the library. 


17:05

Dr. Shanika Hope
It’s so weird. But it helped me to be able to say, hey, even goals that look conflicting, right? There’s value in both. There’s value in learning how to be really good at a sport. Smee in a sport. And there’s value in pursuing a good education and having the foundation to pursue big dreams. And ultimately, I was able to go to a great school, actually, Georgetown over there somewhere. Hoya Saxon. There are any Georgetown Hoyas in the room. And I was able to qualify for the US Olympic trials. I was actually the youngest qualifier in my vet when I called them. And, you know, I graduated from Georgetown. I graduated from Georgetown. I went to the Olympic child. My first job out of college was at a restaurant. I said, wow, you know, this isn’t what I expected. 


17:56

Dr. Shanika Hope
I graduated into one of the worst recessions of all time. Actually has a name. You know, the great global recession of the late two thousands. Does anyone remember that? 2009, we watched the stock market plummet. Me and my roommates would sit on the sofa and watch the stock market plummet. And we’d be like that in a while. And we didn’t know. Our jobs were like, oh, were like, ugh. You know? So we all graduated into this, like, very crazy, jobless space in the hallway, hearing people’s stories. I met someone from Nigeria, Cameroon, Tanzania. I mean, it was like Africa collective in one corner back there. And it was just really awesome to meet like minded humans, right? I am actually, believe it or not, very introverted. So it took a long time for me to say, hey, I gotta talk to people. 


18:49

Dr. Shanika Hope
I gotta talk to people, right? Because in my mind, I was so nervous about it, I was reviewing everything I said. It was tough. 


19:01

Sonia Phene
And now you’re trying to grasp large language models, embrace that. Never be afraid to learn something because it’s hard. You’re just two steps away from figuring that out. So one thing that I personally do, even outside of my job, is try to stay apprised of the industry trend. There’s a lot of different ways to do that, depending on what you like. I’ll shout out Lillian Wang, who is a amazing, she’s an amazing woman, amazing researcher. She has a blog. Look up her blog, figure out what every word on that blog means. You know, google the ones that you don’t know. That’s a great first step, right? Or even a great step. Not even if you are an AI expert, even if you already know a lot about how machine learning works, always challenge yourself to figure out the latest and greatest. 


19:44

Sonia Phene
I’ll sometimes throw on YouTube channels in the background, just as I’m doing chores around the house to see what are companies launching, where is the industry moving. Stay apprised of that and learn. My last thing that I’ll mention that I think is really powerful is just read a lot. You need to learn from others, other researchers, other companies, and to really see how can AI be used. And there’s a huge opportunity, no matter where you are in your career, to learn the skills and to learn about what’s happening from every angle. And then you can become conversant in it, to your point. You can talk to. 


20:22

Megha Sanghvi
Audience. 


20:23

Sonia Phene
And I see my team, I see my friends, I see my manager, who you’ll hear from later today. And all of these people have really worked together to lift me up and to support me, whether it’s lending a friendly ear when I’m down to teaching me something new, to giving me the skills that I’ve needed to really grow and develop myself. So I would say, find your community and find those people, and those are the people who are going to have the network and the community and the other friends, honestly, who you want to meet. I’ve been so grateful to friends of friends has honestly been a huge way of meeting and building my community because those folks likely have similar interests to you. They’re likely going to be similar supporters, and that’s a great way. 


21:07

Sonia Phene
And I would also say that in turn, give back. You bring a lot to the table, too. Share that and share your wisdom and share your own knowledge and own your awesome and spread that awesomeness to others as well. When you can drop posting. That called for an ML PhD, which I did not have, and that also called for more years of experience than I had and called for a level more senior than I was. And I still applied because to me, I knew I wanted to use ML for healthcare applications. I saw a line in that post to help, that I could help prevent a disease that had blinded my grandfather. And I was like, this is an opportunity. I’m going for it. This has personal resonance. 


21:48

Dr. Shanika Hope
I’m getting email. 


