Jodi Detjen, Namee Oberst, and Rulonna Neilson discussed the multifaceted challenges for women in technology and finance, underscoring the intersectionality of systemic barriers, educational gaps, and societal biases. (Learn more about the speakers here)

The speakers collectively presented a compelling case for the necessity of inclusive practices in the ideation, design, and implementation phases of technological innovations. Through their discussions, they painted a vision of a more equitable future in technology and finance, where women’s participation is not only encouraged but seen as essential to driving innovation and ensuring the development of fair and unbiased AI systems.

Their key messages, rooted in their diverse experiences and expertise, provided a blueprint for action that spans individual, organizational, and societal levels. Together, they underscored the importance of creating spaces where women can thrive as leaders, innovators, and contributors to the rapidly evolving landscapes of technology and finance.


Some statistics:

Namee emphasized the urgent need to address the underrepresentation of women in the development and application of AI technologies with some statistics she sees regularly:

  • Only 3% of the viewership on AI Bloks YouTube platform, which focuses on AI content, were women. 
  • Within AI Bloks Discord community, which serves as a space for discussions and collaborations on AI projects, less than five women participated out of a group of approximately 350 members. 


Key messages

Rulonna Neilson
“Let’s intentionally weave inclusivity into the fabric of our technological and financial innovations from the outset. We must challenge ourselves and our organizations to not just invite women to the table, but to ensure they have a voice in shaping the future of fintech. Remember, diversity is not just a metric to aspire to; it’s a strategy for success. 


Namee Oberst
“Our platforms and communities reflect this crisis, with women significantly underrepresented. This isn’t just about numbers; it”The underrepresentation of women in AI development isn’t just a problem for women; it’s a challenge for the entire tech industry and society at large. We need to demystify AI and make it accessible to everyone, especially women who might not see themselves as tech-savvy. 


Jodi Detjen
“In a world increasingly driven by AI, we cannot afford to leave half the population behind. It’s time to dismantle the systemic barriers that deter women from pursuing careers in AI and technology.

“The stark underrepresentation of women in AI signifies not just a gender gap but a looming innovation crisis. We’re missing out on half the population’s talent and perspectives.”


Calls to action 

Rulonna Neilson
As we venture into new markets and technologies, let’s make a conscious effort to include diverse perspectives that can drive more innovative, equitable, and sustainable solutions. To all industry leaders, I urge you to look around your development teams and ask, ‘Whose voices are we missing, and how can we bring them into the conversation?'”


Namee Oberst
To my fellow developers and tech entrepreneurs, I challenge you to create tools and resources that invite, educate, and empower women to join the AI revolution. Let’s also champion initiatives that provide mentorship and support for women aspiring to enter the tech field. I urge everyone, particularly women, to ‘Dare to explore AI. Your engagement and contributions are essential to ensuring that the future of AI is inclusive, equitable, and reflective of the diverse world we live in.'”


Jodi Detjen
To educators and policymakers, I say, ‘Implement curriculum changes that demystify technology and showcase the pivotal role women have played—and can play—in shaping our digital future.’ 

And to women everywhere: believe in your capacity to innovate and lead in the tech world. Your perspective is invaluable, and your participation is crucial.”

About the speakers

Jodi Detjen
Jodi is an accomplished organizational consultant, researcher and educator with a foundation in operational change management. Her mission is to help realize inclusion in the workplace as soon as possible. Jodi is Associate Dean of Innovative Programs and Education, Associate Professor of Practice in Management and Academic MBA Program Director at Suffolk University, Boston, MA. Jodi also is co-Managing Partner of Orange Grove Consulting, a firm focused on Organization Inclusion. She has worked in organizational development for over 25 of years transforming the way people work at small and large companies.
She is co-author of the 2021 book, The Next Smart Step: How to Overcome Gender Stereotypes and Build a Stronger Organization and The Orange Line: A Woman’s Guide to Integrating Career, Family, and Life.
Jodi earned her B.Sc. in Management Science from Virginia Tech, an MA in International Development Policy from Duke University and a Doctorate in Business Administration at Temple University.


Namee Oberst
Namee is the Founder of AI Bloks, makers of LLMWare, an innovative AI framework and small specialized models revolutionizing the landscape of LLM-based application development in financial services and legal industries. Namee began her career as a Corporate Attorney at
Latham & Watkins in Silicon Valley with deep expertise in Corporate Finance and M&A, and also served as Assistant General Counsel at a leading public insurance brokerage firm. Combining her extensive experience in legal and finance industry with a passion for AI, Namee developed
with her team an integrated framework that simplifies enterprise-grade AI adoption through open-source models and platforms.


Rulonna Neilson
Rulonna is COO at Community Capital Technology Inc. (CCT), a B2B loan trading exchange and business intelligence platform providing financial institutions a simpler, smarter and more cost-effective way to buy, sell and/or participate out loans of any type. She has spent much of her career as an entrepreneur, advisor and executive with early- and growth-stage FinTechs, nurturing new companies and concepts from inception to scaling. Prior to CCT, Rulonna was Managing Director, U.S. at Opportunity Network, an international business networking platform, where she was instrumental in launching the firm’s first U.S. bank partnership and growing the firm’s North American footprint.  She received a B.A. in Government, with honors, from Harvard College and subsequently studied international politics and economics at Cambridge University, U.K.

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