Bit Bio, the U.K.-based startup, only needed three weeks to raise $41.5 million in a Series A funding round that will be used to support the company’s goal to transition biology into engineering.
This synthetic biology team was founded by stem cell biologist and neurosurgeon, Mark Kotter, in 2016 to commercialize biotechnology that can reduce the cost and increase the production capacity for differentiated human cells. These cells can be used in targeted therapies and as a method to accelerate pharmaceutical drug discovery. Bit Bio’s goal is to be able to reproduce every human cell type, boosting basic research and enabling a new generation of cell therapies.
How can this type of cell therapy specifically help? By generating every cell type in the human body, this biotechnology will help unlock solutions for tackling cancer, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Bit Bio’s approach will also help reduce expenses, aid drug discovery, and decrease the reliance on animal studies.
Quantic alum, Grant Belgard, is the Head of Bioinformatics at Bit Bio. The company’s website explains the centrality of computation: “Bit Bio represents the two fields: coding and biology that determine the identity of every human cell. Ultimately, bits are the building blocks of code, just as cells are the building blocks of life. This is reflective of what Bit Bio does: precise reprogramming of human stem cells.”
Belgard is also the Chief Scientist and CEO of The Bioinformatics CRO. The company was developed as the subject of his Capstone project in Quantic’s Executive MBA program. The flexibility of the curriculum enabled Belgard to learn, while simultaneously building his new company and pursuing his professional goals.
Now, Belgard’s goal for The Bioinformatics CRO is to streamline biomedical research worldwide. This represents a new breed of contract research organization that offers quality customized bioinformatics services to global biotechnology companies.
Biotechnology companies, like Bit Bio and The Bioinformatics CRO, will help merge biology and engineering and can help bring about long-awaited precision for stem cell research and help improve the lives of millions.
The Quantic community is thrilled for Grant and his colleagues. We can’t wait to see what he does next and how this combination of data science and biology will help code cells for the well-being of humanity.
Wondering what it’s like to be a Quantic student? To start, Quantic’s award-winning active-learning platform is much more than an app. As a student, you’ll engage with a global network of highly driven professionals who are leaders in their respective fields. You’ll have opportunities to discuss coursework and case studies and share perspectives with classmates virtually and in person at meetups and Executive MBA conferences held around the world.
In addition to collaborating with classmates, Quantic students can take advantage of a variety of resources to help further their learning and prepare them with the skills needed to excel in today’s business world. The library includes membership to paid databases and you’ll have lifelong access to all courses — including those that have yet to be added to the curriculum so you’ll always be equipped with the latest in-demand skill sets.
Quantic is committed to helping students reach their goals post graduation, too. To support you, Quantic has an in-house research advisor who can help guide your studies and make sure you’re getting the most out of your experience. And our resume and cover letter consultations ensure you’re putting your best foot forward with future career moves. Also, you’ll have access to exciting job opportunities through our built-in career network, Smartly Talent.
Interested in the #ModernMBA? See what the Quantic experience is all about.
The coronavirus has a lot of us sitting around the house these days, scrolling through our phones or tablets. Skimming Instagram and Twitter have become common ways to pass the time, and while you may not think more screen time is the answer to the quarantine blues, some apps are proving to have benefits for the mind, body, and improving daily life. Quantic students have developed apps that help make dinner possible, ease anxiety, and get you back on track with your fitness goals during this crisis.
In direct response to the global COVID-19 crisis, Quantic MBA Alum, Albert Brown, and his team launched Kyoo Curbside. Kyoo has helped hundreds of businesses rapidly set up online ordering with no-contact, curbside pickup orders. Because of its popularity, it was fast-tracked by Square to become an official ordering partner and it is now the only free product listed. Merchants can set up their store in a snap. Items import automatically from their Square menu and they can accept orders right away. Customers can place orders on mobile, web, kiosk, or simply by text message. They receive instant text message updates to keep them moving through the queue and provide clear instructions to get their order fulfilled.
Staying home? Stay active! Quantic MBA Alum, Yash Jain, developed Hero Trainer to help us reach our fitness goals. The mobile app allows users to earn rewards in their favorite video games for exercising. A little walk around the house, or on the treadmill can earn people premium paid reward codes. The app tracks your steps on a walk or run. You earn points for each step and exchange those for reward codes to your favorite games.
