Celebrating Tech Trailblazers for Women's History Month, with Riham Satti and #Buildfor2030
Published Mar 20 2024 05:07 AM 1,154 Views
Microsoft

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As part of the Microsoft #BuildFor2030 Initiative, which aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we are committed to showcasing solutions that drive meaningful societal impact and spotlighting our partners' growth stories on the marketplace. In celebration of International Women's Day and Women's History Month this year, I had the privilege of speaking with Riham Satti, Co-Founder and CEO of MeVitae, to learn about her journey as a partner.

About Gena: Gena Goh is the Partner Advisory & Inclusive Growth Senior Strategy Lead with the Global Partner Solutions business at Microsoft. She focuses on developing strategies that elevate the voice of partner and enable partners to innovate and build solutions toward a more inclusive economy, including leading the Microsoft #BuildFor2030 Initiative. Gena is also a professionally trained co-active coach and enjoys helping people and organizations chart new paths to purpose and impact.

 

About Riham: Riham Satti is a keynote international speaker, neuroscientist, and entrepreneur, serving as the co-founder of MeVitae. Alongside her work at MeVitae, she contributes to various initiatives, such as being a member of the TechUK Diversity and Skills Council and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs through the London Business School entrepreneurship course. Her academic journey includes an MSc(Res) in Clinical Neuroscience from the University of Oxford and an MEng in Biomedical Engineering from Imperial College London.

 

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[GG]: Tell us about MeVitae and your mission. What inspired the founding?

[RS]: Founded in 2014, MeVitae is a deep tech scale up on a mission to create fairness in the workplace. MeVitae was founded in 2014 by myself and Vivek Doraiswamy, during our studies in clinical neuroscience and computer science at Oxford University. While at Oxford, I delved into the realm of human decision-making, with a particular interest in cognitive bias. Through our personal research, we came to a significant realization: biases heavily influenced crucial decisions made daily in the workplace, such as those pertaining to hiring and promotion. Surprisingly, little attention was being given to address this pressing issue. As natural problem solvers, Vivek and I were on a mission to change this, combining our unique backgrounds to tackle bias from an AI ethics and Neuroscience perspective, giving rise to MeVitae. Today, MeVitae offers an extensive suite of innovative DE&I solutions aimed at mitigating cognitive and algorithmic bias in the workplace.

 

[GG]:  Can you tell us a bit about the application(s) you have available on the marketplace? How does it work? 

[RS]: MeVitae offers a range of innovative applications designed to foster fairness in the hiring process. One such application available on the Microsoft Marketplace is our blind recruiting/CV anonymization tool. This tool can automatically detect and redact over 20 protected characteristic parameters, including gender, ethnicity, and university name, from applicant documents such as cover letters and CVs. By removing these identifiers, hiring managers and recruiters can focus solely on candidates' skills and experiences that predict performance, without bias. What makes our tool stand out is its efficiency - it can redact hundreds of documents in seconds, regardless of the format (PDF, docx), while preserving the original document layout. Furthermore, our tool seamlessly integrates with a company's Applicant Tracking System (ATS), facilitating a smooth and streamlined recruitment process. MeVitae currently integrates with over 20 of the world's leading ATS platforms, including Oracle Taleo, Greenhouse, and SmartRecruiters, ensuring compatibility and ease of use for our clients. Our CV anonymization tool has proven instrumental in enabling clients to attract and hire a significantly more diverse pool of candidates.

You can learn more here: Microsoft Azure Marketplace

 

[GG]:  AI is top of mind for all of us. How is MeVitae leveraging or planning to leverage AI in app development? 

[RS]: MeVitae utilizes AI technology across various aspects of our platform. We leverage Azure OpenAI's GPT-3.5/4 for parsing assistance, enhancing the efficiency of data processing. Additionally, we are actively developing a chatbot by building our own local GPTs for our analytics suite engine, enabling seamless interaction and access to insights. Our platform also incorporates computer vision models tailored for identifying different sections within resumes, streamlining the document analysis process. Furthermore, our rigorous Named Entity Recognition (NER transformer models) training involves the labelling of entities such as organizations, ensuring accuracy and fairness. It's worth noting that our AI systems undergo stringent fairness audits, verified by the ICO, before deployment, ensuring ethical and unbiased use of technology.

