Six Questions for Isabel Bär

Interview Isabel Baer © DWIH New York

The DWIH New York had the pleasure of interviewing Isabel Bär, speaker at the FUTURE FORUM 2023, and alumna of the DWIH main supporter Hasso Plattner Institute with an office in NYC.

Hello Isabel, please tell us a bit about yourself and your career path.

I am Isabel, a data professional with a master’s degree in data engineering from Hasso-Plattner Institute, Potsdam, Germany. My background in tech equips me with a deep understanding of data processing, engineering, and analytics. This knowledge makes me a valuable asset in the implementation of Responsible AI principles which ensure the ethical and efficient deployment of AI technologies.

What fascinates you about your work, what motivates you to keep going – even on stressful days?

The fast-paced nature of my work as a consultant in Generative AI, coupled with being at the forefront of technological progress and innovation, truly fascinates me. The ever-evolving technology ensures that it never gets monotonous, offering continuous excitement and opportunities for exploration. On challenging days, my motivation comes from the collaboration of diverse and interdisciplinary teams working towards solutions. I thrive in interdisciplinary areas that bring together diverse domains, leveraging my open-mindedness and passion for various interests to drive innovative solutions. Being part of this dynamic environment and contributing to advancements in Generative AI fuels my passion for the field even further.

How did you get in contact with IT consulting and what role did your alma mater, the Hasso Plattner Institute at the University of Potsdam, and its professors play?

I got in contact with IT consulting as a working student during my studies. This early exposure allowed me to discover my passion for bridging technology and domain expertise. Now I work for the German IT consulting company Senacor Technologies AG, advising clients on system architecture questions in AI projects.

My alma mater, the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) at the University of Potsdam, played a crucial role in shaping my career path toward Data and AI. HPI sharpened my goal to pursue my career path in Data and AI, providing a solid educational foundation and inspiring me to delve deeper into the field. My former professor and thesis supervisor was instrumental in supporting and guiding me to gain knowledge on the vital role of data quality in AI, which reinforced my interest in key factors necessary for the successful, long-term deployment of AI solutions.

In June 2023, you co-organized the Women+ in Data and AI Summerfestival in Berlin. What is the idea behind it and what can others take away from the event?

As a co-organizer, I helped create an inclusive Women+ in Data and AI Summer Festival in Berlin, welcoming everyone while proudly featuring a 100% female speaker lineup — an achievement we cherish.

The event offered three tracks: Data Engineering, MLOps, and Machine Learning, attracting support from well-known sponsors like Meta, Bayer, Delivery Hero, LinkedIn, Grammarly, and many more. As someone who has enjoyed being a speaker at various IT conferences before, I was thrilled to participate in this festival not only as an organizer but also as a speaker and share my knowledge and experiences with a wider audience.

Empowerment, diversity, and cutting-edge insights were at the heart of this unforgettable experience. We aimed to bring together diverse perspectives and foster meaningful connections. During the festival, attendees had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of engaging activities, including talks, workshops, and panel discussions. These sessions covered various topics, from technical advancements to career development, diversity and inclusion, and the power of networking.

Beyond the technical knowledge gained from the talks and workshops, others can take away a sense of empowerment and inspiration to pursue their passions fearlessly. The event showed that diversity drives innovation and that everyone’s contribution is essential to shaping a more equitable and inclusive future for data and AI. I am proud to have been a part of this incredible event and look forward to seeing its positive impact on the industry.

Do you have any career advice for students and young professionals, specifically in your field or in general?

Sure! Here is some career advice for students and young professionals, specifically in the field of AI and in general:

  • Continuous Learning and Knowledge Spreading: The field of AI is constantly evolving, with new research, technologies, and trends emerging regularly. Never stop learning and stay updated with the latest developments by reading research papers, attending conferences, and participating in online courses. As you learn and gain expertise in AI, share your knowledge with others! Contributing to the AI community by sharing your insights and findings helps advance the field collectively and fosters a culture of collaboration.
  • Embrace Diversity (and find your niche): AI is a diverse field that benefits greatly from the unique perspectives and experiences of individuals from different backgrounds. Embrace your background and find ways to contribute to the field using your unique strengths. Explore different areas and technologies to discover your passion and niche within AI – finding a specific focus will help you become an expert in that domain.
  • Networking and Collaboration: Build a strong network of like-minded individuals, experts, and professionals in the AI field. Don’t underestimate the power of community! This is one of my key takeaways from our Women+ in Data and AI Festival -through this experience, I have witnessed firsthand how fostering a supportive community and establishing meaningful connections can lead to incredible opportunities and personal growth.

Thank you, Isabel, for the interview. We look forward to meeting you at the FUTURE FORUM in October!