Launching WiBD’s Israeli Chapter

By Itai Yaffe, Women in Big Data Israel Chapter Director

Our Welcome banner

This is how we celebrated the launch of the WiBD Israeli chapter!

  • Over 50 attendees (mostly women but not only) from various companies, domains and positions.
  • Two great talks about AI (watch them on our YouTube channel if you speak Hebrew…)
  • A roundtables’ session of various data-related topics
  • Very cool WiBD branding (including WiBD laptop stickers)
  • Excellent food and drinks
  • And much more…

But let’s go back in time a bit, and see how we got to this awesome event.

Getting to know Women in Big Data

Last October I attended Spark+AI Summit Europe 2018, organized by Databricks (who’s also sponsoring WiBD), I had a chance to take part in a Women in Big Data session, led by Tina Rosario (WiBD EMEA region lead). As someone who has been in the Big Data field for a few years, it was the first time I heard about WiBD, and I quickly understood that we should take part in this program. Shortly after getting back home, I gathered the female members of our Big Data group (thank you Dana, Etti, Or, Orit and Simona!), and we brainstormed about what we should do and what are our next steps were going to be.

We decided to start-off with a meetup targeting professionals from various positions within the tech industry.

Building the Israeli core and setting the base for our first event

With that direction in mind, Liat Amidan Man (our HRBP at Nielsen Marketing Cloud) contacted Tina and Marina Alekseeva, and together with Tiferet Kronfeld (Marina’s colleague from Intel Israel) and Nufar Gaspar (also from Intel Israel), we formed the core team of the Israeli chapter.

Liat’s opening notes

It took some time for the four of us (Liat, Tiferet, Nufar and myself) to discuss and finalize the details of our first event—and there were plenty of details, starting from the structure of the meetup (e.g., presentations only? Perhaps a panel of relevant professionals as well?), through the branding of the event (how can we reach the most relevant people?), all the way to date and location (e.g., would 8PM-11PM be a more convenient time of day for our target audience versus the common 6PM-9PM?).

Finally, we set the date – May 30th, 2019, and the location – Nielsen Marketing Cloud Israeli office.

L. to R.: Itai, Nufar, and Liat

Recruiting the expanded team

Among other things, we knew we wanted to have a session of roundtables, so we set out to recruit professional women in relevant positions, both to speak at the event and to moderate the discussions. Reaching out to friends across the industry, we managed to assemble a line of ten great speakers and moderators willing to volunteer and contribute their time and effort to make the evening a success!

Getting ready (and getting excited…)

As the due date of the first event was getting closer, so did our excitement… We created our own meetup group and invested a lot of effort on both spreading the word on various channels, social networks, etc., and preparing the logistics behind the event.

Finally – it was time to launch!

After weeks of discussing and planning, the date has arrived. We were all anxious. How many people would actually show up? How wouldthe evening go? What feedback were we going to get?

Nufar speaks on AI

As mentioned above, we had over 50 attendees, and after enjoying the delicious food and drinks, we were good to go. Liat started off with some opening notes, followed by a great talk by Nufar about a practical overview of AI today (video recording – Hebrew).
Nufar talked about the differences between AI, ML & DL, about some exciting usages of AI, and about the current challenges this domain faces today (and ways to mitigate them).

Chen on AI in practice

 

The second talk, by Chen Admati from Intel, covered AI in practice and how we help cure diseases using Big Data and AI (video recording – Hebrew).

Chen talked about how the healthcare industry is changing and how Intel’s Pharma Analytics Platform can help the pharma industry to move faster, producing better products with reduced costs.

She also mentioned a few challenges they were facing, from the gaps between agile tech companies and large pharma companies, through validation, and all the way to user experience.

After a short break, we sat down for the roundtables’ session, moderated by Nufar Gaspar, Ortal Waisbart, Reut Apel, Etti Gur, Simona Meriam, Adi Nesher, Amit Weil, Shir Bromberg and Yaeli Cohen.

Post-event and future plans

I’m glad to say we got very positive feedback, both verbally and through a written survey we handed out at the event. Of course, not everything went as expected, but going forward we’ll definitely learn and improve.

The core team has already started internal discussions about our future plans, including some interesting ideas, such as building a social placement network to help improve “match-making” between candidates and employers with regards to WiBD.

Thanks and summary

Many thanks to our first meetup speakers and moderators – Chen, Nufar, Ortal, Reut, Etti, Simona, Adi, Amit, Shir and Yaeli!!! We’d also like to thank Nielsen Marketing Cloud HR & administration team for making it possible: Liora Davidov, Ortal Karas and Michal Zarfaty! Check out the video recordings from both talks on our YouTube channel and visit our meetup group.

We’re extremely proud to be able to take part in this very important program, and we invite you all (regardless of gender) to join us!

Thank you,

Itai Yaffe (on behalf of Israel’s chapter core team)

P.S – Contribute to WiBD by increasing awareness

Speaking at a local meetup? Presenting at an international conference? Now you too can contribute to WiBD by making people aware of this program! Simply add a slide to your presentation with a few details about WiBD and a link to the website, just like we did throughout this year. Here are just a couple of examples:

Tiferet’s talk from WE Local Europe conference (Berlin, May 2019)

 

Itai’s talk from Strata Data Conference (London, May 2019, photo by Kim Warren)

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