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Interview with Fairoza Amira, Runner-up of the WAI Ambassador of the Year 2022 Award By Anne

Anne-Katrin: Fairoza Amira, you are the WAI Country Lead Ambassador Malaysia and one of the four Runners-Up of the WAI Ambassador of the Year 2022 Award. Congratulations! Can you tell us in a few words why you decided to get involved as a WAI Ambassador?

Fairoza Amira: It started in early 2019, when I stumbled upon the website promoted by one of the members in Udacity scholars Slack workspace. As a female that is always being the only female in a team, I was impressed with the Women in AI mission of having a more inclusive AI that benefits global society, thus, I decided to join Women in AI.

Anne-Katrin: Building a community of volunteers is certainly fraught with challenges every now and then. Do you have any “community building hacks” you would like to share with us so that we can learn from your way of doing things?

Fairoza Amira: I have started as the ambassador for Japan, and as Japan is very closed country towards having females in the tech field, it was very difficult to start a programme in Japan, until I found awesome core members like Khine Zar (that finally help open up a chapter in Myanmar) and Eriko. In early 2020, due to the pandemic, I decided to return back to my home country, and thanks to my reputation in fighting COVID-19 with data in CoronaTracker, I managed to establish Women in AI Malaysia with a very heartwarming launching from the Malaysia community. I was very impressed with the enthusiastic Malaysian ladies in the field, regardless they are academician, industry practitioners, students or female advocates policy makers, like Mei Sin Lee, Ummi Hassanah Zaidon, Dr Sharifah Sakinah, Dr Zareen, Dr Geetha, Dr Intan, Khadijah Jasni, Dr Hamirahanim, Aqilah, Fairuz and Zur Ain. Of course from the support of our main industry partner, Microsoft and university partners like UiTM, UTeM, USM and UTM. Regarding the “community building hacks”, the most important is having good networking. I really love to join local and international conferences and networking events, regardless of online or onsite events, and I am very bold in voicing my opinion, thus easing the growth progress of our community. We have started with small WaiTalk, and later collaborated with WAI APAC, and started to have our own local summit, and this year, we were endorsed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation as Women in AI in the AI Roadmap of Malaysia.

Anne-Katrin: Given that you a very inspirational person and role model, I am pretty sure that you are often asked to give advice. Hence (smile): What is your most important advice for women aiming at engaging in data and AI?

Fairoza Amira: Passion. One word that I always end whenever I give a talk on an embarking journey in data and AI. Regardless of how much salary you get or how high your position is, if you don’t have any passion in your work, you will never be satisfied and enjoying the work. I am pretty sure that regardless where you work in this field, you will always become the minority in your team. Be bold! Voice out your opinion freely and stay firm with your own standing. But, be tolerant to others as well.

Anne-Katrin: And last but not least, why have you decided to engage in the work with data and AI? How would you end this sentence: For me the work with data and AI means…

Fairoza Amira: I am building an inclusive AI for the better future by helping to eliminate the bias in the data and in the world applications.

Thank you so much, Fairoza Amira, for your engagement for WAI!

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