Recent years have seen an emerging trend of big data and analytics becoming critical to support advancements in a vast majority of fields and businesses. These include research, industry, finance and human resources. Supporting diversity and inspiring growth in this challenging technological field, the Women in Big Data™ (WiBD) group for the EMEA Region continues to grow. To further the reach of this worldwide organization, following on from the launch of the WiBD Irish chapter, Intel hosted the first MeetUp event on May 23rd, 2018 at the Intel Leixlip site.
Despite the challenging heavy traffic on route to Leixlip, the after-work event saw active participation from a highly diverse group of women, both internal and external guests, ranging from varied backgrounds and career stages. About 30 attendees were present at the event, and quite a few women were not from highly-technical sectors but from Finance, Marketing and HR, where big data tools have become wide spread.
The agenda successfully focused on the technical aspects of big data, while also providing an interactive workshop with helpful tips and tricks on managing a successful career. This proved to be highly beneficial, as there was plenty of interesting information for all attendees.
The event began with a formal introduction from Astrid Elbe, Managing Director of Intel Labs Europe, with Jessica McCarthy, a senior researcher of the Intel Labs team, presenting an overview of the WiBD initiative and highlighting the need to involve more women in this technical field. As it was the first visit for many attendees to the Intel Ireland campus, Paula Williams, Communications Manager at Intel, took the opportunity to provide a site overview.
This was followed by two engaging technical sessions with data scientists Des McCann (Staff Engineer, Intel) and Sharon Ruane (Research Scientist, Intel Labs), both showing comprehensive demos with real-world scenarios and implications. Des delivered an insightful presentation on Recession and Recovery: Visualization of Central Statistics Office and Live Register Data. Sharon followed this with a fascinating talk on Convoluted Neural Networks with her presentation Rather Convoluted Networks.
Next on the agenda was an engaging coaching session jointly delivered by Alan McNally, Product Development Engineering Manager, and Ann-Marie Brooks, HR Business Partner and Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Owner at Intel. They provided food for thought on setting up a successful career and the importance of seeking out a mentor and sponsor. The session provided an opportunity for participants to collaborate, share and discuss career plans.
Finally, Radhika Loomba (Research Scientist, Intel Labs) closed the evening and invited everyone to have some refreshments and interact in the networking session.
The event proved to be a great start for the WiBD Irish chapter, with everyone looking forward to building the WiBD community and to the next meetup.