We could all use a little mood boost to help cope with quarantine. EMBA Learner, Kamran Qamar, developed a clinically designed self-help app for depression and anxiety. Mooditude helps you identify and change your thinking using transformative Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). For lasting cure, you can build mood-lifting habits using goals and routines. When you feel stuck, go deep and find solutions to your specific problem within the dozens of psychiatrist developed programs.
It’s exciting and uplifting to see our students take action and find ways to stay productive, engaged, and mindful while life — in some respects — stands still. Here’s to those who #ChangeTheCourse.
South32 Connectivity & Cyber Security Program Manager, Barbara Meyer knew she wanted to earn her MBA. Being a working mom, she needed a program that would fit into her busy schedule. Here is a note on her Quantic experience, why she believes all moms can achieve their professional goals, break down stereotypes, and become rockstar role models for their children:
Moms should feel welcome in MBA programs and not feel held back because child-bearing years and MBA programs coincide. Furthermore, moms should not be left having to choose between a family and furthering a career, through study. Although business schools have been encouraging more women to join master’s programs, they still have not reached gender parity.
As a single mother of a toddler, I found myself in the middle of this dilemma. I realised that in supporting my daughter’s growth as an independent, strong, educated woman, I needed to be a role model for her. I needed to be the best version of myself and put myself in a position to advance my professional career. The tricky part was how to accomplish this without feeling like I was relinquishing responsibility and missing precious time with my daughter.
As an IT program and project manager, I often thought that an MBA might provide me with a well rounded business foundation, which might be the next step to advance my career. However, everything I knew about traditional MBA courses seemed to be daunting: excessive cost, fixed on-site lectures or block periods, lengthy course durations, and sacrifices beyond my appetite. This was true until I came across an online invitation to a free MBA with Quantic.
I was hooked. Everything I hoped to have in a MBA course was packaged into the Executive MBA online offering: it was not only flexible, mobile and affordable, but also pedagogically sound and ensured active student participation (the first 11 years of my career were spent as a STEM teacher), a global network of alumni, and best of all, it could be completed in 12 months.
In the past eight months of studying, I found that the pace and schedule were manageable, while balancing my everyday life. I am very privileged to have flexible working hours and lots of support from my employer, South32. With the mobile application available 24/7, I used every spare five minutes to complete a learning unit. This happened during lunch time, sitting somewhere waiting in a queue, 15 minutes after I woke up or went to bed, and especially the time at night when the little one would wake up and I couldn’t fall back to sleep (don’t all moms know this midnight joy?). Thus far, it has been an enjoyable, highly interesting journey and well worth the effort. Even in this short time, I have been able to incorporate my learning into my day job and have applied some of the principles to make innovative changes.
Were there difficult times? Yes, especially during the time that we were both sick. Are the exams and assignments challenging? Yes, you must put in extra effort during exam week. Is the Quantic staff helpful and supportive? For sure, they know that students are human, life happens, and that there is always a plan to get back on schedule.
The most pleasantly unexpected experience with my Executive MBA was during one of my exams, as highlighted in an email I wrote:
“I wanted to share with you a precious moment and why I love the format of the Quantic EMBA. I have been working diligently during the hours that my daughter is asleep (because I do not want to impact the little time we have during the day) and thus far, it has worked very well. I try to do most of my exams early in the morning, before she wakes up. At 5:15am, I settled in behind my machine, ready to take on the Operations and Project Management exam. Instead of her waking up as normal around 7am, she woke at 5:30am. Needless to say, I had a curious, happy-to-be-alive, wanting-to-be-with-mommy, toddler. I almost had a panic attack but decided to make the most of the situation.
As she played, I finished my exam through all the questions, requests and played along. The picture says it all. Although it took a little longer, the end result was a whopping 93% and a very happy little girl. I can’t think of a better result :-).
I hope that it can be an encouragement to more mothers out there; it is possible to complete the Quantic EMBA, tend to your family and work full-time. Thank you again Quantic for enabling continuous studies and making it possible to have fun doing it.”
