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Traveling FromColorado, United States
Andrea Guendelman is a leading force in creating platforms for minority professionals and the tech industry. Through her own experiences as a Harvard-trained corporate lawyer and an entrepreneur, she co-created Wallbreakers – a solution to connect talented students from underrepresented backgrounds (including Latinx, African-American, and other underrepresented minorities) with companies hungry for talent and looking to build inclusive teams.
Previously, Andrea was the founder and force behind BeVisible, the first career social media platform for Latinx. As a Latina, she struggled to find her ambition and navigate the conflicting demands of her culture, as well as the stereotypes of U.S. culture. At the same time, she experienced the embrace of the Latina community and the power of networks.
Andrea grew up in Chile. The end of the Pinochet dictatorship awakened her generation of women to a world of career possibilities. When the country awoke, Chilean women faced the same opportunities and the same perils as women in the United States confronted a decade earlier. They faced traditional views on a woman’s role, families, spouses, and partners with their own demands and expectations, and discrimination and stereotyping. The most daunting challenge for them was the question that comes with new freedom: what do I expect of myself?
Seeking to escape the net of expectations created by others, Andrea went to the United States to study at Harvard Law School. She then worked as a corporate lawyer in New York and Washington, D.C. and became a mother. She had achieved the dream of becoming a successful attorney but she found it wasn’t necessarily her dream. Andrea wanted something more, and she wanted to give back to the community and to younger generations of aspiring Latinas.
Taking inspiration from her grandparents who were immigrants and entrepreneurs, she took the leap and prior to founding her startups, was active in everything from the formation of a tech community for women in 2012, to having an advisory position creating media strategy with the Boulder, Colorado-based National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Wallbreakers now helps recent and soon-to-be college graduates become well-rounded candidates, preparing them to enter the tech industry through training in tech skills, developing their soft skills, and job placement. In addition to her role at Wallbreakers, Andrea serves as a consultant for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Andrea Guendelman has received significant media exposure and is considered a thought leader in the topics of Latinx career building and creating diverse workforces.
Ethical AI: Why Try To Eliminate Bias In AI When You Can Use AI To Eliminate Bias?
Historically, companies have tended to blame their lack of diversity on a lack of minorities and women in the talent pipeline. With the advent of AI-driven hiring processes, bias has crept into the filtering process, creating a huge disparity in the opportunities available to candidates – especially affecting candidates of diverse and underrepresented groups.
Companies are now paying more attention and some are trying to address that problem. Apple recently pledged $100 million to President Obama’s ConnectED initiative to bring cutting-edge technologies to economically disadvantaged schools. But a lack of resources, while troubling, is not the root cause of the lack of diversity in the pipeline. Janice Cuny, who directs the Computer Education program at the National Science Foundation, says African-American and Latinx computer science graduates are invisible to these companies – “There are these subtle biases that make you think that some person is not what you’re looking for, even when they are.”
In this talk, Andrea dives deep into the problems with current AI and goes further with the solutions and ways tech employers can use smart tech to eliminate unconscious bias.
The Mark of Inclusive Leaders
How do leaders develop inclusive systems of promotions and values within their teams? Andrea dives deeper into this question and shares tactical steps to make it happen.