AI Visionary And Leader Linda Avery Of Verizon
Throughout my career as an unwavering advocate of AI and AI for good, I've had the pleasure of meeting, connecting with, and absorbing wisdom from a variety of individuals. As part of my 10-Part Series of The 9 Inspirational Women Leaders In AI Shaping The 21st Century, I was honored to converse with Linda Avery. Linda is the strategic voice, and visionary for data and analytics at Verizon, focused on using the power of data and AI across the enterprise. Linda joined Verizon in September 2019 and has grown the AI & Data organization to approaching 1,000 contributors by the end of 2021, including teams dedicated to Data Governance, Data Architecture and Engineering, and an AI Center, covering a broad range of disciplines from AI Ethics to Industrialization and Digital Twins.
What personally inspired you to enter the world of AI and Data Analytics?
I have always been drawn to the design of data. As someone who came out of college as an artistic, poetry-writing aspiring author, I saw good data models and architecture as to how the “essence” of what needed to be known by the software could be expressed. As things have advanced, it’s now about pulling out the “truths” and insights from the data through engineering for machine learning—still getting to the essence. That is, in some ways, the poetry of data!
After spending over three decades in the financial sector, what led you to move to Verizon? What are the similarities between these two industries in their use and leverage of data collection and analytics?
Yes, this was a pretty daring move. Still, I’ve always been drawn to areas where things have not yet been figured out—both technically and also across my career, where technology has the opportunity to deeply reinvent how business gets done. The possibilities of what 5G + mobile edge compute + AI can bring to society are remarkable. I was, and still am, particularly interested in the impact these technologies can have in making top-tier healthcare available to those who can’t access it today.