Kate Carter, AI 2030 Global Fellow, AI 2030 · Internship & Co-Founder, HEKa Creative Labs

Meet Kate Carter, a passionate leader embarking on an incredible journey. Kate’s heart beats at the intersection of blockchain technology and her mission for fair access to healthcare and financial stability. With a diverse background in performance excellence, organizational values, and a global perspective, Kate stands out as a visionary in her field. She holds two Master’s degrees—one in blockchain and digital currency, the other in applied leadership and management—showing her deep commitment to the tech world. During her six years in healthcare, Kate has seen firsthand the power of innovation to change lives, fueling her drive for positive change. Beyond her career, Kate’s personal story is just as inspiring. An avid traveler and advocate for diversity, she’s also embraced the journey of adoption, raising two wonderful children.

As the AI Strategy and Student Success Manager at Mission Impact Academy (Mia), Kate is instrumental in advancing Mia’s mission: to empower one million women globally in AI and emerging technologies by 2030. Her passion for education and inclusivity highlights the importance of diverse voices in shaping our future.

Recently, in an exclusive interview with Digital First Magazine, Kate shared her professional trajectory, insights on the latest trends in AI to keep an eye on in 2024, the driving force behind her daily motivation, future plans, pearls of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.

Hi Kate. Tell us about your career path. What experiences have brought you here?

At the height of the Covid lockdowns, I found myself in an isolated skilled nursing unit performing physical therapy. Families weren’t allowed to visit, and for many patients, managing to sit at the edge of the bed was all they could muster. It was difficult to see so much suffering. It was almost as if time stood still, still enough for me to deeply contemplate my future. In those quiet, profound moments, I realized that continuing in physical therapy until retirement was not sustainable for me.

Intrigued by the emerging opportunities within blockchain technology, I decided to redirect my professional path, returning to academia to earn a Master’s degree in Blockchain Technology. During this period of study, I had a wonderful opportunity to join Mia’s Global Leadership in Emerging Technologies cohort as a founding member. Recognizing my potential, I was later asked to assist in AI programming at the company. This significant career pivot transitioned me into my current role as an AI Strategy and Student Success Manager at Mission Impact Academy (Mia). My journey through varied roles, from physical therapy to AI strategy, has deeply influenced my understanding of how transformative technology can be in healthcare.

Additionally, my engagement as an AI 2030 Global Fellow allows me to actively participate in the development of frameworks for responsible AI usage. This role enhances my dedication to ethical technology application, perfectly aligning with my professional aspirations. I am eagerly anticipating the start of my PhD in Artificial Intelligence this August, focusing on the integration of AI with blockchain to foster a more secure and ethical healthcare system. I am confident that this innovative integration will revolutionize the industry by significantly enhancing data security and optimizing clinical operations.

What part of your current role as AI Strategy & Student Success Manager at Mia do you enjoy the most?

In my current role as AI Strategy & Student Success Manager at Mia, the most rewarding aspect is seeing the direct impact of our AI initiatives on women with non-technical backgrounds from around the globe. Having the opportunity to strategize and implement AI tools that enhance learning experiences is incredibly fulfilling. It allows us to foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation within our team. Each breakthrough, large or small, underscores the transformative power of AI in education and bolsters our mission to equip one million women worldwide with future skills by 2030.

What are the latest trends to keep an eye on in the AI industry in 2024?

The AI landscape in 2024 is experiencing rapid evolution, presenting an array of exciting trends. While it can be challenging to keep up with every development, the pace of progress is truly exhilarating and inspiring. One particularly promising area is the integration of AI in healthcare, especially for personalized medicine. For instance, advancements in AI are revolutionizing adaptive radiotherapy for cancer care. This technology allows for real-time imaging adjustments during treatment sessions, ensuring that radiation is precisely targeted to maximize efficacy and minimize exposure to surrounding healthy tissues. This application not only exemplifies the potential for AI to improve patient outcomes but also highlights its role in transforming traditional treatment methodologies. It’s an incredible time to be part of this field!

What are some of the technology challenges facing the industry right now?

From my perspective, one of the most pressing issues in AI and healthcare is ensuring data diversity and inclusivity within AI training sets. This focus is essential to prevent biases that could adversely affect healthcare outcomes, particularly for underrepresented groups. Consider a study on an AI model used for diagnosing skin cancer, which found significantly lower accuracy rates for darker skin tones due to a lack of diverse data in the training sets. This example highlights the critical need for inclusive data to guarantee equitable healthcare treatment across all demographics.

Further complicating the landscape is the issue of transparency and explainability in AI systems. Especially prevalent in machine learning algorithms, these systems can often function as “black boxes,” where the underlying decision-making processes are unclear and difficult for humans to decipher. This lack of clarity can foster mistrust and complicate the validation of AI-driven decisions, posing potential risks in sensitive areas such as medical diagnoses and treatment plans.

As AI continues to process vast amounts of health information, it becomes imperative to safeguard this data against breaches while rigorously addressing the ethical considerations of its use and sharing within AI frameworks. Successfully navigating these challenges requires a steadfast commitment to continuous innovation, rigorous adherence to ethical standards, and the development of secure, interoperable systems. Enhancing transparency and explainability in AI is crucial, ensuring that technology serves as a reliable and effective tool for promoting equity and efficiency in healthcare systems. These efforts are essential not only for the reliability of AI applications but also for fostering trust and scrutiny in these advanced technologies.