21:49

Dr. Shanika Hope
I will say, honestly, it’s moments of failure where I have to remind myself and give myself grace to say, Shanika, this is not the end. This is where you learn. Pick yourself back up and learn again. I think successes are very important because they give me the motivation to push. It’s been in the moments of setback, the moments of a lot of challenge where I have to I’ll go to a coach analogy. I hate to go to sports, particularly since it’s March Madness and I love sports, but I’ll go to a coach analogy that I hear coaches say all the time, practice to build the muscle memory, right. 


22:34

Dr. Shanika Hope
This idea, your question is really about failures have helped me build the muscle memory that I’m capable, that I’m enough, that I have whatever, everything that I need to do this work and what I don’t know. I surround myself with other leaders and that’s what’s necessary. So I built the muscle memory through failure of reminding myself to get back up, remind myself that I’m capable, that I belong, and then continue the work. 


23:06

Moderator
I’m curious what advice you have in overcoming adversity. As you shared some of your own challenges in your story and time, what advice would you give at those low moments, right? Those challenging moments where maybe you don’t have that muscle memory, right. You don’t know how to move forward. 


23:19

Dr. Shanika Hope
Yeah. Thank you for that question. A very distinct memory comes to mind. I mean, it’s almost impressed in my heart I can almost remember what I was wearing. So I was at another company, a leader that, in a lot of ways, acted as a sponsor for me. But we had this really important business meeting where were looking for substantial investment in a new product. Female leader, she didn’t defend me. She backed away from a business decision that we had made prior to the meeting, and she did not advocate for me. And she left me alone in that meeting with senior leaders and did not come to defend, or not even defend, but to stand with, to say, we agree. No, no, we agreed to this. I hear the reasons why I’m supporting Shanika’s point of view. 


24:09

Dr. Shanika Hope
That moment was devastating in a lot of ways, because I had five years of time. This leader had shown up, but it was like, at this pivotal moment, I saw something in this leader that I said, I will never be that person. And so what I have found is, again, going back to the muscle memory, I’ve looked at leadership failures as instruction, show up differently. And so the advice that I would give is, you look for proof, points of strength and things that you would emulate. But you. You also look for proof, points of failure, and then you learn from that so that you can be a better leader. Because, remember, guys, we are standing on the shoulders of giants. A lot of times, we’re out front, which means you get hit first. 


25:08

Dr. Shanika Hope
And so you need proof points, those lessons from both the successes as well as the failures. And so that would be my insight. 


25:17

Monica H. Kang
Thank you. 


25:18

Dr. Shanika Hope
Study good examples, but also look at those that are not so great and learn from those. A personal insight that I do all the time. Back to. I stalk specific leaders in all kinds of industries. I look at hundreds of hours of videos where I can find. One of them is a melody Hobson, for example. She leads the large. She’s the president and GM for one of the largest african american owned venture capitalist groups. Hundreds of hours of content from her. I try to go to places that she is, that she’s presenting. I try to emulate breakfast. And to be clear, we’re flawed. In human beings, I’m flawed. But even I look for leaders that are vulnerable enough to say, hey, look, I made a mistake. That’s what I wanted that leader to do, to say, Shanika, that was wrong. I failed you. 


26:08

Dr. Shanika Hope
And this is how I’m gonna make that right. And so that’s the stuff that I trust to do. I try to immune. I am super excited to talk to you today about how to use AI to ten x, your product superpowers, while also avoiding the hype. There may be a little bit of hype, but using these is going to really teach you what is real and where the limitations lie. So I’m Ann. Other questions people ask me, is AI going to take my job, or do I need to go back to school and take more classes if I want. 


26:41

Moderator
To get into AI? 


26:42

Dr. Shanika Hope
So that last question, it depends depending on what you want to do, but. 


26:47

Moderator
We have to have a starting point, and that’s why we’re here today. 


