What is Women in Voice?

Women in Voice was built to celebrate, amplify, and empower women and diverse people in the voice technology field.

It is the mission of Women in Voice to

  • build community for women and diverse people in voice technology
  • amplify and celebrate the work and talent of women
  • provide professional development and resources to support women
  • empower women in all the different roles that comprise the voice field

It is the mission of Women in Voice to

  • build community for women and diverse people in voice technology
  • amplify and celebrate the work and talent of women
  • provide professional development and resources to support women
  • empower women in all the different roles that comprise the voice field

What is the Voice Field?

Voice is an emerging field centered around speech technology. Human computer interactions with voice technology are changing and so are the people behind it.

People who work in voice include developers, designers, user experience researchers, linguists, entrepreneurs, innovators, project managers, marketers, voice actors, machine learning specialists, digital strategists, and more.

Voice is a relatively new field in many ways, but in other ways it’s been here for awhile. Although natural language processing of voice took off in the 1980’s and 1990’s, only recently have accuracy rates been recorded over 90% for some speech recognizers. When you think of “voice” technology, you most likely will think of Siri, Alexa, and Google Home products. These are voice assistants that use speech technology in their interfaces.

Defining “Women”

Women in Voice is building community for women in this new technology space. We use the words “woman/women” to refer to anyone who identifies as a female, non-binary, genderqueer, genderfluid, gender non conforming  agender, and all minority genders. If you feel like you might belong, we bet you do. Women come in all kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes and we support all of them.

Beginnings!

We’ve had an enthusiastic welcome from people all around the world when we launched on August 19th, 2018 and in one week had amassed +300 Twitter followers. Today, Women in Voice has more than 2.500 followers on Twitter, over 900 followers on LinkedIn, almost 500 members in our slack community and a growing number of chapters around the world.

Meet the founder

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).

Dear Reader,

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.

Sincerely,
Joan Palmiter Bajorek

 

Joan with International members of WiV at Voice Summit 2019

Read more on Voice and Diversity

Basics of Voice: Overview Article

What voice is in the first place and does it need its own strategy? Check out this overview article by Women in Voice Lead Susan Westwater. 

This Is What A Voice Experience Looks Like

How to build voice experiences and emerging conventions in conversation mapping? Read Hilary Hayes’ article to learn more. 

Breaking Down Barriers to Achieve Equity and Inclusion in Design

This article by Adobe is about practical tips for fostering diversity and inclusion on teams. 

Say Hello!

Sponsors