It is my hope that more women will join the increasing network of MBA alumni. Quantic has gone the extra mile to make moms feel welcome in the Executive MBA program. Quantic has designed their Executive MBA program in such a way that a mom is not trapped in the compromises of choosing between career advancement, further studies and raising a family. Moms, let’s go forth to equip ourselves for professional success, model an example for our children, and help to break down barriers and stereotypes with an Executive MBA.
In today’s job market, having a competitive resume means having solid work experience and degrees from top educational institutions. However, there comes a time when many people are forced to choose between continuing their studies or adding to their work experience in order to advance their careers. Fortunately, Quantic’s free and mobile-friendly MBA allows students to do it all.
Alumnus Patrick Glauner is a perfect example of this. While he was earning his MBA, Patrick was also working towards his PhD in computer science.
Patrick graduated as Valedictorian from Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences in 2012, where he earned his B.Sc. in computer science. At that time, he was hired by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, where he worked for 3 years. He then went on to earn his M.Sc. in machine learning from Imperial College London in 2015 and his PhD in computer science from the University of Luxembourg in 2019. He first became interested in computer science as a kid, and taught himself how to program, and later, spent time in high school reading books about data structures and algorithms.
While he was in the final year of his PhD studies, Patrick saw that the depth and focus of the degree could lead to a narrow career trajectory and he was unsure if being a specialist was right for him. That’s when he decided that he wanted to earn his MBA — to gain knowledge that would position him to move into management roles where he would oversee cross-functional teams and fast-forward through speed bumps slowing others down. With this, he chose to enter the workforce and secured a management job with a major mechanical engineering company, Krones.
“Having done the MBA was certainly very helpful from finishing the PhD and to going into management in a major company,” said Patrick. He went on to say, “I felt that I was only able to do that so quickly because I had done the MBA in addition to my technical training.”
When Patrick was able to complete his PhD, he became a full professor of artificial intelligence at Deggendorf Institute of Technology in Germany at the young age of 30. He became a professor after discovering an affinity for teaching while working as an adjunct lecturer. However, he witnessed other professors’ careers slowing down at points when real world work experience became essential to have in order to teach certain topics. He decided that continuing his work in artificial intelligence was vital to being at the top of his game as a professor.
“When I knew I wanted to do a professorship, I knew I wanted to do something on the side that kept me linked to the real world. I wanted to work with companies and not just write papers,” said Patrick.
Patrick started his own artificial intelligence consulting company, skyrocket.ai, with the purpose of teaching company executives about artificial intelligence and helping them develop strategies to implement it effectively. As an expert on AI technology, Patrick believes that many small to mid-size companies in almost any industry could benefit greatly if AI is implemented properly. He also believes that if companies don’t invest in AI, then they could very well be out of the market within the next 10 years.
However, Patrick also said that AI could have negative effects for individuals. He brought up the dilemma that companies face when deciding to use AI or a human.
“We’ve seen automation for a long time. But what had happened in the past is that we automated repetitive tasks,” said Patrick. “Humans are great at making very different decisions all day long, but it is also very slow. AI enables us to automate that kind of work.”
When Patrick had just started his company, he quickly secured a major client. The board of a top-30 company in Germany with over a 100,000 employees hired his company to put on a workshop about AI to help them develop strategies and implement them. Starting a business is no small feat, and having a major company be one of your first clients is a testament to Patrick’s expertise. But how did Patrick manage to do all this so quickly?
“One of the things that proved to be very helpful was that I had experience in the industry and that I’ve worked in consulting before. It made it very easy to start my own business because I had a network, the skills and expertise, and I knew how to sell things,” said Patrick.
In addition, his newly acquired knowledge from Quantic’s MBA was beneficial, as it gave reliable support for his already acquired industry experience. Patrick’s advice for up-and-coming entrepreneurs? Have a clear business plan and make sure that you build trust with other businesses. Patrick stressed the importance of prior work experience and how that plays into building credibility and a positive reputation. His advice once again demonstrates the importance of the intersection of education and extensive work experience.
Patrick has published many papers and articles from his extensive research in academia. A major study on AI by McKinsey cited his research, and a journalist from New Scientist interviewed him about his AI technology research. However, when asked about what accomplishments he’s most proud of, Patrick immediately responded that the recent birth of his child is his crowning achievement. Congrats to Patrick and his wife, a fellow Quantic student, on their new baby!
