Q&A: 3 Neuro-ID Women in Tech Share Lessons on Careers, Biases, & Speed Bumps
For all of March we’re continuing to celebrate International Women’s Day, a global movement honoring the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. We earlier profiled Courtney Laabs: COO, mother, triathlete, and entrepreneur extraordinaire. Today, we celebrate three of the women who help make and manage the revolutionary Neuro-ID technology.
If you had asked the kid-versions of Alexis Perry, Brooke Baker, and Usha Kuchibhotla what they wanted to be when they grew up, none of their answers would have involved tech. Yet today, these three women are key leaders across the Neuro-ID product and development teams.
Here’s what they had to say about the evolution of their career goals, their advice for others pursuing STEM careers, and how they’ve overcome bumps on the unique road that women must navigate in the world of transformative tech.
1. The theme of International Women’s Day is “Break the Bias.” What does that mean to you?
“I have never been one to shy away from a good challenge, especially if someone said I couldn’t do it or that it was a ‘man’s world’. I will for sure do it, then! Women have always been strong, and now more than ever, we are showing that we can do anything we set out to do. Going after what you want regardless of if it is a typical gender role or not. Women paving the way and truly showing that we are powerful and capable is amazing to see.” – Alexis Perry; Senior Product Manager at Neuro-ID.
“When I hear the word “bias,” the first thing that comes to mind is statistical bias–a measure that calculates the difference between an estimate and its real value. This formula has some practical application here too. Women need to know their real value. We are capable, caring, and resilient contributors with a perspective that’s needed. And I believe as we confidently and authentically illuminate these attributes in all the arenas we’re in, we’ll empower others to do the same.” – Brooke Baker; former Data Analyst Intern and current Senior Data Science Specialist at Neuro-ID.
“I believe most people are good and we all strive to be better and do the right thing. Bias comes in when we fail to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Even the most well intentioned people will make mistakes. When this happens it’s important to have a well-structured conversation around it. I usually take some time to reflect on what was said before striking up the conversation and bringing up what has made me uncomfortable. This introspection also helps me address the unconscious bias or insensitivity that is sometimes inside me and I try to address it and do better.” – Usha Kuchibhotla, Principal Software Engineer at Neuro-ID
2. What would you say to women who are hoping to follow a similar career trajectory to yours?
“Just go for it. Be strong, be proud of your capabilities, even when it’s tough! Don’t let fear hold you back. Women are strong, women are powerful. Don’t be afraid to excel at your career.”- Alexis
“Choose to do something you enjoy and are passionate about but that also challenges you. Don’t let fear dictate what you do or don’t do. Have confidence in your voice and opinion. Make sure your career decisions support the lifestyle you want to have. Have mentors along the way—especially from a wide variety of disciplines and varying levels of seniority and interests. If Neuro-ID has taught me anything, it’s that HOW someone interacts can be more telling than the answer provided. It’s been so insightful for me to learn from my mentors how they got to where they are. As I’ve looked to understand how they’ve navigated decisions at forks in the road, bumpy terrain, or when the path was unpaved altogether, I’ve seen how the end result may vary from person to person, but the themes of success hold true.” – Brooke
“Never leave your career on auto-pilot. Don’t hold yourself back, invest in yourself, identify projects that you find interesting and steer your career in that direction. Personally, attending the Grace Hopper Celebration conference was a life-changing event for me. I realized it is very important to learn and get inspired from others who have traveled similar paths.” – Usha
3. What’s one big lesson you’ve learned in your career?
“Value your opinion and your work. If you don’t, it will be hard for others to do. Fear of failure, fear of being wrong, fear of not knowing something. Everyone is one of those at some point. Knowing and understanding that allowed me to be more vocal, express my thoughts, and that speaking up provides value. You are in the position you are in for a reason; you are good at what you do. Remembering that allows me to excel at my job—no matter what it is.” – Alexis
“Focus on what you can control. There are so many things out of our control, but I’ve found as I focus on what I can do, I feel more empowered and happier. It’s not about “faking it” or ignoring reality, it just sets your energy where you’ll get a return on your investment. And it all starts with choosing your attitude. Along the same lines, working in tech has a lot of flexibility associated with it—remote work, supports flexible hours, etc. It’s a nice perk but it can also make it difficult to set boundaries or really be offline. I have to be intentional about protecting my time, being present in the moment, and staying grounded in the things that make me, me. That, and a good pair of computer glasses, make a lot of difference!” – Brooke
“When I started my career, I showed up to work and did my best. Soon I realized that in order to have a career—not just a job—I needed goals. I am a highly organized, detail-oriented person, bringing that from my personal life into my job has enabled me to design a strategy to achieve my goals. In tech, there is no formula, there is no right path. Only by bringing in your true self can you identify what you are interested in and what you think is fun. Once you realize that, don’t hold back.” – Usha
Interested in working with Alexis, Brooke, Usha, or any of Neuro-ID’s many awesome employees? Check out our job openings.