Women in AI: Danielle Hoffmann
As an Engagement Manager at IPsoft, Danielle Hoffmann supports clients and internal cognitive team members with deployments of IPsoft’s Amelia. She guides client implementation strategies and works to continually improve business processes and Amelia optimization.
Danielle’s career began as a business intelligence (BI) project coordinator at Sears Holdings. When she originally got the job, she was excited and intrigued by the possibilities of working with Big Data. She was also incredibly intimidated.
“I was hired as a contractor, and I thought I could learn a great deal from them,” Danielle says. “During my time there, I learned as much as I possibly could early on about BI. It was more than likely because I was so intimidated that it drove me to work really hard, long hours to absorb as much as I could.”
After more than four years learning about and applying skills toward Big Data and analytics projects, she moved on to become a Technical Operations Project Manager at GrubHub where she managed large scale infrastructure projects with multiple technology teams, including relocating the company’s data centers. After two years at GrubHub, she joined a start-up called Uptake where she worked with product and engineering teams to build a predictive analytics platform and interfaced directly with global customers.
“I originally had no intention to work in tech, but I found my way leading some of the most critical projects for amazing companies along the way,” she says. “I have always been interested in continuous learning and that’s how my career in tech took off – because I took a chance.”
In her various roles, Danielle says she has been successful because she’s not afraid to fail and welcomes feedback. If one is going to fail, she contends, one should do it quickly and apply any gained knowledge toward future successes. “Do a retrospective then quickly implement changes,” she says.
One thing she has learned is that she values emotional intelligence and building strong teams. Relationships can be valuable to one’s immediate and future success, Danielle says. “It takes one person to believe in you, and that one person can help you go the distance.”
Being a successful woman in a male-dominated industry isn’t as simple as finding one strong mentor. Danielle believes women in technology must be welcomed by businesses in order for the companies to get the most out of all of their employees.
“It’s about prioritizing diversity and inclusion, which needs to be truly incorporated in tech companies as a core value,” she explains. “We should be enabling women to have leadership positions in tech, so that young girls have someone in leadership to look up to and who can inspire them to reach for more. Women should be looking up to other women in the field because it will change the field for the better."
"We need more women to talk about their careers in STEM, explaining how people do not need to be a computer scientist to succeed in this field,” she says. “We have to start young and tell them they could do this and it’s not just for the boys.”