There are many reasons why students choose to earn their MBA from Quantic. Quantic offers innovative degree programs that are online and mobile, so students can learn wherever they want. And for many, the highly selective and global nature of Quantic’s admissions is a major draw—all in service of building an impressive and engaged network of students and alumni around the world.
Unlike many online education platforms, Quantic provides its learners with myriad opportunities to meet and connect. Quantic’s Network allows students and alumni from the MBA and EMBA programs to discover students located in their geographic area and who share similar interests. And with the recent addition of the Network Events tab, students can now do more than just communicate on the platform; they can also connect in person.
In the Events tab, students can peruse the many community events Quantic has to offer. These range from in-person conferences, meetups, and special events to online orientations and book clubs, where students discuss the monthly book pick over video chat. Some of the most significant networking opportunities in Quantic’s highly engaged network are the in-person meetups and conferences held in cities around the world.
Quantic meetups allow for students to make real-world connections with their classmates. Meetups range from sharing dinner with one another at local restaurants to a special event such as touring Facebook’s NYC Headquarters. Recent meetup cities include Toronto, Berlin, Taipei, and Sydney. Quantic has hosted meetups in over 40 cities in 2019 alone, including trips to tour the United States Capitol building and London’s Houses of Parliament.
While meetups primarily bring together students and alumni who live in the same city, the weekend-long Executive MBA conferences draw students from (nearly) every continent. Conference itineraries vary from city to city and provide unique opportunities for students to experience and learn about the city they’re in. In 2019, conferences were held in Washington D.C., Singapore, and Dublin, with the next scheduled for Spring of 2020 in Copenhagen.
Conferences provide an excellent opportunity for students to not only network with other students and alumni, but to learn about real world businesses. Students partake in workshops, collaborate on case studies, hear talks from prominent business leaders, and visit successful local businesses to gain new perspectives and insights on how businesses are run across industries and in different countries.
Why does Quantic put so much emphasis on students networking virtually and through conferences and meetups?
According to Alexie Harper, Quantic’s Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer, “Networking provides students with new career opportunities and allows them to meet the right people who may later provide them with career resources and support when they need it.”
Networking can even be a source of inspiration—presenting different paths of success that others have taken and that you have perhaps overlooked. Particularly in mid-to-senior level management roles and for students embarking upon an entrepreneurial endeavor, networking is a vital component for advancing one’s career, avoiding stagnation, and making the most out of opportunities that arise.
There’s evidence that networking plays a major role in hiring. The chart below from SilkRoad’s 2018 research report on hiring sources shows that referrals were the largest source of job hires by a long shot.
This chart from Statista shows that friends and professional connections provided the most new opportunities for job seekers in 2018.
Through student projects that encourage students to work together to solve business issues, student meetups and events around the world, and the Network tab features, Quantic students are encouraged to build meaningful connections.
So go on. Meet new people, reconnect with old acquaintances, and grow your network. You never know where it could lead.
From art teacher to Facebook partner, Ian stresses the importance of finding your “common thread”
Something that most (if not all) Quantic students have in common is the desire to learn. Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds, with interests and expertise in everything from biotechnology, investment banking, and engineering, to start-ups, non-profits, and more. Some of these students, often with an insatiable sense of curiosity, wish to earn a degree in business so that they can transition into a new field. Moving from one industry to another can be difficult, but it goes smoother with the right mindset and guidance. This is the lesson that Quantic Executive MBA student Ian Saville learned and mastered.
Ian has changed career courses multiple times. In high school, he wanted to become a priest, but was also interested in math and physics. So upon entering his freshman year in college, he was set to double major in physics and religion at The University of the South. But, ever in search of a challenge, Ian opted for a major that pushed him out of his comfort zone: art. He realized that math and physics had answers that were too defined. He was drawn to art because there aren’t right or wrong answers, and that openness left room for him to problem solve and figure things out on his own. Upon this realization, he switched majors and completed his B.A. in studio art, and then earned his M.A. in Art Education from Columbia University.
“I think a lot of art making is about problem solving, coming up with unique expressions and novel ideas to address issues,” said Ian. “It’s challenging, and I like challenges.”
Problem solving is a big deal for Ian. It is something that has guided his career, influencing the various jobs he’s pursued. After college, Ian became a middle school art teacher in New York City because he felt it would help promote kids’ ability to problem solve and think critically. While he was passionate about educating kids, he realized that being a teacher wasn’t his true calling.
