Acquiring a car for the first time dramatically open up new possibilities for a person’s home and work lives. Similarly, implementing an advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution like Amelia presents a range of potential benefits for an enterprise. But just like buying a car, AI won’t actually do anything unless you learn how to “drive it” first. That’s why IPsoft’s Global Training and Development (GTD) team is an invaluable resource for our employees, customers and partners.
The GTD team is responsible with providing all the educational resources users need to understand, implement and succeed with IPsoft’s industry-leading solutions. The team is headed by Director of Training Carol Guzzo, whom we profile here as part of “Real Women Behind Amelia,” our ongoing series that highlights our standout colleagues who are helping to deliver the future of enterprise AI. In this wide-ranging conversation, we talked with Carol about how her team develops coursework, the career journey that brought her to IPsoft and the key to bringing more women into STEM positions.
Tell us about your role at IPsoft.
[IPsoft CEO Chetan Dube’s] initial charter was to create world-class training and certification programs, so that is the overall goal. Additionally, I see my role as developing a culture of learning here at IPsoft and educating a global audience on IPsoft products, which assists in their success. I see it as a never-ending role — just like learning is a continuous pursuit, my job to implement training programs and to train our employees, clients and partners is continuous.
What was your career path that led you to IPsoft?
I’ve always been in training and development — with a few years spent in sales and marketing. All with software companies of different sizes, the largest probably being Citrix. I have experience with just about everything related to training including developing curriculum, teaching courses and managing departments. There’s a lot of experience I draw from in managing the team and setting the direction.
How many people are on the Global Training and Development (GTD) team in total?
We have five here in NY, three in Bangalore and one in Amsterdam. Then we have a “part-time training team” as I call them — they’re folks in other departments who train for us as their time allows. We consider them members of the team because they share the same goals of educating our employees and clients with their expertise. The core team consists of trainers, instructional designers (ID), course developers, program managers and a training manager. They embody the true meaning of teamwork. Everyone is very supportive of each other.
When it comes to training clients, would it be correct to say that your students are mostly from the engineering side?
Mostly engineer level, although with Amelia, we’ve moved toward training other roles including business analysts, consultants, project managers and management positions.
Amelia is about two-and-a-half years old now. Did your team have courses ready to go as soon as she was released?
It’s interesting how it happened simultaneously. When Amelia was released, we enlisted the R&D team and some of the SMEs to conduct part of the training sessions. If we had a three-day session, we would line-up four or five different presenters to speak to their area of specialty. I think the first two or three Amelia classes were conducted that way. You can imagine it gets a little crazy having five, six speakers coming in and out of a class, but it worked. Those were the people who had all the knowledge at the time, so that’s what we had to do until we hired a full-time trainer.
How do you go about designing coursework?
I’ll give you an example of a course that we’re developing right now. We’re working on an advanced Amelia class. The reason we’re developing it is because of the feedback we kept receiving from certain students who wanted to learn more and dive deeper, and who wanted to spend more than four days doing that.
So Brian [Kuchta], who is the instructor and also the developer for Amelia courses, along with Mary [Whitner] who leads ID, and I discussed what an advanced Amelia course should be. We fleshed out what the students were looking for and what we were looking to achieve. And now Brian’s working on creating an outline that will logically breakdown the introductory course (Amelia Enablement) and the new advanced coursework.
I imagine there’s a similar process with some of the 1Desk content your team is developing.
Yes. We’re working very closely with the SMEs right now and R&D to collect as much information as we can. We’re working with the documentation folks, and just doing a great knowledge share. We have a couple of instructional designers sifting through all that material. They’re learning 1Desk on their own, they’re watching recordings and R&D demos. They’re working through it and then developing a training PowerPoint presentation and instructor notes to go along with it.
How many classes does your team conduct throughout the year?
For Amelia classes in 2018 so far, we’ve trained 350 client students, 138 partner students, and 145 employee students. To date that’s a total of more than 1,200 students.
What do you like best about working at IPsoft?
I love the opportunities. The opportunities are endless. I feel like I can draw on my experience and my resourcefulness to meet our company’s goals.
Do you think Amelia will ever teach classes?
Yes. I can foresee Amelia providing instruction to students within the application in an interactive format and becoming a narrator for eLearning.
How do we get more women in STEM fields?
I’ve always had very positive influences and role models in my career. So from the beginning, I’ve felt like I could do anything as a woman in technology. When I entered the workforce, my first manager, Director and VP were all women. I think from early on, I saw that being a woman in technology was not a barrier. That just set me on a path to define my own career. One way to get more women in STEM careers is to be an example to them and a mentor.
Five Fast Fun Facts
What is your favorite depiction of AI from science fiction?
Earlier robots like the one from Lost in Space and droids from the Star Wars movies.
Name a technology you’ve recently come in contact with that made you think, “Wow, I’m really living in the future.”
The Apple Watch.
Name a notable real-life scientist/engineer/innovator whose contributions inspired you.
I love Albert Einstein for who he was and what he accomplished. The eccentric professor. I was also influenced by the early astronauts and their drive to discover beyond boundaries. Their commitment to the goals of the space program were unbelievable. More recently I was very inspired by our DWS (Digital Workforce Summit) speaker Max Tegmark.
A thing your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you.
I wanted to be the first teacher in space. When I was in elementary school I wrote a letter to NASA asking if I could be. They never replied.
Your last meal would be?
Lobster, pasta and champagne.