Podcast – Karolyn Gainfort

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In this podcast we’ve got the chance to hear from Karolyn Gainfort she’s the Principal Consultant, KJR and a Mentor for Young Women Leaders in AI program. 

Karolyn is a “Tech Veteran” with her technology career starting 25++ years ago – “her mother wanted her to be a ballet dancer” and she had no other vocation skills outside of that, so when Karolyn found herself in London, with a strong curiosity and desire to try anything, she was able to merge her performing arts training and her interest in technology and business, she took a role at a film producing company and the rest, as they say, is history. Karolyn’s role ranges from embedding quality in social impact startups to enterprise applications and building frameworks for AI assurance. Her passion is to mentor young women as part of the Young Women Leaders in AI program.

Keys Points:

  • If you want to get into AI, you don’t need to know how to code (I am personally thrilled to hear this!)
  • The tech realm spans far further than a lot of people assume. It’s not linear, there are lots of exciting creative opportunities for people.
  • If you like problem-solving or if you are passionate about streamlining things then technology can enhance anything you are trying to achieve.
  • Be awake to opportunity, if you see something that inspires you, put your hand up, don’t be scared of not knowing everything.

Want to get in touch with Karolyn?

Follow her on Linkedin
Or you can check out the work of KJR

Thanks for tuning in, we hope you enjoyed this podcast! 

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Podcast – Iqra Shahzad

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Iqra Shazad is brilliant. At only 23 she has a wealth of knowledge on both the AI industry and personal growth. This episode is an inspiring and insightful listen!

Iqra graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the University of Queensland.In her final year, she became interested in Machine Learning and researched it for a University Project. At the same time, she managed to do an internship at Mawson Ventures, which was her step into Industry. Currently, she’s working in Popgun, exploring Generative models for Music Generation. She’s also interested in Machine Learning including Neural Machine Translation, Graphical Models, and Reinforcement Learning.

Keys Points:

  • Be consistent and patient in your learning.
  • Develop the etiquette to appreciate knowledge (Set aside blocks of time, minimise distractions and leverage all technical resources at your disposal).
  • There is beauty in learning from knowledgeable  (Make an effort to get a degree).

Shopping List:

  • Study area (any place would do, a library, cafe, basement etc.)
  • Time (Blocks of free time, distraction-free)
  • Financial funding for resources (e.g. courses, books, computers & high-speed internet)
  • Distraction free mind space (minimise stress from other aspects of your life)
  • Technical mentor, to correct your technique
  •  ‘With’ ( colleague, partner, sibling or friend) to struggle with technically (it makes learning painless)
  • Endless patience and humility to be persistent in your work


For Beginners/ Intermediate:
For Intermediates/ Advance:
Implement as many papers as you can to practice the skills

Want to get in touch with Iqra?


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Podcast – Sarah Thams

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 Sarah Thams is our community lead and one of the Young Women Leaders in AI mentors. In this episode, Sarah pulls back the curtain on her personal life. We talk about what it’s like being a mother and balancing industry life.

Sarah Thams has worked in IT for +6 years and is currently works as a Service Desk Technician for Hall and Wilcox Lawyers. Her background is in Software Development and programming and has worked in various roles from Designer, Developer to Project Manager. She has worked on development projects for Ultra Tune, MTA Travel, Energize 30 and of course Hall & Wilcox. She has a passion for applications development focusing on user interactions and experience. Along with being a working mum, Sarah dedicates her free time to working with Women in AI to help encourage girls to get into AI and support them on their journey. She is the Community Manager for Women in AI, a mentor in the Young Women Leaders in AI program and forms part of our organising and program committees.

Connect with her www.linkedin.com/in/sarahthams/

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Podcast – Becks Simpson

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Becks Simpson works passionately in pursuit of solving problems. In today’s podcast, we’ll talk to Backs about the types of problems she’s solving in both her personal and professional lives. I find both her ethics and approach inspiring.