Ian then went on to become a career coach. He said that he wanted to help people reach that moment where they realize their potential and what they really want to be doing. He believes that if you can think about the underlying concept of why you are passionate about something, then you can find clarity in what you want to do. While he preached this concept to others, Ian realized that he needed to do this himself.
Ian needed to make a change — a big one. The thought of moving into a new industry can be an anxiety-inducing endeavor; there’s always the risk that what you think you want to do, won’t actually pan out in reality. It’s cause for some serious self-discovery and Ian heeded the call. He decided to meet with a mentor of his to find clarity.
Ian’s mentor helped him recognize that there was one thing connecting all his jobs and interests — a desire to help people grow. Ian originally wanted to be a priest to help people, he became an art teacher to help kids, and he was a career coach to help people improve their lives. This commonality was the beacon Ian needed to figure out his next step.
“I think there’s something about career transitions and pivots where it feels really daunting, but once you understand what that common thread of your work is, it actually makes it a lot easier,” said Ian. “But you really have to do the work and reflect on it to get there.”
This realization may sound simple, but it is not easy to come to. It takes a great deal of patience and focus to truly take an objective look at yourself and figure out your strengths, weaknesses, and passions. Ian did not simply snap his fingers and figure it out.
“It took a lot of screwups,” said Ian. “I had a lot of really bad interviews in that process. It’s not like an overnight ‘aha.’”
Even though Ian had figured out what he wanted to do, he struggled to convey his industry-hopping in a way that was attractive to employers. Ian realized that he had been going about it all wrong, and that he was trying to hide and downplay his teaching experience instead of using it as a strength. He figured out that the main idea of teaching is “taking abstract concepts and turning them concrete.” By reframing his experience in this light, he discovered that his work had quite a few parallels to the tech industry.
It was in this reframing that Ian was able to land a job at Facebook, where he started as a Knowledge Manager before his current position as a Learning and Development Partner. Even at Facebook, Ian continues this idea of improving the way people figure out what’s important, out of an abundance of unnecessary junk, and builds knowledge pipelines to streamline the essential information.
“When we think about learning and development, there’s the need for learning and there’s the solution,” said Ian. “If we could reduce the amount of time between the need and the solution, then we are doing the right work.”
If you’ve been following this blog, you might sense a theme in the people we’ve profiled for Student Spotlights — they are all natural leaders. Ian is no different. In his career advising, he worked with executive-level clientele and learned a great deal about leadership. He believes that the key to being a good leader is consistency; consistent in how they delegate, ask questions, and create inclusive environments where everyone’s voice can be heard. Ian says that leaders need to think about the people they are leading and put themselves in their shoes.
“Be really empathetic to the people you are trying to empower or influence,” said Ian. “What do they want? What’s in it for them? Why should they care about your perspective?”
Ian also believes that good leaders need to be conscious of what they do and don’t know. It is important to reflect on themselves and think about where they have weaknesses and who under them has strengths in those areas.
“Great leaders have the awareness of knowing what they don’t know and can bring in others quickly to fill the gaps,” said Ian. “A bad leader is someone who holds all of the pieces to themselves and feel as though they need to be in control all of the time.”
Outside of advising others and his work at Facebook, Ian stays occupied by looking for other problems that need solving — in one instance, finding a better way for kids to learn Chinese. So, he and his wife created a children’s music book that teaches Chinese. The idea for the book came from Ian’s wife, Peipei, who was born in Shanghai. She wanted their son to learn the language but they soon realized that it was difficult to find books that teach young children Chinese. Peipei and Ian accepted the challenge and recently published the book, Bao Bao Learns Chinese.
During this process, Ian’s knack (or perhaps, penchant) for problem solving came into play when he and his wife had to figure out a business plan, despite neither of them running a business before. While Peipei was the one who actually created the book, Ian supported her with the business aspects. Even though Ian was a novice in this arena, the business parts of launching this venture went smoothly, thanks to the knowledge he gained in Quantic’s Executive MBA program. Ian said that Quantic helped with the awareness of business principles and decision making needed for the success of the book. Ian and Peipei, who works at Facebook as well, also used their combined knowledge of digital marketing to help launch the book.
