3 Questions with Cheri Trites-Versluis

Cheri Trites-Versluis, Bold Penguin VP Product and Policy Analyst

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Cheri Trites-Versluis, Bold Penguin VP Product and Policy Analyst:

  1. You were a lawyer before you started working in insuretech. How did you navigate that career transition?

I jumped in with no hesitation.  I absolutely love to learn and challenge myself intellectually.  I was drawn to the digital transformation occurring within insurance carriers and fascinated by the technology solutions with potential to completely change underwriting and product development.  My legal background was focused on insurance coverage and extra-contractual exposure so I was no stranger to the insurance industry; however, I was a stranger to the tech industry.  While it was very intimidating initially, I quickly learned no one knows everything and it takes experts in many areas to build a successful tech organization.  I was able to find my niche and leverage my expertise while taking advantage of the opportunity to immerse myself in the development of AI and ML products.  

  1. What is it about building new technology and AI that you find interesting?

I find it fascinating that building data science models is very similar to teaching a child to read.  It’s a process of repetition and training.  I’m elated reviewing a data science output from a new model.  Tasks that take humans hours to complete can be completed in seconds with a much higher level of accuracy.  It fills me with optimism to think that as AI and ML improve, we will be able to spend more time mentoring for development of growth and leadership skills in our teams and less time training for administrative or repetitive tasks.

  1. What is it like to be in a leadership position as a woman in a field dominated by men?

Honestly, it’s pretty lonely.  I’ve found a lot of similarities to law firms when I began practicing law.  There were a lot of female associates, but very few female partners.  In tech, there are a lot of women in mid-level positions, but very few in leadership positions.  In my opinion, those of us who have achieved a leadership position in tech must commit our time to mentoring and sponsoring women in our industry to develop more women executive leaders.  I experience deep personal satisfaction from my mentoring relationships and find them incredibly rewarding.

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