Becks is the former Head of Screening AI at Maxwell Plus, a medical AI company developing algorithms to personalise disease risk and improve cancer diagnosis. She is now turning her sights to how AI can be applied to other pressing problems that our world is facing such as food stability, water sustainability, and environmental protection.
In this episode, we delve into Becks journey into AI. We talk about some of the different companies and projects that she has worked on both personally and professionally and her motivations behind her work and career trajectory.

Motivational takeaways:

  • The best way to stay motived is to find things that interest you and pursue them.
  • Skills are transferable, what you learn in one role can be applied to others.
  • Keeping a diverse range of interests drives creativity.

Thanks for tuning in, we hope you enjoyed this podcast! 

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Podcast – Laura Medalia

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Today’s episode of the AI Curious podcast features the tech-savvy business woman and coder Laura Medalia, aka @codergirl_ – a software engineer in NYC and online entrepreneur.

Laura majored in English at college, but always had a love for maths and problem solving. In her senior year at school she took some classes in computer science thus began her love for tech.
In this episode, we discuss how Laura grew her career to where she is today, her first tech job out, what she’s most excited for in the future of tech, and what drives her online presence.

Key points:

  • There are so many ways to learn about tech, whether it’s AI, coding or engineering.
  • Find your own personal style of learning – what suits you best will allow you to learn the best. Look into structured face to face learning like university, online courses or intensive short ‘boot camps’ done online or in person.
  • Find areas of study that you’re interested in learning about; Laura has always had a love for problem solving and used this to drive her career choices.
  • Promote the things you are passionate about – you never know how many people out there are looking to support the same things!

More Laura?

Follow her instagram.com/codergirl_/
Check out her blog and apparel range – lauramedalia.com
Or send her a message  – 📧: hello@codergirl.co

Thanks for tuning in, we hope you enjoyed this podcast! 

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Podcast – Doctor Ruth Pearson

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Doctor Ruth Pearson is a data scientist and machine learning engineer. She has crammed a lot into her career. At only 30 she’s already notched a lot of dream jobs on her belt.  In this episode, we’ll dig into Ruth’s journey as well as discussing the importance of women being represented in the industry.

Ruth grew up in the UK and originally planned to study English literature after school, but instead chose a Master of Science at the University of London, majoring in Physics, and now also has a PhD in Cosmology. Ruth undertook an internship in California in partnership with NASA while completing her first degree, and another in Switzerland at Cern, one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research.
In this episode, we discuss how Ruth discovered her love of Physics in high-school and followed her passion to study it at university, leading her to achieve hugely successful career. We also explore the under-representation of minority groups in the science and engineering fields, and what we can be doing to help bridge these gaps for the next generation.

Key points:

  • What is AI and AGI?
  • The medical applications of AI and data science and preventative studies
  • The lack of women in the science and engineering fields and why we need women in AI development
  • The importance of trying new things and overcoming initial fears to find a greater passion – for Ruth, this was coding at university
  • What young women can expect from the AI industry and the need for the industry to change to become a more welcoming space for women
  • A professional’s thoughts on self-teaching and online learning for young women just starting out in the tech world

Thanks for tuning in, we hope you enjoyed this podcast! 

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A Recap of the 2018 Women in AI camp

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On September 28-30 2018, our first Women in AI camp took place at the Gold Coast University Hospital. The camp was our first major event designed to educate young women already in or looking to move in to the AI industry. The camp features speakers, workshops and activities to teach attendees more about tech, entrepreneurship and AI, and how to succeed as a young woman in the growing AI world. While our attendees ranged in both age (from high school to mid-twenties) and previous AI exposure (from tech novices to PhD students), feedback from across the board was very positive and everyone – including the organising committee – learned a huge amount. ‘I especially would recommend it to those who didn’t think the event is for them,’ says attendee Jenna.

Day One

After welcoming the attendees and some introductions, day 1 was kicked off with a session of talks to set the stage for why AI is important, how it will impact the future, and some of the opportunities available for those looking to enter the industry. Our speakers included Toni Peggrem from the Gold Coast University Hospital talking about the opportunities for AI in health, Rowena Ryan from the Federal Government discussing the support available from the government for startups, Dr Kelvin Ross from KJR on what an AI future will look like, and Aashmeet Kaur Kalra from AWS to discuss the different tools available to those wanting to create machine learning applications. The core takeaways of the session were just how many opportunities there are to apply AI and the positive benefit that is possible with it, with Rowena Ryan noting that a culture that “focuses on innovation, science and STEM is what’s going to secure jobs and prosperity in our changing global environment moving forward”. Dr Kelvin Ross backed this up, stating that AI is a “discovery tool that marks the new age of discovery.”

