By Davar Ardalan, Frincy Clement, Bhuva Subram, Susan Verdiguel, Aalya Dhawan
Women from across the US, Mexico and Canada came together virtually for the Women in AI Awards North America. The award festivities took place on May 13, 2022 and honored female pioneers who are paving new ways in the world of artificial intelligence (AI).
Some of the most iconic names in AI in Canada, including Mila, Amii and Vector Institute sponsored the awards. Through their generous sponsorships, and that of our strategic partners, GetCities, we are able to offer cash prizes to the winners and mementos to the runner-ups. GetCities is led by SecondMuse Foundation and Break Through Tech, in partnership with Pivotal Ventures, the investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates. We had amazing support system throughout the planning and implementation of our awards from our sponsors from USA - TopCoder, Paravision AI, Institute for Education and IVOW AI.
The Women in AI North America Winners & Runner Up by categories are: :
Outstanding in AI - Young Role Model of the Year
Jigyasa Grover, Machine Learning Engineer at Twitter
Charmi Chokshi, Research Engineer at Amazon Web Services, Graduate student at Mila
AI in Startup - AI Entrepreneur of the Year
Mahla Mirali, Founder at Grain Data Solutions Inc.
Sarah Lambert, Co-Founder & CEO at Ora Medical
AI for Good - Responsible AI Leader of the Year
Wendy Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer at Sama
Merve Hickok, Research Director at Center for AI & Digital Policy, Founder at AIethicist.org
AI for Good - ESG AI Leader of the Year
Leslie Canavera, CEO at PolArctic LLC
Erin Michelson, CEO and Founder, Summery
AI for Good - DEI AI Leader of the Year
Jutta Treviranus, Director and Professor at Inclusive Design Research Centre, OCAD University
Allison Cohen, Applied AI Project Lead, AI for Humanity, Mila
AI in Research - AI Researcher of the Year
Animashree Anandkumar, Bren chair professor at Caltech and Director, ML Research at NVIDIA
Alona Fyshe, Assistant Professor of Computing Science, and Fellow of Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute
AI in Government - AI Disruptor of the Year
Yunive Moreno, Liaison director, Coordinación General de Innovación Gubernamental, Jalisco
Jennifer Glenski , AI and Machine Learning Practice Lead
AI in Industry - AI Innovator of the Year
Rama K Akkiraju, IBM Fellow, CTO AI Ops, Master Inventor at IBM Automation
Raquel Urtasun, Founder and CEO at Waabi
One of the first awards handed out today was the Young Role Model of the Year. The winner Jigyasa Grover, is a Machine Learning engineer at Twitter and co-authored of “Sculpting Data for ML” that campaigns for a data-centric approach to machine learning.
“I feel so humbled and elated,” Grover said. “Immense gratitude to all who have supported me in my journey: mentors, allies, and specifically my family for always instilling the confidence, and power of hard work in me. With a strong belief in ‘we rise by lifting others’, I feel motivated, now, more than ever, to continue making a dent in the AI community, boosting the representation, and supporting the upcoming generation in this field.”
As we began designing these awards, we vowed to build capacity and highlight women in AI across Mexico, Canada and the US. We did this by appointing honorary chairs and then honoring Top 5 from each nation, to show our collective inclusive muscles. Our honorary chairs include Dr. Yoshua Bengio from Canada, Dr. Gloria Washington from USA, and Andrea Escobedo Lastiri of Mexico. To heighten the scope of our awards, we also brought in top advisors from Mexico, US and Canada who guided us through amplifying this program.
The winner of the AI Entrepreneur of the Year was Mahla Mirali, Founder at Grain Data Solutions Inc, a startup in the field of agritech/cleantech that monitors environmental-friendly farm activities for the carbon and the sustainability markets.”This was a true honour to be among talented and responsible women in the WAI ceremony,” Mirali says. “Thanks to Women in AI organisers and sponsors for this prestigious award. This wouldn't happen without the support of my family and specifically my husband/co-founder Salman Razavi. I am so humbled for this opportunity, and I am looking forward to giving back to the women in the AI ecosystem."
Yunive Moreno Sánchez, the winner of AI in Government - AI Disruptor of the Year says, “Working in AI projects in government opens the opportunity to make a positive impact at scale through endless possibilities to improve public services and the only way to do it is in partnership with the private and academic sector always with an inclusion and diversity perspective.”
We also celebrated some phenomenal women leaders in AI across Mexico, Canada and the United States through a special jury recognition.
SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION - MEXICO
Lucía Tróchez Ardila, Program Director at C Minds
Saiph Savage, Assistant Professor at Northeastern University and research collaborator at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)
Claudia May Del Pozo, Executive Director of the Eon Resilience Lab at C Minds
Cristina Elena Martinez Pinto, Founder and CEO at PIT Policy Lab
Liliana Millán Núñez, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION - CANADA
Eleni Stroulia , Professor, Faculty of Science Acting Vice Dean, University of Alberta
AI4Society Signature Area Director
Enikő Rózsa, a Distinguished Engineer, CTO for the Global AI Practice of IBM Consulting
Nicole Janssen, Co‐founder and Co‐CEO of AltaML
Taoli Cheng, Postdoctoral researcher at Mila and the University of Montreal.
Ivey Chiu - Engineering Program Manager - AI & Special Projects,TELUS
SPECIAL JURY RECOGNITION - USA
Lauren Decker, Co-founder and Chief Science Officer of PolArctic
Jacquilene Jacob - Engineering Manager and AI Lead at SimpliSafe
Phenesia Eusebio - Principal Systems Engineer at TransTechSol, LLC
Rachel Azafrani,Senior Program Manager, Office of Responsible AI at Microsoft
Furong Huang, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland
A hearty shout out to the executive team with that includes members from the steering committee; Alessandra Sala (Director of AI, Shutterstock// Global President of Women in AI), Davar Ardalan (Executive Producer at National Geographic and Founder, IVOW AI, Inc. // WAI North America Senior Advisor), Bhuva Subram (Founder & CEO, Wallet Max // WAI North America & USA Ambassador), Frincy Clement (Manager, Data Science & Analytics, TELUS Business Solutions // WAI Canada Ambassador), Susan Verdiguel (Responsible AI Advisor, GENIA Latinoamerica // WAI Mexico Ambassador).
What is Women in AI?
Women in AI (WAI) is a global network of female experts and professionals in the field of Artificial Intelligence working towards inclusive AI that benefits a global society. Through empowerment, knowledge and active collaboration, WAI has grown into a recognized global platform of 8500+ members across 140+ countries with over 200 volunteers and led by prominent and influential women in Artificial Intelligence.