Women in the AI Industry

Hosted By Lauren Conaway

InnovateHER KC

See All Episodes With Lauren Conaway

Rashmi Bhambhani

Today's Guest: Rashmi Bhambhani

COO - Summatti

Waterloo, Ontario

Ep. #794 - Women in the AI Industry

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway hosts Rashmi Bhambhani, COO of Summatti. They talk about starting up in today’s AI industry. Join Lauren and Rashmi as they discuss the challenges of being a woman and a non-technical entrepreneur in the AI industry.

Covered In This Episode

How do you succeed in the AI industry as a non-technical person? Lauren and Rashmi discuss applying creativity in the technical world of AI.

AI has been around for more than a decade. Yet, people are still figuring it out. Hear how Summatti use its technical expertise and creativity in applying AI to customer support.

Get Started with Full Scale

Join their conversation in this Startup Hustle episode.

Hear What Entrepreneurs Have to Say in Startup Hustle Podcast


  • Rashmi Bhambhani’s journey (2:13)
  • From marketing to AI (3:20)
  • Creativity in AI (3:40)
  • Summatti (6:44)
  • Challenges women face in the tech/AI industry (12:22)
  • Strengths of women in the tech/AI industry (16:23)
  • Importance of representation and diversity in technology (17:45)
  • Getting out of the comfort zone to do more as a COO (25:31)
  • Importance of enjoying what you do (36:19)
  • AI is here to stay (37:50)
  • Rashmi’s heroes (39:24)
  • Wrapping up (40:25)

Key Quotes

Yes, it would be maybe the best of the best technology in the background, but how a business or how our customers actually use the product would be completely different. And that’s what I think makes a tech really unique. It’s not about just coding the technology in the background, but it’s actually how creatively you can make it something that’s user-friendly.

Rashmi Bhambhani

I only have one thing: be ready for a great time, try to enjoy it for sure. You wanted to step in, do it? Like just like what we said, you have to go figure it out. There’s a lot of unknown, but have fun doing it. Because the reality is, nobody has figured it out. It’s not that AI has existed for 50 years. And it’s all said and done. No, people are still figuring things out. So you’re good.

Rashmi Bhambhani

I think that entrepreneurs and developers have a lot of commonalities in the way that they think like, this obstacle that you see before you… It’s an opportunity. It’s something to overcome, rather than something to like, I don’t know, stand in your way and keep you from progressing.

Lauren Conaway

Sponsor Highlight

Technology can be a world of vast and hard-to-grasp ideas. Welcome to Compiler, where they demystify the tech industry one podcast at a time. Compiler brings Red Hat’s technical expertise to break down small, large, and emerging technological ideas.

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Lauren Conaway 0:01
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHER KC. And I gotta tell you. We have a super, super exciting episode sponsor, folks. I don’t know if you clearly if you’re listening right now. You like podcasts, and you find that they’re a really, really good way to get information. Well, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Compiler. This is an original podcast from Red Hat, and they discuss tech topics. Big small, strange, really interesting, you know, I had the privilege of looking over and listening to a couple of other episodes, and they’re talking about like, really, really unique stuff that you don’t hear in the standard tech podcast space. So I’m just super, super excited to continue giving them a listen and definitely recommend that you do so as well. They’re going to be unraveling industry topics, trends, and things that you’ve always wanted to know. They interview people who know it the best. They’re really, really great. They’re fantastic, actually, at curating talent for this show. You can definitely learn more about Compiler at redhat.com or click the link in our show notes. So today we have with us I gotta tell you, I’m sure that many many of you know the folks who listened to my episodes on a regular basis, you know that I am what I call a stem earnest. I did not come up with that term, but it very, very accurate accurately describes my love for women in STEM. And so today we have with us, Rashmi Bhambhani. She is the CEO of Summatti. And we’re going to be talking about AI. And we’re going to be talking about some really deep tech opportunities and products. And we’re going to be talking about women in STEM. And so I am just I am so thrilled to have you with us, Rashmi, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us.

Rashmi Bhambhani 1:56
Hey, thanks, Lauren, for having me on the podcast. Pretty excited about it. Thank you.

Lauren Conaway 2:00
Yeah. All right. Well, I am so glad to hear it. And let’s just dive right in, my friend. So I’m gonna ask you, here we go. Here’s our kickoff question. Tell us about your journey.