Following the talks, attendees were split into four teams and assigned mentors, and with their teammates would work on AI product ideas before presenting their AI-enabled solution on Sunday afternoon. To get started, camp mentors pitched a range of AI problems to be solved, and each of the teams chose the ideas they wanted to work on. The ideas involved detecting and preventing fatigue-related accidents on the road, enabling better patient care for the elderly at home, and using AI to help improve mental health. After a couple hours of group work to flesh out the problems to be solved, we took a trip to grab some dinner before heading home to prepare for day two.

Day Two

Day two saw a range of different speaking topics and plenty of time for our teams to develop their AI product ideas ahead of their pitches. We started bright and early with a deep dive into the building blocks of machine learning systems, along with walkthroughs of how ML projects come together in both the research and tech product worlds. Session two uncovered issues of bias and privacy in AI, with Karolyn Gainfort and Steph Singer from KJR taking a closer look at the Amazon Look (a device which gives fashion recommendations based on pictures of you) and previous examples of AI systems gone bad. Session three, a favourite of many of our attendees, sawCherie Whelan from Deloitte and Dr Emily Grossman talk about some of their experiences in male-dominated industries, how your own differences can often be your greatest strengths, and becoming a female leader in the workplace. Rounding out the day was Nilram Azadpeyma with how CISCO uses machine learning to detect network attackers, and more time for our teams to work on their ML project ideas.

Day Three

To round out talks ahead of the team pitches on Day three, we heard from Julienne Seyward (Griffith University) on how to make an effective pitch, and then Ruth Pearson (Silverpond) and Beck Simpson (Maxwell MRI) to talk about their path into AI and their tips on how to get there. Following some group work and morning tea, Dr Nigel Greenwood (Machine Genes) shed light on effective ways to tackle hard problems, and some of his important lessons in finding funding for groundbreaking ideas.

After lunchtime, it was time for our teams to pitch the AI product ideas. The products challenged modern problems and were given innovative solutions through AI and technological thinking (including engineering and mathematics) coupled with business strategies on how to market the product in the future. Our four groups pitched a range of ideas, including an AI-powered robotic elderly assistant designed to ‘keep people in their homes and continue their quality of life’, an antibiotic buddy (known as ABBY) aiming to help patients more effectively manage their antibiotic dosing, a mood journal app designed to help users report their subjective mood and tailor ways for them to be more aware of their mental wellbeing, and an app leveraging computer vision to monitor driver fatigue and reduce road accidents. The pitches were one of the highlights of the camp, with attendees having the opportunity to take the ideas they had learned across the weekend and inject them into their projects. The mentors and all of the organising team were blown away with the quality of the pitches given the timeframe the attendees had to develop them.

Following three days of seminars and workshops, there was a lot of positive feedback on the camp, but one of the things we noticed as everyone was saying their goodbyes was the energy and sense of community within the group. While the core focus of the camp was to educate attendees on AI and leadership, so much of the feedback highlighted how empowering it was to share this experience with other women, and an excitement for the next events to be run as part of the program. It was a weekend of learning, collaboration and connecting with others, and we here at IntelliHQ were blown away by the calibre of the attendees and their potential for the future. We have spent so much time focusing on what we can give to the attendees during the camp, but we couldn’t help but notice how powerful the weekend had been for the mentors and speakers as well. In bringing together such a diverse group of people, male and female, young and old(er), we’ve all been empowered. It’s a bright future for our young women leaders in AI, and we can’t wait for the next camp in April 2019.

We’d love to thank all our wonderful attendees, speakers, mentors, sponsors (including KJR, Amazon, Gold Coast Hub, & Gold Coast Health & Knowledge Precinct) and everyone involved in making the program a success.