Two Aussies among 40 women leading the way in AI innovation

Monday, 29 March, 2021

Two Aussies among 40 women leading the way in AI innovation

As part of its annual Women Leaders in AI program, IBM has recognised 40 innovative female business leaders from 18 countries who are using IBM Watson to help drive transformation, growth and innovation across a range of industries.

This year’s honourees include women leaders from a variety of enterprises, including the City of Austin, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), and Ford Motor Company.

IBM created the Women Leaders in AI program in 2019, to help encourage increased diverse participation in the field and provide honourees with a network for shared learning. This year’s honourees demonstrate how efforts to advance natural language processing and automation and build responsible AI can be used to help organisations better predict outcomes, automate processes and drive new efficiencies.

Ritika Gunnar, Vice President (Expert Labs) of IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software, said that rising AI adoption will require diverse teams to help build and implement trustworthy AI that can help mitigate bias and deliver explainable outcomes.

“Today we are sharing the incredible stories of 40 women who are paving the way forward in AI for business and impacting how people work and live. Working with clients in an era of global workplace and workforce change, we see the need for women and diverse teams working at the forefront of AI,” said Gunnar.

The 40 leaders recognised in 2021 were selected based upon the ways they use AI as a transformation agent, to help drive results for their organisations and the employees, customers and citizens they serve.

Among the honourees recognised in 2021 is Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council, who used the IBM Watson Advertising Accelerator to help improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns that address pressing social issues.

Annie Shu, Manager of Strategy and Innovation at Westpac, was also recognised by IBM for leading the design and innovation of ‘Wendy’, a friendly digital coach that answers questions about job preparation. The friendly avatar uses IBM Watson’s natural language processing capabilities to help teenagers land their first jobs.

Poonam Verma, who oversees the DTCC’s critical cybersecurity services function, was recognised this year for implementing IBM services to help further advance the organisation’s cyber detection capabilities in global financial markets.

Manoela Morais, Chimka Munkhbayar and Helen Tsai were also recognised this year for using IBM Watson to create a solution called Agrolly that helps farmers plan crop production and minimise the risks posed by extreme weather conditions.

The Women Leaders in AI program also recognised Ekaterina Ostankova and her team at Lloyds Banking Group, who used IBM Watson to design and define a solution that enables customers to get support quickly during customer service calls.

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