Rashmi Bhambhani 2:13
Wow, where do I start? So um, you know, I grew up in the Middle East and Dubai. And then I moved to Canada. So I’m talking from True North Canada 15 years ago, but I was never in tech. Initially, I started in what sales, marketing, and marketing has been my love for most of my life, more on the business side of things. And then a few years later, like a few years earlier, actually, I got an opportunity to found the startup. And I couldn’t say no, because it was such a great problem that we were solving, and that’s why I moved from business or sales to be one of the co-founders at an AI company, which, if you would have asked me ten years ago, would you do that? I would have said absolutely not.

Lauren Conaway 3:03
So is there I gotta ask because so I also have a marketing background. Was there a little bit of culture shock going from this kind of creative and, well, what I would consider a creative environment and then going to something that is just so deep tech?

Rashmi Bhambhani 3:20
Oh, you know, what’s interesting, I thought I would have a culture shock. It was a culture shock. Because what I found was that I had impostor syndrome for sure. Where everyone was smarter than me, everyone.

Lauren Conaway 3:37
But continue.

Rashmi Bhambhani 3:40
Yeah, so I definitely felt that initially, but what I found was, you know, tech needs the creative side. We could have, like, you know, without me and you know, without some of the other founders who come from creative backgrounds, the tech would be a simple tech. Yes, it would be maybe the best of the best technology in the background, but how a business or how our customers actually use the product would be completely different. And that’s what I think makes a tech really unique. It’s not about just coding the technology in the background, but it’s actually how creatively you can make it something that’s user-friendly. Like, I mean, you know, I, we use all these different tools, right? Like, I’ve used Slack or another company, we use Slack a lot. It’s not the first messenger company, but it just did it so well for businesses that we use it. Yeah. So I think we need the other side, you know, the left or the right side of the brains need to work together.

Lauren Conaway 4:37
Absolutely. Well, and so here in the States and I would imagine probably Canada, we have this concept of STEAM. You know, we talked about STEM for so long. We had science, technology, engineering mathematics, but then they introduced this A, which stands for the Arts because there’s this understanding that often the two sides inform one another there. And it’s really important to encourage learning and encourage engagement around all of those things together so that we can get a clearer picture. Right. And I love that I love that people are taking a holistic approach to to some of these, some of these topics that we have historically kept very separate. So that is super cool. And I just love that you’ve reached a point where you’re owning your experience, right? How’s that impostor syndrome going?

Rashmi Bhambhani 5:31
Oh, it’d be I’d have to kick that out of me very soon. Because there’s, you met entrepreneurship. The other thing that happens even as an entrepreneur, like, can you actually do this? So a whole different game? Right? Definitely learning quickly. And having a great team around me who supported me all throughout this journey has been very helpful. But, yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, you’re right about that steam, like, I want to touch a little bit on it. I remember when, you know, earlier, it was all about STEM. And someone told me now that, you know, people are talking about STEAM, which was a few years ago, and I’m like, you know, that is it. That’s what we always missed. Like, it’s not only about the engineering concepts, it’s about how the application works. And you need to have that art, or you need to have that left in the right side brain that needs to work together.

Lauren Conaway 6:20
Yeah, I love that. It’s like, you know, it’s kind of the flip side of the coin. Like, these are all really one thing, even though they’re the it’s like, then the mission is the same, but the tactics are different. And I dig that so much. Well, so So talk to us a little bit about Summatti. Can you give us kind of a high-level explanation of exactly what you do?

Rashmi Bhambhani 6:44
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, a simple example is, think of any time you have had a customer support issue. Like with any tools that you use any, you know, many of us have Apple products, or think of if you run into an issue with your phone, you’re calling the provider, hopefully, they’re able to solve the problem, either calling, emailing chatting, whichever channel you use, you always hear or you see a message that this message is recorded for quality purposes. The reality is, there is no human way to go through all of these conversations, where somebody comes in, as we analyze all of these conversations to provide insights to businesses on what customers are talking about, so that they’re not sending you a survey after the call, to ask how is the experience, we can just feed that information back into the management to say, here are how the calls are going here are the biggest customer problems. So there, that’s where we come in. And that’s what I liked about when I started moving from the business sales marketing side to where I am today, where it was a problem that was big enough that was worth solving. And it was a true problem. Like I was in business where I always felt I don’t know what’s going on in support. And I needed information, because there’s lots of knowledge there. And I’m glad I can solve that problem.

