On September 17th, 2018, dozens of women and a few supportive men gathered in the Ballroom of the Inn at Penn to celebrate this year’s theme at the Wharton Women Annual Dinner: A.I. or Advance, Inspire.
After a very successful career fair where students could network with representatives from various companies ranging from consulting to investment banking to retail, all advanced to the Ballroom for the dinner portion of the evening.
All attendees were eager to spend the evening exchanging with fellow students as well as company representatives about the importance of Advancing and Inspiring. This year’s Keynote Speaker, Athena Karp, was the perfect example of a business woman that was advancing her industry and inspiring others. Athena Karp is the founder and CEO of HiredScore, a software company based in New York City and dedicated to the use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to improve HR activities, with 43 employees, 35 of which are data scientists.
Athena was motivated to start her company because she noticed that financial services and many other professional business industries are still very male-dominated. She said she noticed this fact when she realized that there was always a line for the men’s restroom and no line for the women’s restroom in the office.
There was an unnatural imbalance that required investigating. She discovered that hiring practices are frequently based on items that interviewers think will be gender-neutral but end up being more skewed towards male candidates, such as an interest in golf. Athena was inspired to use tech and data analytics to help companies hire the most qualified candidates in a truly gender unbiased way.
Throughout her speech, Athena Karp captivated the audience and inspired guests to step out of their comfort zone (she was a Chinese foreign policy major, not an engineer) and push themselves to achieve their objectives. After working for a couple of years in Private Equity, she decided one day to leave that PE company and go to Israel to build her project with the best engineers there.
Athena Karp emphasized the importance of taking a step back, realizing how little you may know about certain things, and being willing to learn as much as possible from others.
The businesswoman also highlighted the importance of implementing tech literacy in schools in order to prepare the next generation and teach them the importance of tech in our ever-changing society.
The WW Annual Dinner was definitely a success as guests were inspired to advance and inspire by believing in their strengths and being open to learning as much as possible from others.
Written by Margaux Carré (W’ 21) and Julia Bache (W’ 19).