26:50

Dr. Shanika Hope
And one of the great ways to get started is to actually use products, learn more about how our customers would potentially be using these products, as well as what sparks our own interest. 


27:03

Madison Ostermann
I am Madison Oster, a data scientist and data engineer on our people analytics team at NASA. The type of people analytics work we do is very different across teams and different companies, even on a single team. So this is the various types of work we do in our team. We have some folks focused more on a traditional data analyst role, where they do descriptive analytics and ad hoc data calls or dashboarding for reporting. We also have some of the more data sciencey type roles where people work on attrition modeling with supply and demand to help workforce planning. So I’ve been working over the past year and a half or so, mostly on establishing a data pipeline that takes many data sources and consolidates into a single database. 


27:49

Evelyn Chou
How did you kind of spin up on the emergence of generated AI? Remember where we all were today, two years ago versus a year ago versus today, and what worked best for you? 


28:01

Gwendolyn Denise Stripling
Oh, wow, that’s a great question. This sounds weird, but I will be completely transparent. I have been waiting for this moment. I’ve been in this field a very long time. And at one point in my career, I said to myself, I am not learning one more programming language. I am, no example, just kept changing. I’m like, I am just going to wait. I said, okay, I’m going to learn Python, and that’s it. And it was actually just waiting and working, playing around, you know, it’s just, I love Jupyter notebooks, I love Python, and I like seeing my, you know, putting in data, loading it, visualizing it, and then seeing it, the predictions, the literature, and the research that’s been going on for years, actually. 


28:52

Gwendolyn Denise Stripling
I’ve just been waiting so that it can be more accessible to the public, because I think that we’re at an inflection point and that this is going to open the doors for anyone to come into this field and not feel that they need a PhD in computer science. You know, we are. I am just so excited about this time. 


29:15

Linda Molnar
Hi. 


29:15

Monica H. Kang
Hi. 


29:16

Linda Molnar
I’m Linda Molnar. I work at the US National Science foundation. 


29:20

Monica H. Kang
What are you excited about today’s event? 


29:23

Linda Molnar
Oh, my gosh. It’s always absolutely empowering and supportive to be around a bunch of really talented women. 


29:33

Monica H. Kang
What’s one thing that you wish more women and tech realized? 


29:41

Linda Molnar
How critically important it is to keep lifting up other women. You just have to keep doing it. We believe we’ve made some progress, but, you know, I’ve seen progress 20 years ago, and what you need to be is really consistent and intentional in continuing to lift other women up. 


30:00

Monica H. Kang
What’s one word of wisdom you want to share? 


30:04

Linda Molnar
I would say that no matter in your life, it’s going to happen. There are going to be people, there are going to be men, women, other folks who try to disempower you. But just remember, nobody can really take your power away. You control your power. If they don’t let you into one event or include you in their team, you can turn around and you can empower someone else, and then you still win. You’re still winning. You have retained your power. 


30:32

Monica H. Kang
What’s been your highlights so far? Oh. 


30:35

Linda Molnar
Oh, sure. Well, thanks, Monica. Yeah, I mean, it’s been an absolutely great day. I think the speakers have been so inspiring. For me, personally, what I’ve loved the most is just sharing their personal stories. I mean, deeply personal journeys and just learning all the different pathways to tech, and that many start out with non technical backgrounds, but just that, you know, we’re all learning. And I think it’s. And just the inspiring community has been a highlight for me. 


31:02

Sophia Greulich
Absolutely. And doing great, doing amazing speakers you have there. That’s really so inspiring. And what I love most is the combination of knowledge sharing that you have. So I’m actually learning a lot right now and at the same time, learning about all these journeys and about empowerment of women and what do I need to do to become one of the students? Inspiring leaders. So that’s truly inspiring. 


31:32

Linda Molnar
Very soon. 


