We are the women in AI—the women who are at the forefront of transformation. We look at challenges from a different angle, drive innovation with impact, and are passionate about AI that champions diversity and fairness. We are the women in AI—but we represent only 26% of data and AI positions in the workforce1. There should be more of us. If you are in AI today, let us help you grow. If not, come and join us.
Payal Agarwal started her career as an accountant and soon after, she began thinking about how to improve the way accounting is done. She discovered her interest in AI a decade ago when she returned from family leave. It was then that she decided to follow her passion and reskill herself to pursue a career in technology, with a mission to transform accounting and risk management.
Since then, she has been on a journey—from accounting, to IT risk assessments and finally to data analytics—always seeking to improve and to retool herself with the skill set required to stay ahead of the curve. “If you see my career journey, every five to seven years I have moved or reinvented myself and got to know the latest technologies,” Payal says. Today, Payal is a partner at Deloitte India and leads the Risk Analytics practice within Risk Advisory, helping clients solve their problems and supporting them on their transformative journey by leveraging AI and advanced analytics. In particular, she focuses on big data processing by creating ecosystems and environments, through machine-learning models, to provide better risk insights and improve decision-making for clients and communities.
The rapidly changing technology landscape, to which AI is making a central contribution, is what motivates and excites Payal. “I think my favorite part about artificial intelligence is that the era of the fourth industrial revolution will be characterised by acceleration of key megatrends.” She adds that acceleration is enabled through innovation in the physical and digital worlds and fueled by the exponential growth in processing power. The momentum and the opportunity to face new challenges every day is one of the most rewarding aspects of Payal’s daily work: “My favourite part is the constant challenge. You need to be curious enough to understand how technology is transforming on a day-to-day basis and how that transformation in technology is transforming the business environment of a client. And to be relevant to a client, it’s very important that you unlearn and re-learn on a daily basis.”
Diversity and inclusion are hugely important in the world of AI, Payal believes. She explains: “One of the major concerns worldwide is: Are all the AI applications which are currently being built responsible from the framework perspective? Are they ethical, are they non-biased? And one of the important criteria to create a responsible AI is that gender, among other things, should be equally represented.”
She encourages women to join the AI industry and says it is a great place to start a career. She says three components are beneficial to those starting out: “Firstly, start coding. It’s very important. Coding at a very early stage really helps you to understand. And be curious! Curiosity to understand the data and the required output is very important. Finally, connect the dots: Connect digital resources to the non-digital world, connect problems to new solutions. Help us shape the future with AI.”