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Women in AI Awards Honor the Top Female Artificial Intelligence Innovators in North America

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

  • AI in Startup - AI Entrepreneur of the Year

  • 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

  • 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



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


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



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.


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