Who runs the world? Girls… in Tech
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the wonderful women who make our world (company) go ‘round. From all over the globe and representing diverse backgrounds and journeys, we want to show our love to some of our top TSC ladies.
Today’s Leading Lady? Kari Tamura Chua!
How long have you been working with TSC?
About 3 years.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned while working here?
There are many things, but there is one constant that has intrigued me from day one—the beauty and complexity of human languages. We build platforms to tackle global issues, where a large part involves analysing and processing data that needs to overcome the language barrier.I came wide-eyed into the AI/NLP/ML world, and soon realised that this world was only at the beginning stages of even understanding what language is to a machine, let alone to us. Even through this seemingly small but incredibly complex problem, we learn about cultures, brain structures, our environments, biases (and many others) and how that influences the way people process information.It has been a privilege to see the transformation of this technology inside and outside of TSC. We’ll get there soon.
What challenges (if any) do you face being a woman in your role?
As a woman, there is some general typecasting I have to address from time to time, however I am fortunate to work with a team that want to see women succeed. I work the closest with the development engineers. Building trust and credibility took some time. Women aren’t usually perceived as technical, and I am not naturally technical. Rather than trying to prove something that I am not, the authenticity to learn, share and co-build transcends gender biases.
How important do you think it is to have a diverse team when it comes to tackling complex issues?
For most things, that’s my #1 rule. Many times working in silos means not identifying other issues or solutions which may be interrelated, leading to the lack of the bigger picture, inefficiency, knowledge gaps, etc. Having diversity in backgrounds, culture, profession, industry and gender helps keep blind spots in check, fuel creativity and introduce new ways of working—and also allows more resource sharing to happen.
What would you say to other women who want to work in tech?
Approach it with as much conviction as you would for any other industry. Know what you want to learn (but be open), imagine what you can build, and continuously learn how to get there. Having a community of like-minded women (and men) can help you navigate your new role. Be unapologetically yourself, but if you feel uncomfortable, remember you can always introduce something new.
What personal or professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Seeing the evolution of Atium (our product) and the team from Day 1, when I was learning what the basic fields and buttons meant, to day 1000+ where we see millions of data points finally come to life with dynamic visualisations and dashboards that we thought we wouldn’t be able to do.
What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Stand up for what’s right. Stand by your word. Stand down to trust others.
What’s your favorite technology?
My constant has been the “Calm” app. Calms me down in any scenario.