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Anna’s #BenevolentStory: empowering women to create a more equal workplace

Welcome to our latest #BenevolentStory, where we talk to a member of our team about their journey, what they do in their role and what motivated them to join BenevolentAI.

Today’s post is all about Anna Muñoz Farré, who tells us about working at the intersection of technology and medicine and her passion for building a gender inclusive workplace.

Tell us about the work you do at BenevolentAI, and what your typical workday looks like?

I work as an AI Scientist in the Precision Medicine team. Historically, there has been a standard treatment for a given disease, but medicine has now shifted to attempting to personalise treatments for each patient subtype. To do so, we work on developing models that use electronic health records to find clinically relevant patient subgroups that we can map to specific molecular signatures. I usually pair-work and discuss the project with other AI Scientists, Translational Medicine Scientists, and Engineers, which is super interesting as it opens up my way of thinking to different perspectives.

I go to the office almost every day, so my day starts with a coffee from our espresso machine (yes, a professional one!). I can safely conclude I have reached perfection in terms of milk temperature and texture, but I have yet to master the latte art.

I find that pairing with a teammate helps to better share knowledge, have more fruitful discussions, and solve problems more effectively

What has your growth story been within BenevolentAI?

I started at BenevolentAI working as a Data Scientist, and got to work on different projects that allowed me to explore what I enjoyed the most: working with patient level data, learning about drug discovery, and being involved in a project to uncover new treatments for a specific disease. 

At the beginning of the year, I was given the autonomy to explore new methods for extracting information from electronic health records. The work evolved into a full research project, and has now become a priority in my team.  This opportunity made me confirm that my favourite part of Data Science was AI/machine learning, so I went through the process of changing my role to become an AI Scientist. My manager and BenevolentAI encouraged me from the beginning, recognising that this would have a high impact on my career trajectory. 

What inspires you to log in every day?

On a personal level, I founded BenevolentAI’s Gender Network, alongside some of my female-identifying colleagues, last year. The network provides a safe space to discuss and share experiences and perspectives around gender issues. Even though there have been massive developments in recent years, the tech sector is still not quite there. It is historically male dominated, so many of our experiences as women in tech are so common that they are often intrinsically accepted; sharing them makes them evident and motivates us to find solutions. We meet monthly to chat, and also invite speakers and organise events for the entire company, as it is essential that everyone gets involved. It has honestly been incredible to meet and talk to so many amazing women (and allies!), and I am really grateful for having built a support network at work. 

I believe it’s critical that everyone has a voice and confidence to speak up, regardless of their experience, and feel empowered to develop personally and professionally. This is why it is so crucial to have female colleagues that we can relate to, who can act as role models and make us feel that we can also “get there”. 

Sharing drinks and laughter with colleagues at a BenevolentAI happy hour in London

What do you enjoy most about working at BenevolentAI?

I love the diversity of backgrounds I get to work with, and how much I have been able to learn from the people here. As someone with no official biology background, I have learned more about human biology and the drug discovery process than I ever thought possible, but there is still so much more to learn! Benevolent is really a unique place for this: you’re constantly exposed to new concepts , and there are so many projects and opportunities, you never get bored!

More generally, there is a great vibe, and people are genuinely really nice - you feel welcome from day one.

Taking on the role of quizmaster at BenevolentAI’s Innovation Week 2022

What made you decide to apply to BenevolentAI?

I studied Industrial Engineering in Barcelona. After joining the biomechanics lab at my university, I discovered a love for medicine while doing a project at a hospital — so I ended up specialising in Biomedical Engineering. I have been working at the intersection of technology and medicine ever since, and it is the best decision I ever made. While I really enjoy research, I like seeing how it is directly applied. BenevolentAI is a place where tech, science and business meet, so it just ticked all of the boxes. After almost two years here, I still get excited about the work I do and the impactful mission we’re working on! 

How did the recruitment process go for you?

Before applying, I reached out to someone on LinkedIn to ask about her experience working at BenevolentAI, and she immediately replied encouraging me to apply — so I did! I was particularly impressed by how many women were involved in the technical interviews throughout the process, which is uncommon in our sector (I even told my family!). This made me feel very comfortable and at ease, making me feel like I would easily fit in. After joining, I realised the company always makes the effort to have a gender balanced interview panel, which made such a difference for me. 

I started drawing more often during lockdown, and it has now become one of my favourite activities outside of work

At BenevolentAI, we build and use technology to tackle one of humanity’s greatest challenges: discovering new and better ways to treat disease. Want to help us create a healthier future for patients everywhere? Explore our career opportunitiesFor more culture content, visit our Inside Benevolent blog.

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