Lauren Conaway 8:07
Yeah, I love that well in thank you for everything that you do. And I love that there are so many practical applications for the work that you had already been doing. Now, you’re just applying a tool because that’s that’s really what technology and really what AI is, right? It’s a tool and an opportunity. And so I love that you’re kind of able to integrate these two things that you’ve done. So talk to us, I heard something exciting about you, or one of our producers told me that you are in a Canada-India acceleration program designed to expedite international growth for women-led Canadian companies. Yes, I know about this.

Rashmi Bhambhani 8:52
No, it’s an exciting program. And I’m glad you’ve found us. We were there. And it’s a very good program. I know it’s definitely focused on women-led companies, but it’s really helping us increase opportunities for Canada and India relationship. Because one thing I always find is, you know, the technology companies or with any business, there’s only so much opportunity you have in Canada especially like you know, yes, we are in North America, but Canada is 1/10 the size of the population of US, right? So it’s much smaller. And obviously when you think of going outside the first country that comes to everyone’s mind as us just by default, right? We don’t think about countries outside but the with this program, they’re helping companies to go think beyond that. And you know, go to countries like India, which is very hard for two reasons. One, it’s just there’s a lot of distance and definitely with COVID. Things got much more harder. But having a woman-led company go down there is also a whole different discussion like I remember when I was having meetings with some of the big executives in India, they were all men-dominated. To fight hard to find one female on that table. And I here I am there as one of the co-founders of Sammatti.

Lauren Conaway 10:17
Yeah. Well, so So let me ask you this. And I, and I’m gonna, I’m gonna ask you to get vulnerable with us for a moment. But what was that experience? Like, you know, as a, a woman in tech, which I do it and correct me if I’m wrong, but you know, I’m tangentially related to the the tech industry, though, that I am not myself a developer or anything like that. But like, I think I think it’s getting better. Like, I definitely do see, we are trending upward in, I guess, saturation of women in technology. But I also know that we have a long way to go, like, what has that piece of the journey been? Like for you?

Rashmi Bhambhani 10:56
Yeah, I think I think it’s a little bit of both, you’re absolutely right. You know, this is not a new, like, I wouldn’t say we are not represented today. But I think a lot of progress has been made in North America. So that’s why some of the discussion, you know, minority were having with companies in India, I definitely felt they were probably five years, 10 years behind Canada or North America, we definitely need to see a pro have some more progress there. But we are definitely getting more represented. You know, over here, like we, when we are hiring, we see a mix of resumes, irrespective of which backgrounds we will go through the process. And and that’s, that speaks volumes, because I remember, when I used to recruit earlier, it wasn’t the same. So we are definitely see the seeing the transition, I don’t think as has happened so much. Still, like I think we still have a long way to go. And some of that will be pushed by some of the entrepreneurs like us, right, like making sure you’re hiring females and making sure you’re having a diverse team. And, you know, reaching out doing going out of your way than the traditional hiring process. Because the other thing we find, if you just post a job description on LinkedIn, it’s not going to be like we don’t attract the same kind of people versus like, we go out of our way to make sure we see equal representation. Yeah. classifications? Yeah.

Lauren Conaway 12:22
Well, and so so and I’m gonna, now I’m gonna pick your brain, I asked you to be a little vulnerable. Now I’m gonna pick your brain. Here it goes. So. So it as this industry is changing. And I do feel like, there might be a little bit of a delineation between technology sector and deep tech, because I do like to this day, I do a little bit of consulting work on the side, particularly as it pertains to like gender parity for for the technology industry. And what’s interesting to me is like, we are seeing wide swaths of women and individuals from marginalized gender communities join the technology sector, you know, they’re becoming developers, they’re becoming QA, SBAS, you know, all all of those things. But we’re still seeing a, like a pretty, a pretty large gap in gender parity as it pertains to deep, deep tech. And I mean, we’re talking about things like artificial intelligence, and we’re talking, you know, we’re talking about aerospace and in neuroscience and like those things that are considered a little less accessible as a technology topic. So as a woman in AI, what is your perspective of the landscape?

