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Interview with Oxana Krymina

Women in Big Data

By Deborah Sgro,

May 20, 2024

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As our February to May 2024 mentoring programs, Emerging Technologist and Mentor in Tech International, near their conclusion, we reflect on the valuable journeys undertaken by numerous mentoring pairs, many of whom have successfully completed their engagements and earned their certification of completion. Among these accomplished mentors is Oxana Krymina who contributed her expertise to the Mentor in Tech International program. I had the pleasure of corresponding with her to discuss her career and mentoring experiences, and I’m thrilled to share her inspiring story with you.

(Deb) Oxana, many thanks for sharing your story with us, and most importantly for your recent contribution as a mentor.  Let’s start with you telling us about your current role and some key milestones or turning points in your career.

(Oxana) –  Deborah, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to you for this invitation. I am excited about our collaboration in the international program, and I hope this is just the beginning.
 I am a mathematician and data scientist, building machine learning models for actuarial calculations. In the past I owned a consulting business, then changed careers to strengthen hard skills in applied mathematics. Now I am in the process of relocating from Russia to Uruguay and launching an InsurTech startup for the global market: Modeling for volatile and fast-growing portfolios. I believe in horizontal connections and the power of mutual support.

(Deb) – Did you or do you now have a mentor, and how did that help your career development?

(Oxana) – I participated in this program in both roles: as a mentor and a mentee. It expresses well my idea to share and to grow expertise together, and I’ve found members who share this approach.

(Deb) – What motivated you to become a mentor?

(Oxana) –  I try to look at it in a somewhat selfish way: it should be a fair trade. I exchange expertise for experience: hard skill expertise in applied mathematics and modeling, my ability to translate business problems into the language of mathematical models and back again – in exchange for experience in explaining, empowering, and using them from different career positions. And at the same time, we both strengthen our professional social ties and broaden our horizons.

(Deb) – Kindly share a memorable experience or success story from your mentoring journey.

(Oxana) – The focus of my attention right now is impostor syndrome. I think a lot of people whose area of expertise is related to knowledge in a broad sense are subject to this syndrome, and I am too. It was hard for me to decide to speak up, because my expertise was limited to the local market – yes, yes, that’s an excuse, I know. Would I be able to be useful enough to my mentee? She turned out to be very self-organized and competent in building her skills, and in our interactions I learned to trust her choices. I was paying with “math” currency for the experience of building a portfolio of knowledge for a career. Now I will follow the development of her career with bated breath. And it turns out that “my” math is in demand globally, so it makes sense for me to talk about it. The imposter syndrome is not defeated, but it is silent.

(Deb) We extend our heartfelt appreciation to you, Oxana, and to all our mentors for their invaluable guidance and commitment to fostering growth and development within our community.  Thank you.

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