On the 31st of March, the last day of the International Women’s Month, the Global Startup Ecosystem hosted ‘Her Future Summit’ the world’s largest virtual conference targeted at the next generation of female tech leaders and innovators.
The Her Future Summit was originally scheduled to take place in 7 international tech hubs around the world throughout the month of March. The cities include:
- Accra (Ghana)
- London (UK)
- Dubai (UAE)
- Port-au-Prince (Haiti)
- Washington DC, Silicon Valley & New York (USA)
However, due to the current pandemic (COVID 19), the organizers reformatted the program taking it online. The change allowed for more accessibility. Applicants who live in countries that were not previously selected were now able to host segments of the summit. Delegates hailed from The Gambia, Nigeria, Finland, and Brazil contributing to the diversity of the programme.
The momentous virtual event united more than 100 thought leaders, speakers & stakeholders and over 1,000 digital participants from all around the world. The conversations focused on trends in tech, how to scale a start-up and how to mitigate business challenges during uncertain times. As you could imagine the Q&A and the debates in the chat were lively.
“Our new normal is digital, global and diverse” – Dr Lisa Coleman
The Senior VP for Global Inclusion and Strategic Innovation & Chief Diversity Officer at (NYU) New York University. During her presentation on “ Innovating for our Future: Generations, Digitization & Our New Normal”
The summit saw leading organizations and pioneering leaders across various sectors step upon an unprecedented scale to share a wealth of information and knowledge. Presentations were given by women leaders from LinkedIn, MasterCard, United Nations, and New York University to name a few.
While there were several exceptional presentations given throughout the 12-hour program, the two key themes/presentation that that stood out to me were:
- Personal Branding Strategies for a digital presence
- The importance of diversity and inclusion in tackling Artificial Intelligence Biases
- What not to do when seeking funding
Personal Branding Strategies for a Digital Presence
“Every photo that you put out there is a part of your branding” – Christine Ntim, Chief Marketing Officer of the Global Startup Ecosystem
Christine Ntim, the Chief Marketing Officer of the Global Startup Ecosystem, shared the three levels of personal branding, which she called ‘REP’. REP stands for reputation, exclusive positioning & public popularity.
- Reputation: The first level of Christen’s branding philosophy is your reputation. By reputation, she referred to how you are known in your professional circles and what is shared with you through word of mouth and your digital footprint (i.e LinkedIn and other social media handles).
- Exclusive Positioning: The second level, Exclusive Positioning focuses on your centralizing and packaging. To reach the second level of personal branding Christien shared that you should focus on a key topic i.e “the role of AI in finance” and provide useful information around it.
- Public Popularity: The final and third level of branding Christine shared was ‘Public Popularity’, which is acquired through thought leadership, speaking at conferences and the like.
Addressing Human Biases In Google’s Algorithms
Google, which has the most powerful text-generating AI models and is a company that is generally seen as a forerunner with the commercial use of AI, faced significant backlash. Machine-learning systems learn from books, articles and web pages that are created by humans. As a result, the algorithm Google produces can be laced with various social and cultural biases. This led Jacky Alcine, a software engineer, to question Google’s image recognition algorithm in Google Photos for classifying his black friend under “gorillas”.
Google’s Global Outreach Lead, X. Eyeé – Responsible for innovation at Google AI, took the opportunity to address Google’s shortcomings and present solutions. She shared what Google’s algorithm has resulted in:
X. Eyeé also went to share what Google is currently working on to address the challenges they have faced.
According to her Google’s AI team is currently working on:
- Avoiding creating or reinforcing unfair biases
- Incorporating privacy design and principles
- Upholding high standards of scientific excellence
- Be accountable to people
While Google is far from perfect, it was great to hear and see that they are constantly taking on board feedback and have dedicated a team to make their AI processes more diverse and inclusive.
The Her Future Summit was a great opportunity for women interested in tech and business to get an opportunity to learn, build connections and networks with key stakeholders around the world. More importantly the wide-range of topics that were covered allowed participants to engage with something that resonated with them and to gain practical skills they can apply in their area of work.