Rashmi Bhambhani 13:40
Oh, absolutely. You hit the problem, right. On LinkedIn, that’s probably the biggest reason why when we post job descriptions, we have to go out of our way to find these people, right, like, talking about most of these role being on the data science side or more on the deep tech, like, you’re right, like, if we post a QA role full stack developers, we definitely see some more of that mix, even then, I don’t think it’s still fully represented, but it’s definitely a long way. But deep tech is, has a lot of work. And today, it’s still hard. It’s not easy. And, and sometimes, it’s also, you know, when when we I question, why is it because deep tech as, as a because it’s so much backed by research? It really gels well with, you know, what, the way women’s brains think that’s what the study has shown. So I can only imagine the more females join AI, all of these deep tech technologies, they, they should be excelling far more than what we have been able to accomplish today.

Lauren Conaway 14:49
Yeah, well, that is fascinating, because it almost seemed like what you just said, first of all, I’ve never heard that and I talk about women and technology a lot. It’s just kind of Uh, you know, it’s the cost of doing business in what I do. And I gotta tell you, like, I’ve never heard anybody explicitly state that. And now I have, like all of this research that I want to do, you just gave me a research rabbit hole to fall down. So thank you for that. But, you know, it seems almost counterintuitive what you just said you do not in my head, or maybe not in my head, but in many people’s heads, like when you think of the standard, technologist, whatever, you know, vertical industry, whatever that might be, you think you tend to think male, and you tend to think White, cisgendered, heteronormative, male, you know, went to what a prestigious school works for, you know, a large tech company like these, these are kind of the preconceptions that we have. And so the fact that you’re saying that women are actually uniquely positioned to be more successful in these roles, just because of how we’re wired. That is, that is fascinating to me. And I gotta tell you, it’s very exciting. So how do you think that manifests for women in technology? Like, what are the skills and be the, I guess, soft skills? Or what are the qualities and traits that make it easier for them to maybe adapt to some of these fields?

Rashmi Bhambhani 16:23
Oh, I think, oh, some of the biggest traits that I find, and in fact, any, you know, female in AI I work with is how they’re able to combine these complex things, right, like I call AI is complex, because obviously,

Lauren Conaway 16:38
synthesizing information, exactly how

Rashmi Bhambhani 16:41
are they able to decipher that to make it so simple that I wouldn’t say a fifth grader again, understand, but someone who’s in grade 10, probably can grasp and be able to find applications in the real world. And, and that just by nature is very, you know, very tuned to what many females do right, so. So definitely, and research, you know, some of the best research papers, which I have read in our space are written by some of the top female ai scientists, and it’s really like, it definitely is very fascinating, they always have a different lens. Also, when we talk about ethical AI, there’s definitely you know, they, we see a lot of that coming from some of the industry experts who are more, we’re not the traditional people that you just said, right, like the way the white men who went to better universities and stuff like that, right. So you have to bring a mix of different backgrounds.

Lauren Conaway 17:45
Yeah, and I talked about this on an episode that I recorded earlier this week, with Stephanie Melodiya. And we talked about the fact that I have to tell you, like, as we are fighting for equal representation for marginalized individuals in technology like the goal is not to supersede the goal is to achieve parity. And the goal is to achieve representation. Because I’m going to use an example because I think it’s the best way to illustrate what I’m talking about here. But one of the things, you know, there was a, it was a large tech company, I want to say it was Google, but I’m not 100% Sure, but they were developing an AI technology around their facial recognition. And there was this huge, you know, controversy within technology communities, because the technology that they had developed was having difficulty recognizing people of color. And the reason was, you know, the folks who were developing the product, and the folks who were they were testing the product on, were not of color. And so when you presented this, you know, recognition technology, with a face that had it had never been presented with before it was finding it difficult to recognize that face as a valid face as an actual face. And that’s it. Those are the kinds of blind spots that you start to see. When you urinate me instantly. Did you hear about them?

Rashmi Bhambhani 19:20
Yeah, actually, you know, absolutely. And in fact, even in our space, so we analyzed conversations, right? I was telling you about that. The AI that was built early on was very typical for a white person, male, white person. The various customer support teams don’t have that kind of profile. The people are mixed backgrounds are also in support. You have different languages, right? Like the minute it went into application. There were gaps, and that’s because it was just built by person by people who thought everyone looked like that.

