WLDA Announces Finalists for 2021 Inaugural WLDA Awards

Honoring Women, Men, and Companies Making Strides in Data, AI, Inclusion, and Innovation.

Colonia, NJ, November 8 –  Women in Leaders in Data and AI (WLDA), an organization supporting women leaders in data and AI for an impactful future, has announced the 21 individual finalists and 3 corporate finalists for the inaugural WLDA Awards. The awards celebrate inspiring individuals and companies who are creating, leading, and demonstrating innovation and inclusion in the fields of data & AI.

WLDA was created help shine a spotlight on women in the AI industry. recent study by Deloitte demonstrated that women leave the AI field at high rates due to a stalled career and lack of support. WLDA is highlighting people and companies focused on making a difference across these fields. “I launched WLDA to create a platform where women leaders in data and AI can prosper, where they can find the support that they need to build an inclusive, scalable world for women, and to create space for other women to join them,” said Asha Saxena, WLDA Founder & CEO.

“Now it’s more possible than ever before, to lift women and to recognize them, along with their allies, for their work and support” she added. Along with these incredible women, these awards allow us to celebrate men and corporations who empower and encourage their women colleagues.

The award finalists will be announced in the coming weeks and the winners will be announced Dec. 2, 2021 in NYC during the WLDA Awards Gala where we will be celebrating leaders and influencers in technology, data, and AI roles, across industries. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Awards Gala, please visit https://wlda.tech/awards/.

Awards Categories and Finalist:

Best Motivator

  • Sathya Bala, Head of Global Data Governance, Chanel
  • Virginia Gambale, Managing Partner, Azimuth Partners and Board Director, Virtu Financial
  • Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer, ThoughtSpot
  • Sadiqah Musa, Senior Data Analyst, The Guardian
  • Tasha Austin, Principal in Risk and Financial Advisory Services and Director of the AI Institute for Government, Deloitte


  • Adita Karkera, CDO Executive Advisor, Deloitte
  • Chitra Narasimhachari, Head of Enterprise Analytics, Digital, and Data Science, Novartis
  • Noelle Silver, Chief Executive Officer, AI Leadership Institute
  • Maria C. Villar, Head of Enterprise Data Strategy and Transformation, SAP

Corporate Champion of the Year

  • Melanie Brown, Principal Insights and Data NA at Capgemini
  • Margery Connor, Data Science and Analytics Advisor at Chevron
  • Bharti Rai, VP and US Pharma Executive Committee, Novartis

Rising Star

  • Mai Aye, Senior Machine Learning Architect- Fuse, Cardinal Health
  • Josephine Ho, Senior Customer Success Engineer, Databricks
  • Maggie Remynse-Chou, Director of Data Curriculum, Pluralsight

WLDA Women Leaders of the Year

  • Captain Ronisha Carter, Artificial Intelligence Accelerator at the United States Air Force
  • Dr. Arlene Espinal, VP AI, Analytics, Automation, ManTech
  • Samta Kapoor, Managing Director, Accenture
  • Natalia Lyarskaya, Chief Data Officer, ZestMoney
  • Eileen M. Vidrine, Chief Data Officer, US Department of the Air Force
  • Dr. Katia Walsh, Chief Global Strategy and AI Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.

Corporation of the Year

  • Accenture
  • Chevron
  • L’Oreal


Women Leaders in Data and AI, [https://wlda.tech], is a woman-run membership and mastermind circle organization for women leaders in the fields of data and AI. Our mission is to bring women together to lead at the forefront of innovation of data and AI, to create an impactful future.

The organization supports women leaders and provides one-of-a-kind opportunities to learn from their F1000 industry peers, find tech solutions, and solve tough data challenges while helping them develop personally and professionally.

Our events are designed to provide intimate and confidential, facilitated conversations in platforms where women leaders find support from one another, helping provide the inspiration they may not find elsewhere.


Asha Saxena is the Founder and CEO of Women Leaders in Data and AI (WLDA), an exclusive mastermind group for women leaders in Data and AI, helping them succeed both personally and professionally. She is also a professor at Columbia University in NYC, teaching graduate students healthcare consulting and entrepreneurship, and is a partner with CEO International where she coaches CXO leaders.  

As a serial entrepreneur, she has built and sold three successful businesses. Most recently, she has served as CEO and Chairperson of Future Technologies Inc., a data management firm that provided warehousing, analytics, and intelligence services. She was also the CEO and Chief Innovation Officer of ACULYST, which provided best-in-class healthcare analytics services through a pre-built model that integrates clinical, financial, and operational data. Asha has served on a number of for-profit and nonprofit boards and is a contributor and international speaker on a variety of technology, data, AI, and women-related issues.

Apply for your exclusive membership now and learn more about us at https://wlda.tech.

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