As a visionary leader, what approaches do you use to create a culture of experimentation and innovation within your team?

At Mia, our vibrant global team represents over 65 nations, each contributing to our dynamic environment. We embrace a fail-fast approach, encouraging risk-taking and learning from outcomes to foster innovation. This philosophy aligns with the critical leadership skills of communication, empathy, and adaptability, which are vital in the rapidly evolving field of AI. Such skills enhance team dynamics and support, enabling leaders to navigate the complex landscape of technology and innovation effectively. By valuing diverse perspectives and fostering a supportive environment, we ensure that every idea is explored and that our team is equipped to thrive in this dynamic industry.

What are some of the innovations that excite you about the future?

From my perspective, the most exhilarating aspect of AI in healthcare is its profound impact on precision medicine. AI’s remarkable capability to sift through extensive datasets -encompassing genetic details, environmental influences, and individual health records – empowers healthcare professionals to customize treatments for each patient. This tailored approach not only heightens the efficacy of treatments but also minimizes the risk of adverse effects, thereby revolutionizing patient care. Such innovation marks a substantial stride toward making healthcare more adaptable and attuned to the specific needs of every patient, potentially transforming outcomes across a wide spectrum of medical fields. It’s a win-win scenario!

What has been the most fulfilling part of your career?

The most fulfilling part of my career has been witnessing women from around the world discover and harness the power of AI. It’s incredibly rewarding to see them not only grasp the potential of this technology but also use it to transform their own lives and careers. Observing these women land new roles, speak on expert panels, and even go on to teach others about AI truly encapsulates the impact of our work. This experience has reinforced my belief in the transformative power of AI education and its potential to empower individuals. By providing women with the tools and knowledge to excel in this field, we are not only advancing their personal careers but also contributing to a more diverse and inclusive AI community. This ripple effect of empowerment and education is what makes my journey in AI so gratifying.

In your words, tell us the leadership skills that everyone should learn?

Building on the significant insights gained from both direct patient care and guiding AI education for women worldwide, I have found that one of the paramount leadership skills essential in any role is adaptability. This skill is crucial as it enables leaders to navigate through ever-changing environments and challenges, much like those I encountered during the COVID lockdowns. Our world, interconnected and dynamic, demands that leaders be capable of adjusting strategies, embracing new technologies, and responding to diverse cultural and operational landscapes.

Adaptability in leadership is especially critical in fields like AI development, where the pace of change is rapid, and the stakes are high. For example, at Mia, we have adopted an AI Lean Leadership approach, which emphasizes agility and responsive decision-making. This mindset allows us to swiftly adapt our strategies based on real-time data and feedback, which is vital in a field that is constantly evolving due to technological advancements and regulatory changes. This approach has been instrumental in avoiding pitfalls similar to those seen in early AI applications, such as the biased algorithms in self-driving cars that failed to recognize darker-skinned pedestrians due to limited training data sets. Such incidents underscore the necessity for adaptability in both the development process and leadership mentality to ensure that AI technologies are developed in an ethical, inclusive, and effective manner. By integrating adaptability with a commitment to diversity and ethical consideration, we empower ourselves to lead more effectively and ensure that AI advancements benefit all sectors of society.

What is that one thing which motivates you to become better and better every day?

The driving force behind my daily motivation is my personal mission, summed up by the motto, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” While it may sound a bit cliché, this principle genuinely guides my actions and decisions. It compels me to think, “If I’m not going to do it, who will?” My goal is to leave the world better than I found it, and with the fourth industrial revolution unfolding around us, I have a unique opportunity to help shape the future.

This conviction holds profound significance in the realms of AI and healthcare, where our current choices set the stage for future impacts. Whether it involves enhancing patient care, pioneering advancements in AI for healthcare, or mentoring the upcoming generation of women in technology, I am motivated by the opportunity to create substantial, positive change. This dedication to transformative impact not only catalyzes my personal development but also drives me to continually challenge the limits of what can be achieved in technology and medicine.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I see myself having completed my PhD, actively contributing to shaping the ever-evolving landscape of AI, ethics, and healthcare. With the rapid advancements in these fields, my goal is to be at the forefront, ensuring that development is both ethical and impactful. Additionally, as we approach our ambitious mission to upskill one million women by 2030, I am confident that we will be on the verge of achieving, if not surpassing, this goal. My focus will be on empowering women from diverse backgrounds and regions worldwide to harness the power of AI. This initiative extends beyond simple education by arming women with the necessary tools to excel in a digital-first future, profoundly transforming their lives and communities.

What is a piece of career advice you have been given that you would pass on to others?

“Take the chance.” Seize every opportunity, whether it involves attending a workshop, participating in a conference, or engaging in personal growth activities. Each experience has the potential to be transformative. Cultivate a spirit of curiosity, actively engage in discussions, ask questions, and develop relationships with mentors who can guide you along your path. Immerse yourself in a variety of resources to enhance your knowledge: listen to insightful podcasts, enroll in online courses, delve into enlightening books, and join community groups that resonate with your interests and ambitions.

Additionally, it is important to step outside your comfort zone to travel, explore new places, and sometimes, allow yourself to get lost. Often, it is in these moments of uncertainty that we truly discover who we are. Never underestimate the importance of connecting with nature and prioritizing your health. Embracing the outdoors is crucial for nurturing both your body and mind. Adopting this holistic approach to personal and professional development has not only sculpted my career path but has also enriched my life profoundly in numerous ways.

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