Lauren Conaway 19:54
Yeah, and so I just I find it. I find it fascinating. There are so many little like, there’s so many, so many reasons to see not just diversity, but true inclusion in the technology space. And I love that you are on the forefront. Thank you for that. And we also folks, we also want to thank our episode sponsor. So today’s episode of Startup Hustle was sponsored by the Compiler podcast brought to you by Red Hat. And I gotta tell you, so So I had the opportunity to listen to a couple episodes, you know, and one of the things that I love about this podcast, so I am technology adjacent, you know, I have worked around technology for most of my career, I worked in aerospace it and automotive, but I worked in, you know, sales and marketing and business development and operations. And like all of the like, you could ask me to do anything that was not technically technically related. And so one of the things that I love about this compiler podcast is the fact that it is so accessible, you know, they’re talking, they’re not just talking about, like the deep tech topics, although they do touch on those. They’re talking about the history of technology, and how technology integrates into our everyday lives and the opportunities that we have to use technology to make our lives better, which is really the goal, right? You know, how do we make our lives better. And I love that they do it in such an accessible way. And in such a comprehensive, holistic way, as well. So definitely recommend that folks give a listen to the compiler podcast, you can definitely check them out. It’s an original podcast from Red cat, Red Hat, discussing tech topics Big, small and strange. And you check out red hat.com, click the link in our show notes. Check them out, because I am a huge fan. And I know that you listen to podcasts, because you’re here with us right now. So we’re just going to point you to another awesome one. So getting back into it. Rashmi, thank you. Thank you so much. We are talking about women in AI inclusion in AI folks. And it is a fascinating conversation. I love talking about this stuff. This is one of my favorite topics. But tell me this Rashmi. So when we’re talking, one of the things that we do around Startup Hustle is we’d like to give our listeners tactical advice around ways that they can improve their experience, improve their customers experience, you know, be better, stronger. Startup, founders. And so my question to you is this. What do you see as being needed within the technology space if we are to continue to gain ground around inclusion, gender parity, like all of these topics that we’ve been talking about?

Rashmi Bhambhani 22:58
Oh, it’s a great question. Good, I think one thing,

Lauren Conaway 23:03
like if you need to talk about it, you’re more than welcome. I can definitely patter.

Rashmi Bhambhani 23:08
Yeah, no, I mean, it’s a great question. And it’s not about I was thinking it was like, what could be done one thing, right, like, I know, a few things that we should do. But I think what comes to my mind at the top, is having more examples. And I know it’s a chicken and egg situation, right? But I look up to a few people. Okay, I wouldn’t be like them. Do we have enough examples of that? And sometimes the answer is not that many. But the few that we have, are we able to promote them to make sure that they are in front of our kids or our teenagers, right? Who can look up and say, that’s what I want to be like. So they’re not thinking they just want to be a YouTube star. Next? Yeah. I think the examples are very few and far between, especially when you get into deep tech. And, and that’s what if we can get more of, I would definitely, definitely help. And that’s when I moved from, you know, running marketing teams to say, Okay, now in good a leader business part of it was to make sure I have an example for no one else, but even my son that, hey, you know, you don’t have to worry about what background you’re from, what your gender is, you know, how long you’ve been in Canada, you can do what you want to do, and if you set your mind to it, and there should be enough of people he can look up to.

Lauren Conaway 24:34
Yeah, I love that. Well, so So, I’m gonna circle back to something that we kind of talked on because here’s what happens. Like you’re talking and as you’re talking like something kind of reverberates it. Mm-hmm. Like, oh, man, you know, that actually harkens back to something that we just talked about earlier. So I’m going to do that. If you don’t mind bearing with me for just a second. And I’m going to ask you to elaborate on something But you kind of touched on, you know, the fact that you’re you’re not a traditional tech professional. But here you are in this deep tech space. And so I find this to be really interesting, I think most people would have expected you to be CMO for Summatti. And yet you are COO, can you talk to us a little bit about that decision? Because then I think I have an idea for a way I want to go conversationally, but I need to know your answer first. Yeah, I

