Why did you first join WAI and what was your vision for the organization as the Chief of Content, PR and Media?
I joined Women in AI in January 2019 as the Ambassador for Berlin because the lack of women in that field frankly shocked me. It was a personal quest to find other women that work in the field to connect them, but also to learn from them. I once heard the quote: “An audience will watch you loose. A community will help you win.” I think, that describes best why I still am convinced that organisations like WAI are so important and worth supporting.
I became CCO in June 2021, so two and a half years after I joined WAI initially. At that point I had a good overview of the topic, audience and needs of the organisation. My vision was to use content and communication in a professional sense, to shed light on the unsung female heroes in AI and to enable new talent to explore the space.
What are the factors to success for women in the STEM field? What advice would you like to give to our WAI supporters?
Well, next to the basics like a passion for the topic and a solid knowledge base, I'd say a solid and strong network. It is the sad truth that the leadership boards of most (tech) companies are still dominated by white men. We need more diversity to develop technology that considers the multiple needs of individuals and to mitigate bias. Women are a part of the solution and should at least be represented equally in the top hierarchy levels of tech companies. To get there, one needs support: A mix of mentors, sponsors and friends. My advice would be to actively look for this support network. Get out there and contact women and men that you consider a role model or inspiration. Join networks and attend events like meet-ups or expert conferences. Build professional relationships and use them to climb the ladder. I believe, that women need to support women to enable career success.
How has WAI made a difference in your life?
Through WAI I have met countless women and men, that inspired and enabled me. Like Shannon Kehoe or Sarah Haq, who helped me through some of the most difficult math lessons when I attempted to study data science. Or Caroline Lair, one of the founders of WAI, who encouraged me to speak publicly and connected me with event managers of data-related conferences. It is thanks to WAI that I have new friends and a network of women working in AI around the globe. It is thanks to WAI that I had the opportunity to organise events with companies like Facebook, Google or Axel Springer. And of course - being a volunteer - fuelled my career in the tech industry. It creates a massive amount of value if you can combine a passion topic like AI with your professional expertise - like in my case content and marketing. And I will always be thankful for that.
Who are the women you look up to?
I am a huge fan of Joy Boulamwini or Timnit Gebru. Those AI activists really make a difference and initiate necessary conversations about bias in AI. But I am also inspired by every single women who stands up for other and fights her way through the AI career universe. It can be struggle and every single success is a win for the entire community of women in AI.
Which is a Blog post that is closest to your heart? Why?
It's not a blog post, but a YouTube video. Its the TED talk with Joy Boulamwini “How I’m fighting bias in algorithms.” I saw it years ago and it shocked me to the bone. I couldn't believe that computer vision can be discriminating. It was completely new to me at that point. Her talk inspired me to dive deep into bias in AI and what causes it. It is to this day one of the most fascinating and scary topics for me. I am following Joy's career since then and am a huge fan.
What has been your biggest challenge and accomplishment at WAI?
Well, there were several challenges. For example, starting a chapter in Berlin from scratch without any budget. It really made me proud to see our community and group of volunteers grow. It was also a challenge to define a content strategy and structure without money or access to the tools I was used to in a professional environment. It really makes you feel helpless sometimes. The biggest accomplishment is what the content team was able to develop and come up with despite the fact that they all had full-time jobs and no proper resources. I am very, very proud of every single volunteer and their contribution. It is women like them who bring WAI to life.
How can the readers of this Blog post make the most of the community at WAI?
Well, thats simple. Join the community. ;) But also apply as a volunteer and be hands on. In the end it depends on the individual and what you make out of it. The potential is there - but you may have to do the first step to connect or find your local group.
How would you describe your journey with WAI? Is this the end?
My journey with WAI has been existing and enriching so far and it's not the end. I will stay a member of the community and hope to stay in touch with most women I’ve met so far. Those learnings from the past three years will stay with me and influence all future steps that I may take.
How do you foresee WAI content to grow and evolve?
Thats hard to say for me, as I am not in charge anymore. However, I am confident that the content volunteers will continue doing an amazing job. I am looking forward to see more inspiring stories and new insights on all channels, being it on social, the website or the newsletter.
We’d like to sincerely thank Tina for her initiatives, grit, passion, leadership and her wonderful work with WAI. We wish her all the best for all the amazing endeavours that follow her way. She has been a force behind content and WAI's success in countless ways, and she continues to remain a blueprint for us all!
If Tina's story inspired you and you see yourself as an emerging volunteer too, apply now and add value. A journey starts with a single step and we look forward to having you join our community.