John Hoegger, Microsoft | Stanford Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference 2020

March 5, 2020 posted by

>>Narrator: Live from Stanford
University, it’s theCube. Covering Stanford Women
in Data Science 2020, brought to you by SiliconANGLE Media.>>Hi and welcome to theCUBE. I’m your host Sonia Tagare, and we’re live at Stanford
University covering WiDS, Women in Data Science Conference 2020, and this is the fifth annual one. Joining us today is John Hoegger, who is the Principal Data
Scientist Manager at Microsoft. John, welcome to theCUBE.>>Thank you.>>So, tell us a little
about your role at Microsoft.>>I manage a central data
science team for Microsoft365.>>And, tell us more about
what you do on a daily basis.>>Yeah, so we look at, across all the different
Microsoft365 products, Office, Windows, Security products, it’s really trying to drive growth. Whether it’s trying to
provide recommendations to customers to end users, to drive more engagement with the products that they use every day.>>Okay and you’re also on the WiDS conference planning committee, so tell us about how you joined, and how that experience has been like?>>Yeah actually I was
at Stanford about a week after the very first conference, and I got talking to Karen,
one of the co-organizers of that conference, and
I found out that there was only one sponsor the very first year, which was Walmart Labs. And, the more that she talked about it, the more that I wanted to be involved. I thought that Microsoft really should be a sponsor of this initiative. So I got details, I went back, and Microsoft’s been a sponsor ever since. I’ve been on the committee, you know, trying to help with identifying speakers, and you know, reviewing
the different speakers that we have each year. It’s amazing just to see
how this event has grown over the four years.>>That’s awesome! So, when you first
started, how many people attended in the beginning?>>So it started off as
being this conference, with the 400 or so people, and just a few other regional events. And so it was live streamed, but just really to a few universities. And ever since then, it’s
gone with the WiDS Ambassadors and people all around the world.>>Yeah, so now WiDS has,
is over 60 countries,>>Yup!>>On every continent except Antarctica, it was told in the keynote. As well as has 400 plus attendees here, has live stream, so how do you think WiDS
has evolved over the years?>>It’s turned from just a
conference to a movement. It’s, there’s all these
new regional events that have been set up every year. And just people coming
together and working together. So, at Microsoft we’re
hosting different events, we’ve had events at
Redmond, at the head office, and then also in New York and Boston and other places as well.>>So, as a data scientist manager for many years at Microsoft, I’m sure you’ve seen an
increase in women taking technical roles, tell us
a little bit about that?>>Yeah, for any sort of
company, you have to try and provide that environment. Part of that is even from recruiting, ensuring that you’ve got
a diverse interview loop. So we make sure that
we have women on every set of interviews, to be able
to really answer the question, “What’s it like to be
a woman on this team?” You know, if it’s all men, you
can’t answer that question. So, that helps as far as
really trying to encourage more women to come into some
of these STEM roles, and I’ve now got a team
of 30 data scientists, and half of them are women which is great.>>That’s awesome. So, what advice would you give
to young professional women who are just coming out of college, or who are just starting
college or interested in a STEM field but maybe think, “Oh I don’t know if there’ll
be anyone like me in the room.”>>You know, ask the questions
when you’re interviewing. Go for those interviews and ask. Like say, “What’s it like
to be a woman on the team?” And, yeah really ensuring
that the teams that you join and the companies that
you join are inclusive and really value diversity
in the workforce.>>Talking about that, as we
heard in the opening address that diversity brings more perspectives, it also helps take away
bias from data science, how have you noticed that
bias becoming more fair? Especially at your time at Microsoft?>>Yeah, that’s what diversity is about. Just having the diverse set
of perspectives and opinions, and having more people
just looking at the data and thinking through,
how the data can be used, and ensuring it’s being
used in the right way.>>So, what are you, going
forward do you plan to still be on the WiDS committee? What do you see WiDS
going, how do you see WiDS in five years?>>Ah yeah, I love being
part of this conference and being on the committee
and I just expect it to continue to grow. I think it’s just going
beyond a conference to also being the podcasts
and all of the other initiatives that are occurring from that.>>Great, John thank you so
much for being on theCUBE, it was great having you here.>>Thank you.>>Thanks for watching theCUBE, I’m your host Sonia Tagare,
and stay tuned for more. (upbeat music)

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