Ian leveraging what he learned in Quantic to publish a book is something that reflects Quantic students as a whole — they are driven, self-motivated people who aren’t afraid to tackle new challenges. These students actively seek new opportunities, such as continued learning and switching industries, in their quest to reach their true potential. While transitioning to a new industry may seem scary and difficult, Ian’s talent for navigating complexities and the discovery of his “common thread” allowed him to find his dream job. It’s a story we can all learn from and ask ourselves as we broach any major career change — what’s my common thread?
The following post is by Lindsey Allard (MBA 2016), Co-founder of PlaybookUX, a video-based user feedback solution for B2B companies.
It was 2015, and I had recently graduated from Dartmouth College with a liberal arts degree. I was looking for a way to gain general business knowledge while working as a product manager, and I came across the Quantic School of Business and Technology MBA. During my time in the program, I loved the courses because I was able to learn useful concepts in a short, quiz-like format that fit with my full-time work schedule. I didn’t have to stare at endless textbook passages. Everything was on my smartphone, and I could constantly test myself to ensure the content was committed to memory.
After my Quantic graduation in 2016, I worked as a product manager at a new company. I was leading a team of developers building SaaS products and mobile apps. Product managers are like “mini CEOs”. You need to know a little about a lot of things, and Quantic helped expand my areas of expertise during this point in my career.
After a few years of working at different start-ups, I decided to take the leap and co-found my user research company PlaybookUX with another Quantic alum, Kristen. User research is the process of getting feedback on things like product usability, pricing model, marketing copy, and concepts. By getting direct feedback from your target demographic, you are able to make better product and business decisions. However, as I know from my time as a product manager, the process of conducting user research has big challenges, like being extremely time-consuming and requiring a lot of manual work. And I didn’t see solutions out there that successfully addressed all the problems.
When developing PlaybookUX we sought to solve three main pain points:
Finding the right participants is challenging for B2B companies
Here’s how we solve these pain points with PlaybookUX:
Our product solicits video-based feedback, so that product owners can remotely conduct research, and then easily store and reference video records, ultimately saving them lots of time.
Again on the saving-time front, we do everything from recruiting the right participants, to incentivizing them, transcribing the sessions, and analyzing the videos with A.I. to extract actionable insights.
We have an affordable, pay-for-what-you-use pricing model so that customers don’t need to commit to large subscription fees up-front. This expands access to UX research to start-ups, founders, and small business owners. Previously, they were priced out.
Our testing participants are verified through LinkedIn so businesses know exactly who they’re speaking to.
During the process of launching my company, I leaned on Quantic lessons. Financial topics were always difficult to wrap my head around, and I was able to successfully price our product and build our business model with that in mind.
On top of the valuable knowledge gained from Quantic, I’ve been able to leverage the student network to get in touch with like-minded product managers. The network is a strong supplement to my undergraduate network.
At PlaybookUX our goal is to make user testing accessible to everyone. At the time of this post, we’ve been launching for a few months. It’s been a great few months—with hundreds of clients using our platform. We’ve had success with UX Researchers and Designers, but our goal is to make research easy for Product Managers. In the future, I plan to lean on the Quantic network for advice on growth hacking to take PlaybookUX to the next level.
Quantic students are often initially attracted to the program for its flexibility and affordability, but there’s something deeper at play that draws people in — particularly those of a certain mindset. To truly be successful in the program one must be highly self-motivated, disciplined, and passionate about learning new skills. Amy Dalton, a Quantic Executive MBA student and Senior UX Designer at GE Aviation, has these traits in spades. Like many Quantic students and alumni, Amy’s resume credentials are impressive, yet they don’t convey the full scope of the accomplishments she’s had outside of her “standard” job description.
As a UX designer, Dalton has built her career in a male-dominated field and has placed an emphasis on attracting and empowering other women and girls to enter this line of work. Though she’s been met with obstacles in her own career, she has never stopped advocating for herself and others. From public speaking engagements, mentorship, charity work, and founding an award-winning program for GE Women, Dalton’s drive to improve her career prospects and those of others is something worth acknowledging.
