Speaker Spotlight: Q&A with Jessica Davies, Senior Disruption Analyst @ Nedbank

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Jessica Davies speaks to us about her role in the technology sector and shares her thoughts on Women in Tech Africa, taking place 18th-19th March in Cape Town.

Jessica Davies is a Senior Disruption Analyst in Nedbank’s Disruption and Innovation team. The team has a global mandate to experiment with, commercialise and fund the most talented teams working on the biggest opportunities, using their expertise to do good. They were awarded the FT Banker’s inaugural fintech partnership Tech Project Award in 2018 for their partnership with agritech company, Aerobotics.

Jessica manages Nedbank’s partnerships with Plug and Play Tech Center, Startupbootcamp, Google Launchpad Accelerator and select universities, and connects the world's best tech talent, startups, scaleups and venture capital firms to one of Africa’s leading banks and its clients.

She will be sharing her knowledge in a session entitled 'What's Next for AI and Machine Learning in Africa? Capitalising on Real-life Applications in 2019' at 15:05 on 18th March. Jessica will share practical insights on how to assess these emerging technologies, looking at the present state of play and the possibilities for future application.

There's still tickets available, book now! JOIN THE MOVEMENTWe caught up with Jessica ahead of the conference, here's what she had to say. 

Why have you decided to get involved with Women in Tech Africa?

I believe it’s important to have female role models in the tech and finance industries - industries traditionally and globally dominated by men - to inspire and motivate other women to pursue careers in these fields. We all need to do our part to make society more inclusive, so I’m always on the lookout to contribute to communities that support and encourage female engagement, empowerment and leadership. I also think it’s important to give back, share our stories and enable others as they grow in their personal journeys.

The Women in Tech Series has created a powerful platform for empowerment and inclusion globally and this is their first event in Africa, which I’m really excited to be a part of.

What are you speaking about at Women in Tech Africa?

My topic is; 'What's Next for AI and Machine Learning in Africa?', and I will share some of the real-life applications Nedbank has and continues to work on in 2019.

What will people learn from listening to your talk?

I would like the audience to walk away with four key points, to:

  • Understand the meaning and recent advances in AI and machine learning.
  • Learn about the practical applications of AI and machine learning.
  • Observe cross-industry future use cases.
  • Explore the potential to use this tech to address Africa’s challenges.

What are you most looking forward to at Women in Tech Africa?

I’m really looking forward to connecting with women across industries to share experiences and learnings.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Working in a disruption team is in its nature unpredictable. On any given day I could be meeting with founders, or meeting with internal stakeholders on experiments we are running and/or testing, or participating in ecosystems events, or working with our partners such as Startupbootcamp and Plug and Play, and of course dealing with my ever-filling inbox.

At the end of a long day, you will likely find me on the sports field unwinding with friends through some good-natured competition.

What advice would you give to women who want to pursue a career in tech?

Keep reading and listening; to constantly stay abreast of what’s happening.

There is so much information available through books, blogs, open-source resources, podcasts etc. that the only thing stopping you from starting is taking that first step.

Interested in mastering the art of disruption like Jessica has? 

Women in Tech Africa is taking place 18th–19th March in Cape TownSouth Africa. In addition to speeches and workshops, there will be a MEETUP stage so that attendees can converse with prominent tech innovators from across Africa on a range of subjects. This includes AI, cloud computing, blockchain, tech career paths and empowering female leadership in male-heavy industries.

There's still tickets available, book now!


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