Powering Up Women in Tech

Asha talks about how empowering women in tech means including male allies, investing in a simple user experience for improved adoption rates, and how to earn trust in data.
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Asha Saxena is a board member, CEO, and strategic, innovative leader with a proven track record of building successful tech businesses for the last 25 years. She is also a CEO Coach with CEOCI, as well as a Board Advisor and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. She teaches graduate classes on Management Consulting, Entrepreneurship and Big Data Analytics. She has served a four-year term as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Columbia Business School.

This episode features an interview with Asha Saxena, Founder and CEO of Women Leaders in Data and AI. She has 25 years of experience building successful tech businesses. She also serves as a CEO Coach working with women in tech, and she’s an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, teaching enterprise strategy and data strategy. In this episode, Asha talks about how empowering women in tech means including male allies, investing in a simple user experience for improved adoption rates, and how to earn trust in data.


*”My son asked, ‘Mom, you seem to be doing these multiple things. Where do you really truly get the satisfaction? Why don’t you do something or build something for people like you?’ And I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘Women in tech or women in data. Have you done anything for that?’ And [at] first I got offended and I was like, ‘What do you mean women? Are you putting me in a box? I’m a professional.’ All my life, I worked really hard for my worth. And I don’t think my worth should be just boxed by my gender. [But] it’s not about boxing, it’s more [about] owning it. You can own that you’re a woman in tech and there’re not too many women. And women have challenges because they don’t have enough role models on the top.” 

*”You must have heard about the financial services companies who did this experiment. An algorithm for the high positions – the C-level positions – rejected women’s resumes because the data didn’t show that there were enough women [who] could succeed in that position. Because there [were] no women hired in the past. So we don’t have enough data, we don’t have diverse data, and we don’t have women on the top who can help create that change. So what do you do about that?”

*“What happens to the women who are on the top and don’t have role models? What happens to women who are VP level or C level who don’t have [a] peer group? And what happens to the environment? Is the environment ready? I tell you within our organization, I see so many women who are leaving their organization because they get on the top and they realize that the top is not ready for them.”

Time Stamps

*[4:59] How algorithms become sexist

*[7:04] How to support women in positions of power

*[12:41] Why support from men is important

*[16:28] Facilitating change through simple steps

*[19:32] Building trust in data

*[25:50] Tips to develop a data strategy

*[28:49] Supporting engineers in developing a data strategy

*[35:12] How Asha Saxena uses data to make difficult decisions

*[38:46] Advice for data leaders


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