Rashmi Bhambhani 25:31
can, um, you know, it would have been so much easier if I was a CFO, I always keep joking about it. I was like, I didn’t have to go out of my comfort zone at all. To like, not too much, right? It’s still marketing. What, what I realized when I was moving from, you know, my marketing mindset to actually okay, well, co-founding a company, and especially in the company are around this, I wanted to do more, I wanted to make sure that you know, everything I have learned before I can apply, but also, you know, get out of my comfort zone, I knew I was not going to be comfortable. But I’m like, if I don’t do it now, when will I do it? And I don’t want to thank 30 years later, oh, I should have done that I shouldn’t have given that field role to someone else. So it was again, it was I think, you know, a matter of few days where it was like, No, I do want to run the operations, I want to be more part of deep tech. And I’ve always been interested in learning more. In fact, you know, one of my first jobs was in finance, I actually went I did my undergrad, I did it in finance. And I joined an accounting firm. And the first week, I didn’t like it, so I left it and then I joined. And then somehow I got an opportunity in marketing, and I went there. But I was always curious to learn. And if I learned something, and I didn’t like it, I will leave. So I remember when when I took CEO, I was like, Okay, I’ll give it a shot for a week or a month. And if it doesn’t gel, well with me, I’ll leave. But it’s been three years and I haven’t left

Lauren Conaway 27:08
yet. You know, it’s absolutely. This is so fascinating to me. So that is actually a true developer way or I guess a technologist way of thinking about things. So when I worked in it, one of the things that struck me, like when I first started was the fact that I had so much like I had always these preconceptions about developers. And I like I knew that developers were like, brilliant, very, very smart. But I just figured that they knew all the code. And the fact is, most developers that I know, you know what they are is they’re problem solvers. It’s not that they know every single line of code and every single command and every single thing that you could ever build in a language ever, what they are, is they’re able to problem solve. And so they’re going to troubleshoot, and they’re going to try things, and they’re going to get outside their comfort zone, and they’re gonna Google solutions if they don’t know exactly how to build something and make a product work the way that they want it to. And that’s what you did. And I don’t know if anybody has ever done that parallel for you, but you have the map, and you didn’t have the playbook that you were like, Hey, I’m gonna figure this out. And I’m gonna just, I’m just gonna do it. That’s really cool.

Rashmi Bhambhani 28:23
Yeah, nobody has done that parallel, but it’s awesome. You know, you soon became become best friends with Google, like, Oh, my God. What is this?

Lauren Conaway 28:35
Oh, God, I remember. Sorry. So like, I was working for a tech company. And we had just moved up. And I was in an operations role. And I had, we had just moved offices. And we were, we were trying to figure out, like, how to get the power supply and to all of the different, you know, all of the different systems and computers and things like that, that we had to have connected. And here I am, I’m like, Googling fire codes. And I’m googling, like, electrical load on different, you know, connection points and things like that. And I just stopped and I took a minute and I was like, have you told me like, five years ago that this would be my life, and that I would be like, studying this so that we could like, pass inspection for code? I was, I never would have guessed. But I honestly like, that’s where you find the fun part. right for me. Like, is it fun for you?

Rashmi Bhambhani 29:24
Oh, yeah, absolutely. I mean, yeah, so many different problems that we are solving. Sometimes it feels like Oh, I wish it was simpler. But every day it’s a new challenge.

Lauren Conaway 29:32
Yeah. And I love that, and you have to have a very, very special spirit and brain to be able to withstand that it because it’s with its kind of withstanding uncertainty and behavioral flexibility and like stretching beyond what you think is capable. So I gotta tell you, I’m in my, in my head, and I’m going to do it here now right by my microphone, but I’m applauding you, my friends. Like they’re

Rashmi Bhambhani 29:59
saying to you You know, it’s hard I get it right?

Lauren Conaway 30:04
What is it like get comfortable with discomfort? You know? It’s awesome. All right. So here, here’s the conversational direction that I wanted to go with that. So I asked you, because when you think of, when you think of, I guess, leadership roles within an organization, you’ve got your CMOS, you’ve got your CHR OHS, you’ve got, you know, all of these organizations, and you tend to if you look at the statistics, you tend to see women in leadership and like, the C suite, tend to, again, gravitate to toward those more. I don’t know how to say this. Less organizationally strategic roles. So when CEO, COO, CEO, CFO, CTO, like the roles that are actually charged with driving the financial revenue success of the company, you took that on? Have you started to see folks in the in the tech space as they’re coming up to their leadership? Roles? Are you starting to see more women and individuals from marginalized communities in those deep strategic positions?

