If I told you I created Women in Voice while finishing my PhD, living in my parents’ basement, and navigating the job market, you might not believe me- but it’s true.
In July 2018, I spoke at the inaugural VOICE Summit and that August I launched Women in Voice. From half-decade in academia, I was normalized to being surrounded by women and men from all around the world conducting internationally groundbreaking research. Much as that conference inspired me in many ways, I did not want to be complicit in normalizing the behavior I saw normalized there. I took action.
Women in Voice was launched on Twitter and WordPress with a basic logo and mission statement. It seemed relatively dinky, but I shortly realized that I was not alone in the desire for change. Through a brief Google Form, I recruited 27 women to join leadership within a few weeks. Women from all over the world and who work at tech companies big and small. Today, Women in Voice is a thriving organization that reaches thousands of people internationally. We are proud to grow and evolve our brand and mission. I would write the number of chapters and followers, but that number would be out of date the moment this is published.
We believe in the celebration, amplification, and empowerment of female talent in the voice tech field, and all tech, and frankly all of society.
Wildly brilliant, disruptive ideas do not come from one small homogenous population. Voice tech is poised to disrupt human computer interaction as we know it, and including a respect for diversity can be brought to the forefront from the first waves of voice technology in the tech ecosystem.
In our community, I hope you find confidence, guidance, and strength to pay it back and pay it forward, to the people who have come before us and those yet to come.
Joan Palmiter Bajorek
Dr. Joan Palmiter Bajorek is based in Seattle and is the Founder and CEO of Women in Voice. She is also the Head of Conversational Research and Strategy at the Melbourne-headquartered digital voice agency VERSA.
She has previously held the roles of Senior Conversational Experience Designer at Nuance and Principal User Experience Researcher at the University of Arizona. She is an Alexa Champion, Top 11 Influencer of Voice 2019 by Voicebot.ai, WeWork Labs Entrepreneur in Residence 2020, “Executive of the Year” Finalist 2019, and Finalist for “The Project Voice Medal for Diversity and Inclusion” and “Voice AI Pioneer of the Year” 2020.
Her PhD research has been published by Harvard Business Review, Cambridge University Press, SoundHound, Adobe XD, and UXmatters, exploring the future of voice products, bias in AI, platform disruption, and multimodal and multilingual interfaces of the future. She holds a PhD from the University of Arizona in the field of speech language technology (2019) and an MA in Linguistics from the University of California, Davis (2016).