Female CEO shares her experience leading an AI company

    Opinions of contributing entrepreneurs are their own.

    Female CEOs and founders may be more common than ever, but the Gender gap in the CEO remains frustratingly wide at 17:1. In the STEM industry, the gap is becoming more of a gap.

    For example, from an outsider’s perspective, AI is still seen as an area best led by men. People who work within AI say something different. A full 71% believe women bring unique perspectives to the field. 63% believe having more women in AI would help remove bias in products and outcomes.

    Kerry Goyette would agree with those findings.

    Article from Goyette: Entrepreneurial Power Can Contribute to Your Startup’s Downfall. Here’s how to stop it.

    Four years ago, Goyette entered the AI ​​space. She was CEO of a fast-growing company that wanted to use AI to realize the increasing number of initiatives. Fast forward to today where she leads her company’s newly launched sister company, Two stories. Two Story offers innovative solutions based on the fusion of AI and behavioral sciences. The company’s performance analytics products enable companies to use machine learning to make more confident hiring decisions, unlock employee potential, and develop leaders.

    Two Story presents a new way of looking at the old problem: how to engage and encourage team members without burning out their spark. However, Goyette found that while the market was hungry for forward-thinking, AI-driven ideas, it had some unique obstacles to overcome. And they had to do with her gender.

    Replying to “but you don’t fit the mold”

    According to Goyette, the first male venture capitalist (VC) she met to talk about the Two Story germs couldn’t accept that she wasn’t a 28-year-old man. Other male VCs echoed similar sentiments, including her being “distractable.” What they didn’t realize was that Goyette was on a mission and wasn’t easily deterred.

    Determined to build products that linked algorithms and psychometrics, Goyette propelled Two Story to profitability.

    “People thought I was crazy,” she admitted. “It was clear to me that this is where the future was headed. I jumped in with both feet.”

    Goyette’s risk-taking may have seemed unusual, as women have long been labeled as more risk averse than men. But as her actions show, what appears to be external risk can be more measured and calculated. Goyette was very clear about the direction she wanted to take: honoring humans while adding value to the field of AI.

    Overcome challenges caused by AI fear, confusion and anxiety

    Her message struck a chord. Despite early criticism, Goyette began to be recognized as a top AI CEO, which meant she also had to navigate murky waters. As she points out, AI can be very polarizing. People are often skeptical, including those familiar with AI.

    Example: A VC tried to persuade her to move forward by connecting AI and behavioral science. Debating why she shouldn’t enter the AI ​​and behavioral science space, but making every point in conversation about why they should enter the space. In the end, the VC admitted it was a good idea, but still refused to support it. That conversation and other conversations like it just proved to Goyette that she was on the right track and couldn’t back down. “When smart people make your point and tell you it’s a bad idea, you think you’re probably on to something,” she chuckles.

    Goyette responds to criticism of AI-driven performance analytics by operating in full transparency. Two Story’s explainable algorithm is transparent and explainable by design. Her team’s number one priority is making ethical AI. Rather than being a “marketing gimmick,” Two Story’s transparency is simply the way the company operates.

    And the work is what Goyette cares about. As a dynamic, hands-on CEO, she wants to help others prioritize people in their work.

    “This not only helps organizations,” she says. “I’ve noticed leaders unintentionally burn people out. They don’t know what really drives performance, so they try 27 things. The work we do is so important to the whole system. We eliminate what doesn’t matter and help teams to focus on what works. We don’t burn them out; we help them achieve meaning and purpose, so they are motivated to make an impact.”

    Bringing women, AI and leadership roles together

    Goyette is neither the first female CEO nor the first woman to enter the AI ​​startup realm. Nevertheless, she has blazed a trail by leveraging her roots as a behavioral scientist to come up with a new application for AI. She is also an inspiration to other women who may find it difficult to begin their journey because of the under-representation of women in CEO positions.

    The good news is that female CEOs like Goyette often support each other. Goyette credits many female CEOs, including Sarah Hill or helium, for their friendship and support. During a Renaissance weekend, she met Anima Anandkumar whose work in AI has revolutionized the industry. Goyette calls Anandkumar both humble and inspiring.

    There is little doubt that as time goes on, more women, including those working in AI, will have “CEO” after their name. Leaders like Goyette make it possible by showing that gender should not be limiting. Instead, all visionaries, regardless of gender, should feel boundless about the opportunities before them.


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