31:33

Sophia Greulich
Yeah, in a few minutes, actually. So I hope that the participants will understand that all of us can do a difference, that all of us are important in this whole discussion about AI and AI ethics, that we need to start to participate, especially as women or as allies who know about inclusion and diversity and so on. So that’s kind of the key takeaway. And, of course, a little bit demystifying that whole world. Right. Right now we see a lot of headlines about it. There’s a lot of talk, lots of discussions going on, and I want to, you know, empower other women, other leaders in this field to be more confident when talking about this to understand what’s going on. Yeah. 


32:14

Monica H. Kang
Julia, second question to you. Hold the mic on. Now that you’ve been here and learned what you learned so far, what’s one thing that you’re like, I never thought of this, but now I’m going to think about this differently. Whether it’s tech or how you build a career, I know you’ve been also helping other people build their careers. So I’m curious to hear your thoughts on that. 


32:34

Linda Molnar
Such a good question. I think, just going back to what I shared earlier, that there’s a place in tech for everyone. 


32:42

Monica H. Kang
Right. 


32:42

Linda Molnar
And we all have to begin somewhere and that things are changing so quickly. 


32:47

Monica H. Kang
Right. 


32:47

Linda Molnar
I think one of the speakers talked about, well, I think one of themes is just the constant learning and the constant discomfort. 


32:54

Monica H. Kang
Right. 


32:54

Linda Molnar
There’s always going to be something that we don’t know. And so just really acknowledging that and. But overcoming that fear and just pushing yourself to continue, continually learn. 


33:06

Monica H. Kang
Okay, so this is March 25, 2024. It’s the end of the event. We have completed Women TechMakers, DC Women TechMakers first event. Wow. A lot of things didn’t go as planned. Both the goods and the unexpected challenges we had, the power outage going on in the venue and a speaker that couldn’t come last minute, and also some real time, some tech challenges. But with all that being said, it was very humbling to hear how meaningful it was for all the participants who are there, all the new relationships they built. I just came back from the last segment, which was the after part, unofficial after party dinner for folks to have hung out and just really energizing. And so I just wanted to say thank you all for joining. 


33:56

Monica H. Kang
I hope hearing a little bit of the snippets of the highlights that we have collected in the story just now is fun for you to hear and all the different advices that you have noticed. And so, yeah, here are little sound bites of the event and the conversations that we had. And I hope this inspires you to know that wherever you are in your journey with AI and technology, that you are here at the right place and that you can thrive no matter where you are. So this was what we did, women tech makers, we brought together an event. We created a little mini notebook and a pen for all as well. And we have this book from Alana. Thank you. 


34:40

Monica H. Kang
That we got to share with everyone and just feeling gratitude, I think a lot to digest and dive into and so excited to continue the learning and journey and being reminded that you are not alone in that. That’s okay. That’s good. In fact. So yeah, we will continue the building and growing together. 


35:03

Monica H. Kang
So thanks again for tuning into our special conversation. I had a fun time documenting this and reflecting on what are some of the insights and trends that will be fun for you all to tune in. I hope you found it meaningful and it also inspired you maybe in how you might do some community events in your local community. So again, happy International Women’s History Month. I’m so grateful for all the leaders and innovators around the world and how we continue to make sure we have accessible innovation all around the world. Have a great day and I will see you next week because we’re starting a new series. This is your host Monica Kang at Dear Workplace from Innovators Box. Have a good one. Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode at Dear Workplace where we untangle your questions about the workplace. 


36:02

Monica H. Kang
I hope you enjoyed today’s conversation. Please send us your questions, feedback, suggestions at [email protected] or dearworkplace.com because we want to know how to continue to dive deeper in navigating those questions with you. This show, of course, is possible thanks to the amazing podcast team at Innovators Box Studios that I want to do a little shout out. Audio Engineering and producing by Sam Lehmart, Audio Engineering and assistance by Ravi Lad, website and marketing support by Kree Pandey, Graphic Support by Lea Orsini, Christine Eribal, Original Music by InnovatorsBox Studios, and executive producing, directing, writing, researching and hosted by me Monica Kang. Thank you again for your support. 

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