A leading machine learning expert and CEO of a self-driving car startup, the University of Toronto’s Raquel Urtasun recently shared some of the secrets to her success in a Globe and Mail article highlighting five Canadian women who are breaking down gender barriers in the automotive industry.
“It’s a combination of very strategic problem solving, never ever giving up, and building an incredible team around me,” Urtasun, a professor of computer science in the Faculty of Arts & Science, told the Globe. “Because it’s not about me, it’s about what together we can do.”
Urtasun, whose startup Waabi has raised more than $100 million in initial financing, noted that women often have to do “ten times more” than male counterparts to be recognized. She also expressed her belief that diversity in hiring needs to focus on career pathways rather than merely placing people in jobs. “It’s not about how many leaders you have, it’s about, do you have a path for them to be reaching up?” she said.
She added that she hopes her efforts with Waabi will leave behind a positive legacy – both through the company’s self-driving technology as well as its own hiring practices. “When I retire one day, I want to look back and say that all this effort and all the things I did were for a reason and impacted the world in a positive manner. We provided change. We provided opportunities for people. We provided a better life for people.”