Dalton is from Toledo, Ohio and studied journalism at Ohio University. However, she was more interested in graphic design and after graduating, decided to pursue user experience (UX), eventually leading to her current position with GE. While her inevitable trajectory doesn’t directly apply to the degree she earned, Dalton said that her background in journalism has been incredibly valuable in her career because “communication and the ability to write well is such an important part of any job you have,” and it allows you to come up with ideas and communicate them clearly and succinctly.
This knack for communication is evident in her multiple public speaking engagements. Dalton was a guest speaker at the 2019 GE Women In Science & Engineering Symposium, the keynote speaker at Early Career Women Collective’s Co-Create Live 2019, and a guest speaker at New Orleans’ FrontEndParty. These experiences not only reaffirm Dalton’s ability to command the attention of a room, they are a testament to the value that her words and actions bring to others. In short — her words of wisdom are in high demand.
Further proving her leadership abilities, Dalton was the recipient of the 2018 GE Women’s Network Empower and Inspire Award, which recognizes women across the 280,000 person company for outstanding work and engagement that supports the Women’s Network (WN). As a Co-Lead for the WN, Dalton is committed to supporting women in STEM fields.
“I have a passion for bringing more women and girls into technology because it’s always been a struggle to achieve gender parity in the field,” said Dalton. “I’ve been in it my entire career and there are relatively few women in the field — and for those who are in it, there are a unique set of challenges we face everyday.”
Dalton said that getting more women into STEM fields starts early, “it’s about exposure at a young age to spark their interest in it.” This is why she helped start GE Girls Camp, a week-long free STEM camp for 12-14 year-old girls. During the camp, girls learn to code, are introduced to robotics, and can even learn about cybersecurity and other in-demand sectors of the industry. The importance of early involvement serves as a pathway for young women to envision a career that they may not have otherwise pursued.
Dalton isn’t just working on opening doors for young minds, she also started a program aimed at empowering women in the GE Women’s Network called Bragging Rights. Dalton initially had the idea to start the program after meeting a few of the GE interns. Even though they were just out of high school, they had accomplished amazing things and few people in the company knew much about them. This experience mirrored another observation Dalton had had — too few women spoke up about their accomplishments in the workplace. This had implications for career progression too, as she learned that women are often less likely to seek acknowledgement for their work than men. In fact, men are four times more likely to ask for a raise than women. Bragging Rights became a forum to enable and encourage women to openly and proudly share their accomplishments and challenges in life and in their career. These stories have become powerful sources of validation for those sharing them and inspiration for others involved in the program. Bragging Rights, which started at Dalton’s hub in New Orleans, took off and is now available at nine locations and still expanding. Dalton describes the program as “inexpensive but so effective” in its ability to provide women with the opportunity to grow their confidence and learn about each other.
“I think a lot of times women feel isolated and don’t have the natural tendency to put themselves out there as much,” said Dalton. “If we as women band together and understand each other’s skill sets, then we can help each other get promoted and put each other out there. We’re more likely to give kudos and talk about the person sitting next to us, than talk about ourselves. We’re more likely to lift that person up than lift ourselves up.”
Dalton is a natural leader. Prior to working at GE, she spent six years working at Ochsner Health System, where she held a management position for three years. While in this role, Dalton received the highest “employee engagement” score, a figure determined by how her direct reports rated her as a manager. Dalton received a score 20 points higher than the next highest score.
The key to Dalton’s successful management style? A more personal approach. She wanted to learn about the people she managed as much as possible, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. “If you spend enough time getting to know people and listening, really listening, you’re going to understand them enough to guide them,” said Dalton. “I focus so much attention on helping them be better at their jobs.”
This ability to listen, empathize, and understand others is perhaps one reason why Dalton is such a talented UX designer. “When you understand things from the user perspective and you put importance on that, that’s when your product is going to be successful,” said Dalton. “When I’ve had an awesome product owner, it’s because they put the person first and understood the value of UX.”
In her senior leadership role, Dalton emphasized the need for executives to have, at a minimum, a basic understanding of UX and design. In our digitally-driven world, having the ability to view and build online experiences from the perspective of the customer is essential. Being well-versed across disciplines is one reason Dalton decided to pursue an Executive MBA with Quantic School of Business and Technology. By adding business acumen to her technical expertise, Dalton is positioning herself to take on bigger roles and broaden her invaluable influence on her organization — and if past experiences are any indication, she’s more than ready to take on whatever is next.