Rashmi Bhambhani 31:24
So yes, I think it is very similar to the answer. oviya? Really, yes, things are changing. I absolutely see more of, because, again, you know, sometimes I’ve liked with the marketing role, if someone would have asked me five years ago, what do you want to become? Five years? 510 years? 15 years? What’s your career path is to become a CMO? Because that’s what I’ve seen all my life, right? Females becoming CMOS, or CHR rows, like just again, very soft, skills driven, right. And I’m definitely seeing that transition. isn’t there yet? Not there completely. Like we still, like if we look at the top five tech companies, they’re still male-dominated, right, like we have a few years. But, again, if I look at Google, is it a good mix? Not yet. But what’s interesting is some of the other companies like in fact, the companies I’ve worked with very closely here, I’ve started seeing that mix, right, like some of our partners. So in fact, people who I work with, we’re definitely seeing that change. And it’s moving in the right direction. I hope it can accelerate, it can grow more, because, you know, I went out of my comfort zone. And I’m glad I did. But I don’t know if everyone will if they don’t see these examples.

Lauren Conaway 32:44
Yeah. And I wonder about that myself. So there’s this statistic out there that, in general, women tend to need to be asked to take on a leadership role or take on take something on three times. Before they will they before they will do it, and that it’s actually industry agnostic. That statistic, so it could be will you take this promotion? Will you take this promotion? Will you take this promotion? It will be will you run for office? Will you run for office? Will you run for office because that imposter syndrome that you talked about earlier, is so deeply entrenched, that you don’t automatically think that is an opportunity for me as the default? And so you have to be asked multiple times in order to take that on. And so and I always found that statistic, so fascinating, but also so frustrating. You know, and so, I do really quickly, I just like I want to do like a little disclaimer slash caveat. That is, when we were talking about like, the difference between those kinds of more soft skills-based positions like that is not a judgment, like if nobody is selling your product, or nobody is finding you the right people, like your product is going nowhere. So these positions are all very, very important. But they just tend to I just I tend to see like this line between, you know, deeply revenue, success-driven rules versus the more human elements. And we see like, we see that division fall down gender lines, and I just find that really interesting. So I just wanted to say that by the way, before we get like a whole bunch of nasty grams, like why do you hate me? I wasn’t.

Rashmi Bhambhani 34:24
I mean, hey, you know what, we need the marketing side for any business that otherwise nobody’s Absolutely, but I think we need more. It’s not always being the same person.

Lauren Conaway 34:35
I would love to see more female founders like yourself, you know, the folks who are empowered to start the company. And so I think that that was kind of what I was getting at, like just seeing the differences there. So I have a kind of weird question for you. And it’s gonna come out of the left field, and I apologize in advance, but I’m just gonna do it. Here goes. Do you consider yourself to be a leader in the deep tech space like one of the women of AI?

Rashmi Bhambhani 35:06
Oh, wow. This is where my imposter syndrome comes back. I want to I want to

Lauren Conaway 35:11
hear you say it though, you need to say it because I’m gonna argue with you.

Rashmi Bhambhani 35:15
You know, it took me a while. And I would say yes. But the other thing I also know, and this is where my female thinking kicks in. I don’t know everything about everything. But yes, in AI, anyone who wants to talk to me, like what does this space look like where they want to start? Reach out. Yes, Billington is available. You know, you can email me, and I’m happy to talk. Oh,

Lauren Conaway 35:42
what you just did? Do you know what, you? You just set me up beautifully. For my next question. Are you ready? So what do you wish you had known at the start of this journey? Like if there is a another woman out there a person of color who’s like, I want to get into AI? You know, it sounds like a pretty lucrative fun opportunity. What would you what would you tell them?

Rashmi Bhambhani 36:08
Oh, wow. Um, you have great questions.

Lauren Conaway 36:13
Well, it helps if you have a great guest. How about that?

Rashmi Bhambhani 36:19
You know, I only have one thing be ready for a great time, try to enjoy it for sure. You wanted to step in, do it? Like just like what we said, you have to go figure it out. There’s a lot of unknown, but have fun doing it. Because the reality is, nobody has figured it out. It’s not that AI has existed for 50 years. And it’s all said and done. No, people are still figuring things out. So you’re good. Yeah.

