Despite a general technology talent shortage (which is even more pronounced in the data science field), women hold only 26% of all STEM jobs. We were alarmed by these numbers and felt compelled to do something about it.
This past Tuesday (June 4th), we held an event at Galvanize Soho with three goals in mind.
First, we wanted to set up an environment where women who were new to data science, or thinking about entering the field, could gain experience working on a real world data project. To accomplish this, we set up an online Jupyter notebook environment for everyone, provided an interesting dataset, and gave participants prompts to get the analytical juices flowing.
Second, we wanted to connect these aspiring women with female mentors who currently work in the data science field — mentors who could collaborate with them on this mini-project and provide helpful career advice. The hope was this collaborative model would result in the start of brand new mentor-mentee relationships — which is also sorely lacking in the data science community.
Third, we wanted to launch Data Science for All — a new initiative aimed at fixing data science's diversity and inclusion problem. We've heard about this issue from clients, partners in academia, graduate and undergraduate students, and employees from various industries and experience levels.
So who were the mentors?
We reached out to some amazing women and got "mentor" commitments from an incredibly impressive group. The event's mentors included:
Sivan Gamliel - Director at Blackrock
Kristy Khoury - Operations Manager at Apollo
Rebecca Rodriguez - Project Manager at Correlation One
Stephanie Papes - CEO at Boulder Care
Yanhua Deng - Data Scientist at Point 72
We weren't sure if we were going to reach our goal of 20 mentees, but to our surprise, and without much marketing or advertising, we received 110+ mentee applicants. The mentee response, combined with the enthusiasm and willingness-to-help of our mentors, made it clear: connecting mentors and mentees, a hands-on data science project, and a collaborative environment is a winning formula.
Then? The 23 total participants were split into five groups. The data got crunched, some insights were teased out, and new relationships were created.
Incorporating Thought Leadership
After the work session, we handed the floor over to Deepali Vyas, Global Co-Head of FinTech & Global AI Practice Leader Senior Partner at KornFerry, who led a talk titled: "Writing Your Elevator Pitch".
The talk centered around best practices for managing one's personal brand. Deepali's session was extremely engaging and informative and culminated with one person from each cohort presenting their newly sculpted elevator pitch in front of the room. All of the pitches were extremely impressive and inspiring.
The event atmosphere
Accomplishing our goal of bringing mentors and mentees within the data science community together was one thing. But watching the collaboration, dialogue, and energy escalate during the event was why we really started DS4A in the first place.
It was inspiring to see the way a group of 25 women came together to collaborate and network with each other. Whether it was the initial small-talk at the table between mentor and mentee, the encouragement from everyone during elevator pitches, the relaxed environment, or the confident exchange of business cards at the end of the night, we knew we're on the road to building something special.
Want to get involved?
We're in the midst of planning the future of Data Science For All. If you would like to get involved in the meantime, or if you'd like to nominate a mentor or a mentee, please get in touch.
Let's work together to make sure the future of Data Science truly belongs to all!