 

[GG]:  How does MeVitae align its business to enabling positive impact for your customers and communities? 

[RS]: MeVitae's software seamlessly integrates with various systems, including ATS, CRM, and HCM, to aggregate workforce data, providing valuable insights into the challenges organizations encounter in their DE&I initiatives. Leveraging this data, we can then recommend tools from a diverse array of solutions, such as blind recruiting, to address disparities in success rates and ensure fairness in the hiring process. MeVitae serves a diverse clientele worldwide, spanning across all sectors, including technology, nonprofit, and notably, the public sector where the majority of our clients are situated. With organizations like Hogarth Worldwide, Southern Company, High Speed 2 and Transport for London among our clients, MeVitae's pioneering solutions have consistently delivered tangible results. Namely, we have received reports from clients of a 30% increase in diversity as well as a doubling of the applicant pool.

 

[GG]:  MeVitae is a part of Microsoft’s Entrepreneurship for Positive Impact, supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). How does being a part of this program align with the values and mission of your company?

[RS]: MeVitae's participation in Microsoft's Entrepreneurship for Positive Impact program resonates deeply with our company's core values and mission. At MeVitae, we are dedicated to harnessing the power of technology and innovation to drive meaningful social change and tackle the pressing issues outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As a participant in this program, we are particularly focused on addressing gender equality and reducing broader societal inequalities through our innovative solutions.

 

[GG]:  What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

[RS]:  Women's History Month provides a valuable opportunity to celebrate the resilience, achievements, and ongoing journey of women worldwide, recognising their indispensable contributions to all aspects of society. This month serves as a time to reflect on the progress made in gender equality while acknowledging the work that still needs to be done. Engaging in these challenging conversations is essential for driving meaningful change. For instance, between 2018 and 2022, the number of new companies in the UK launched by women doubled to 150,000, with female-led companies making up 20% of businesses in the UK, which is great to see. However, despite this growth, disparities persist, as just 3.5% of equity investment for the first half of 2023 went to female-led businesses. By highlighting these disparities, International Women's Day encourages governments, organizations, and investors to take concrete actions to address the systemic barriers that hinder women from securing adequate funding for their ventures.

 

[GG]:  What advice do you have for women founders and leaders who are considering or want to grow their skills and careers in the tech industry?

[RS]:  For women founders and leaders aspiring to grow their skills and careers in the tech industry, here are some valuable pieces of advice based on my own experiences:

  • Embrace Failure: Remember that "FAIL" stands for "First Attempt In Learning." Don't let the fear of failure hold you back. Starting a business means embarking on a continuous learning journey, where setbacks are inevitable but serve as valuable lessons.
  • Develop Resilience: In the tech industry, rejection is common, whether it's losing a sales deal or facing investors' rejections. It's essential to develop a thick skin and not take rejection personally. I've learned to bounce back from setbacks by focusing on the lessons learned rather than dwelling on the negative.
  • Cultivate Connections: Building a strong network is crucial for mentoring, networking, raising funding, hiring, and more. Recognize the importance of "who you know" and leverage your network for support and opportunities.
  • Master Storytelling: Effective communication is key in the tech industry. Learn to articulate your business's story in a compelling way that resonates with others. Whether pitching to investors or speaking at events, hone your storytelling skills to convey confidence and credibility.

[GG]:  What are you most proud of in your journey building/leading MeVitae? What’s next?

[RS]:  What I'm most proud of in my journey building and leading MeVitae is undeniably the remarkable team we've assembled. Our team comprises exceptionally talented, innovative, hardworking, and thoughtful individuals who continuously push boundaries and think outside the box. There's an incredible bond among us, and everyone shares a deep passion and enthusiasm for diversity, equity, and inclusion, making work a genuine pleasure. With such an exceptional team at its core, MeVitae's foundation is strong, enabling us to continually strive for excellence and reach new heights. As for what's next, we're excited to scale our operations in the US by establishing an office there and expanding our team internationally.

 

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