Lauren Conaway 36:47
Yeah, well, it goes back to that whole, like technology developer, like we’re just gonna, we’re here just to figure things out. You know, that’s, that’s well, and that’s one of the things that I love about entrepreneurs. And I think that entrepreneurs and developers have a lot of commonalities in the way that they think like, this obstacle that you see before you, it is not a or, or this unknown, that you see before you. It’s not a stopper. It’s an opportunity. It’s something to overcome, rather than something to like, I don’t know, stand in your way and keep you from progressing. So I love that. It makes me very, very happy that we were able to kind of draw that parallel. All right, so I’m going to ask you a very broad-based question. And then I’m going to ask you the human question. But first, the broad-based one is what do you see coming down the pipeline in the future for artificial intelligence, and some of these, like deep tech, verticals, and topics that we seem to hear so much about? I’m going to ask you for your industry insight. Oh,

Rashmi Bhambhani 37:50
wow. You know, there’s, there’s going to be a lot for sure. I mean, we there’s no, it’s not hidden, right AI is here to stay. What I think will change is how AI can become a daily thing that people can use, like, again, AI still day, like, you know, I go for family dinners. And you know, everyone just says, Oh, she does something in tech, like it’s that led to it varies, you know, earlier that if you were like, okay, she works on insurance, because people know, insurance, what that meant and stuff like that, right? Like our merging AI, as more applications, you know, start rolling out, it becomes more accessible to everyone. We will see AI in every walks of life. I don’t think so we are at a point where it will be Mission Impossible. I yet, but we should see I start impacting every aspect of things we do.

Lauren Conaway 38:49
Yeah. Well, well, thank you. Thank you very much for your insight. And now we are coming up on the human question, this stupid question that has nothing to do with anything. I am going to, I am going to ask you what I’m gonna ask you. I’m not so crazy, like stupid, silly one. I love this question. Who are your heroes?

Rashmi Bhambhani 39:12
Oh, wow. Who are my heroes? Like, are you thinking from the cinema or just anyone?

Lauren Conaway 39:19
Just you? Yeah,

Rashmi Bhambhani 39:24
I mean, I look up to my parents. Both my parents mean I can name some other big celebrities, but I really look up to just my parents, right? Like, I mean, they left a small town early on, to make sure that I have a better life and Dubai like, you know. And they, they started afresh. When they retired, they moved back to a new country like at that age, moving back to a new country was crazy. I mean, if today someone asked me to move to a new country, I’ll say Are you kidding me? I’m all settled here, right? Doing that 60 is hard. So yeah, they, I always look up to them, like they’ve gone through ups and downs. And, but with all positive attitude and part of it being, you know, they’ll figure it out. So as much as it’s a deal developer mentality, I think people who have gone through some of those ups and downs, have to learn to go with it. And that’s where I get it from.

Lauren Conaway 40:25
That is awesome. And I mean, clearly, you know, great people were not created in a vacuum. Great people will get great people. And so I, that is a beautiful, lovely answer. We will take it. And I do have to tell you, Rashmi, thank you so much for taking the time to sit with us and talk to us about all manner of topics, but in particular, women in AI this was this was great.

Rashmi Bhambhani 40:49
Thanks, Lauren. It was great joining you on the podcast and have a nice tape. Yeah.

Lauren Conaway 40:57
So another thing that is truly great, folks, I’m gonna I’m going to talk to you a little bit more about the Compiler podcast with Red Hat. You can listen to Compiler on Apple podcast anywhere you listen to the podcast. They are offering fantastic information around some really unique topics that I don’t hear introduced as technology topics every day. You know, we will include a link in the show notes, but you can listen on Apple podcasts, like I said, so. Thank you so much to the Compiler podcast and Red Hat. You are the reason we’re able to do what we do. And I look forward to listening to more of your episodes. And folks listening at home, we also have to thank you. Thanks for taking the time, week after week, to give us a listen at Startup Hustle. Definitely check out our YouTube channel, and check out Startup Hustle TV. We’ve got it well, I cuss a lot. I don’t know if that’s an attraction or not. But we share the story of the entrepreneurs, some of the co-hosts of the Startup Hustle podcast, we tell the real stories of entrepreneurship, and we definitely invite you to go on to YouTube and search for Startup Hustle which should pop right up. Give us a listen. Thanks so much for listening, and we will catch you on the flip side, friends.