Dr. Chitra Dorai has long been a proponent of increasing the number of women in the technology field. She is an AI scientist and thought leader who began her career at IBM, where she was an IBM Fellow and Global CTO for Cognitive Services. Since leaving IBM, she has founded and serves as the CEO of Amicus Brain, which focuses on bringing the power of AI to tackle some of the important societal problems in healthcare and financial services. Her technology insight and passion for supporting other women in tech makes her a most welcome member of the SheTek Advisory Board.
“I’ve always had a curious mind,” Chitra will tell you. “Math, science, and language always fascinated me.” Her father encouraged her to become a doctor to utilize her interest in science. Additionally, it was more acceptable for a woman to go into the medical field. “In my community in India, where I grew up, women didn’t go into technology,” she says. As she spent her days studying, she read about other women in science, like Rosalind Franklin. Chitra knew that’s where she wanted to be.
Chitra was thrilled to be accepted into an engineering college with the largest group of women to attend – 9 girls out of 320 students. Throughout her studies, Chitra says, “I noticed a pattern of how underrepresented women were in the technology field. As a woman in the field, it could make you feel isolated.”
Realizing that computer science was an international language, Chitra came to the US for her Ph.D. She joined IBM as an IBM Fellow. “It was an ideal place to work on big, meaningful problems.” Her passion for working on those big problems brought her to create Amicus Brain.
Throughout her career, Chitra has followed her passion to help improve representation of women in technology. She spends time mentoring women in high school and college, discussing and researching ethics in AI. “I want young women to see their gender represented in a field that can be so exciting,” she says. “I don’t want them to feel that sense of loneliness and isolation that I did.”
Chitra adds, “Women already in their career deal with loneliness too. They can feel that their voice is not heard or that they aren’t given appropriate credit. That kind of loneliness takes on additional dimensions and is one reason why women leave the field.”
As busy as she is, Chitra gets approached by various women’s groups on a regular basis. She was inspired when heard Chaya Pamula, SheTek and PamTen founder, speak at NJIT Women’s month event.
“There are already many organizations helping women in tech, but not in the same way as SheTek,” she noted with enthusiasm. “SheTek has an angle that I’ve always wanted to help with – training women who have the educational qualifications for technical positions, but need help standing out in the crowd.” Preparing women in real, tangible ways resonates with Chitra, especially work like ensuring women’s resumes show up well for jobs. This let her know – she wanted to be one of the minds behind SheTek to create something!
With Dr. Dorai’s enthusiasm and expertise, we know she is going to help SheTek become a true voice for women in the technology field. We are truly lucky to have this amazing woman as part of the SheTek Team.