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WiDS Posts | March 14, 2020

Spotlight: WiDS Innovation Leader Sponsors

The Global WiDS team wants to take a moment to express our deepest gratitude to our WiDS 2020 Innovation Leaders sponsors who have made the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference possible. These sponsors have provided much needed support, enthusiasm, and dedication to the Global WiDS initiative.

General Motors


General Motors (GM) envisions a future of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion. In getting to that future, GM recognizes the need to engage the entire workforce. As GM CEO, Mary Barra, featured in the WiDS 2020 opening video says, “We need women in these roles. Everybody brings their own perspective. We need to make sure that the entire workforce is represented.”

In addition to supporting the main Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference at Stanford, GM also hosted two inaugural regional events in collaboration with local universities. For WiDS Detroit GM collaborated with the University of Michigan, and for WiDS Austin, GM collaborated with University of Texas, Austin. The WiDS Austin ambassador from GM, Meltem Ballan, was also featured in a WiDS podcast episode.



Google has been a sponsor of the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference since 2017 and contributed in many ways, including speakers, participation on WiDS committees, and outstanding support through the Kaggle team, including Maggie Demkin and Wendy Kan, for the WiDS Datathon over the past three years. WiDS Stanford 2020 featured a technical talk by Been Kim from Google Brain. In prior conferences, we heard talks from Carrie Grimes Bostock, Diane Greene, Fei-Fei Li (now back at Stanford), Jia Li, Yoky Matsuoka, and Timnit Gebru. Timnit Gebru was also featured in a WiDS podcast episode.



IBM began sponsoring the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference in 2019. In addition to supporting the main WiDS Stanford event, IBM has hosted or is hosting, or has participated in, dozens of regional events worldwide, from Brazil to Japan to Morocco to the United Arab Emirates, in addition to several in the United States.

IBM has also been an integral part of the WiDS Datathon. IBMer Susan Malaika served on the WiDS Datahon committee, and led the IBM internal datathon workshops effort, guiding WiDS Datathon teams from IBM in their journeys and submissions. Susan also encouraged participation in phase 2 of the WiDS Datathon, the Excellence in Research award, in this article that she co-authored with WiDS Datathon committee member Srujana Kaddevarmuth from Walmart Labs. In addition, WiDS Stanford 2020 featured a technical talk by Rama Akkiraju, an IBM Fellow.



Microsoft has been a sponsor of the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference since 2017. In addition to supporting the WiDS Stanford conference, Microsoft has committee members serving on the WiDS Datathon and WiDS High School initiatives, and has featured speakers at many WiDS regional events worldwide.

In the case of the WiDS Conference, John Hoegger has provided ideas and guidance to help expand WiDS worldwide. With the WiDS Datathon, Vani Mandava has been instrumental in educating participants, including via this webinar on the best practices with healthcare data. Rukmini Iyer served on the WiDS High School committee, as did her daughter, and Rukmini also gave invaluable advice during the WiDS Stanford Career Panel. WiDS Stanford 2020 attendees also heard a technical talk from Ya Xu, from LinkedIn, a Microsoft Company. Finally, Ankita Sharma was featured in the inaugural #WiDStory, talking about her journey from Mumbai to Singapore to Stanford to Microsoft.


PictureTotal has been a sponsor of the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference since 2018. In addition to their support of WiDS Stanford, the team at Total hosts the WiDS Paris regional event. This year, WiDS Paris is being planned as an online conference which will also be broadcasted via livestream. In addition, the WiDS Paris event, with talks in French, will be shared with participants in another WiDS regional event in Haiti, WiDS Port au Prince. One of the WiDS Paris ambassadors, Christiane Kamdem, was featured on an episode of the WiDS Podcast.



MathWorks sponsored WiDS as part of their on-going commitment to supporting programs and initiatives that help further the pace of innovation and create a diverse and level playing field for engineers and scientists.

In addition to support for the conference, Neha Goel and Lauren Tabolinsky both served on the WiDS Datathon committee. For the WiDS Datathon participants, Mathworks provided complimentary software and learning resources.

Thank you
Once again, we owe a debt of gratitude to all of these WiDS Innovation Leader sponsors. Without their support and guidance, the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference would not be possible.

The WiDS Stanford 2020 conference was held on March 2, 2020. If you missed it, please check out the video sessions, and consider participating in an upcoming online WiDS regional event.