A pair of awards events last week recognised Australia’s top women in the fields of data science, analytics, and artificial intelligence.

Wednesday night’s Top 25 Analytics Leaders event – run by the Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia (IAPA) – featured three women in its top five, including the winner Ana Roy, head of merchandise analytics with Kmart.

The judges commended Roy for the pricing and prediction models Kmart has used, following its migration from a 1990s mainframe system to AWS cloud, which now lets the retailer tailor product offerings for the different demographics of customers who walk into its stores.

Joining Roy at the top echelons of Australia’s analytics leaders were Dhivian Govender, chief data, analytics and strategy officer with Recoveriescorp; Duhita Khadepau, director of analytics and data science at Assignar; Lionel Kho, regional chief Strategy, data and analytics officer at Mindshare; and Elizabeth Moore, head of audience data and insights at the ABC.

“In the six years of recognising excellence in analytics leadership, 2023 is marked by a maturing and genuine acknowledgement of the value of analytics to business,” IAPA managing director Annette Slunjski said.

“This year’s Top 25, and especially the Top 10, have true c-suite support as analytics delivers real-world outcomes that move the needle in terms of revenue, cost containment or better business models.”

Rounding out a week of data and AI excellence was Friday night’s Asia-Pacific Women in AI Awards held in Sydney.

That event saw celebrated the women who are founding companies, teaching the next generation, and leading top AI teams.

Dr Fatemeh Vafaee is the deputy director of the University of New South Wales’ Data Science Hub. She was recipient of the AI in Health Award and a runner-up in the Innovator of the Year category.

“Receiving this award is an honour,” she said. “The progress I have achieved in utilising AI to advance non-invasive cancer diagnostics, personalised medicine, and precision therapy is a testament to the unwavering support of my exceptional team, industry partners, and clinical collaborators.

“Together, we are shaping AI’s transformative impact on digital medicine.”

University of Melbourne lecturer Dr Wafa Johal said she was likewise honoured to receive the AI in Education Award.

“This recognition reinforces my commitment to leveraging robotics and AI to transform education and empower learners; to create inclusive, innovative, and personalised learning experiences that prepare the next generations,” she said.

Maggi Sikora, data scientist with ASX-listed gold miner Newcrest won the AI in Mining Award and said it was “a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion I have poured into my AI journey.

“This recognition motivates me to push boundaries, drive innovation, and empower others to make a lasting impact in AI.”

The full list of winners:

Women in AI Winners

  • Asia-Pacific Women in AI Innovator of the Year – Saba Samiei, founder and CEO of MACSO Technologies
  • Women in AI Trailblazer Award – as Dr Qingua Lu, principle research scientist and lead of the Responsible AI Science Team at Data61
  • Cultural Leadership in AI Award – Angella Ndaka, co-founder of the Centre for Africa Epistemic Justice
  • AI in Health Award – Dr Fatemah Vafaee, deputy director of the UNSW Data Science Hub
  • AI in Mining Award – Maggi Sikora, data scientist with Newcrest Mining
  • AI in Law Award – Dr Rita Matulionyte, researcher at the Macquarie University Law School
  • AI in Finance Award – Dr Maneet Singh, director of data science with Mastercard’s AI Garage division
  • AI in Agribusiness and Rural Development Award – Saba Samiei, founder and CEO of MACSO Technologies
  • AI in Cyber Security Award – Rachael Greaves, CEO and co-founder of Castlepoint Systems
  • AI in Education Award – Dr Wafa Johal, senior lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Melbourne
  • AI in Defence and Intelligence Award – Dr Zena Assaad, senior research fellow at the Australian National University
  • AI in Infrastructure Award – Orla Glynn, executive of AI, reporting, insights, and automation at Telstra
  • AI in Sport Award – Alice Sweeting, lecturer of sport science and analytics with Victoria University
  • AI in Manufacturing Award – Kari Jones, general manager of analytics and insights at Woolworths New Zealand
  • AI in Creative Industries Award – Dr Shruti Nagpal, research scientist at Sony Research
  • AI in Climate Award – Kam Lin Mah, former group scientist of Maybank
  • AI in Environment and Biodiversity Award – Dr Petra Kuhnert, group leader of the Statistical Machine Learning Group at Data61
  • AI in Space Award – Rizka Purwanto assistant professor at Monash University
  • AI in Humanitarian Action Award – Dr Jessica Ford, research scientist at CSIRO
  • AI in Innovation Award – Dr Yang Song, scientia associate professor in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at UNSW
  • Communicating AI Award – Dr Cathy Robinson, Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO

IAPA Top 25 Analytics Leaders 2023 (alphabetical order by surname)

  • Artak Amirbekyan, head of data and analytics at Transurban
  • Pranai Devulapalli, data and analytics manager at Ooh! Media
  • Theresa Dirnodorfer Anderson, director at Connecting Stones
  • Nagender Chetti, executive manager of commercial and consumer markets, insurance pricing and analytics at Suncorp Group
  • Susan Louise Gibson, head of data analytics and AI at the University of Technology Sydney
  • Faranak Golestaneh, senior manager at Commonwealth Bank
  • Dhivian Govender, chief data, analytics and strategy officer at Recoveriescorp
  • Christopher John Hamlyn, regional head of data and analytics at LEK Consulting
  • Sandhya Iyer, general manager of data science at Sportsbet
  • Max Jacobs, director of strategic partnerships, analytics and innovation at the Victoria Centre for Data Insights
  • Vishal Kapoor, general manager of analytics at Prospection
  • Duhita Khadepau, director of analytics and data science at Assignar
  • Lionel Kho, regional chief strategy, data and analytics officer at Mindshare
  • Jane McCarthy, former data area lead at ANZ Bank
  • Jeff Mentiplay – data portfolio lead at ANZ Bank
  • Elizabeth Moore, head of audience data and insights at the ABC
  • Dominic O'Halloran, head of data and analytics at MECCA Brands
  • Yalchin Oytam, head of clinical insights and analytics at SESLHD
  • Bobby Patel, general manager of data and analytics at RAC WA
  • Ana Roy, head of merchandise analytics at Kmart
  • Shaheen Saud, national lead of data analytics and insights at RPS
  • Rachel Scott, manager of marketing science at Suncorp
  • Albert Suryadi, associate director of data at Dataly Actuarial
  • Chath Widanaparthirana, head of data and product at Prospection
  • Andrew Woods, strategic analytics manager at Sydney Water

Disclosure: IAPA is owned by ACS.