Senior Researcher, Google
Melissa Ferere is a first generation, multilingual Haitian American passionate about increasing the presence of women and minorities in STEM fields. She studied at Cornell University (B.Sc), Darden Graduate School of Business and received a certificate in Data Analytics through eCornell. She has worked in Investment Banking and now in Technology Consulting. Leveraging her business acumen, Design Thinking, quantitative and qualitative primary/secondary research, she provides clients with customer-centered strategic solutions to develop digital products and services for online, mobile and in-store experiences across several industries internationally. She leads cross-functional teams to deliver product design and development to clients, while managing and growing these relationships.
Outside of the office, she balances motherhood and volunteers as a Master Mentor with the Global STEM Alliance and with Cornell University's Information Science and HCI graduate programs, leading product design and career development workshops. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Touro University's graduate program, teaching Design Thinking and User Research.
Melissa was recognized as a 2021 GRIT Future List Honoree for her leadership and accomplishments in the insights industry and has been featured for interviews with online publications such as WIRe (Women in Research) and Greenbook. She is involved with her local community as well and has been featured for a spotlight interview with Stamford Moms and will be a speaker at Stamford Innovation Week 2021, New England's largest innovation festival. She has also been a Keynote speaker, panelist and moderator at several conferences including the Product Innovation Summit, Financial Experience Design, TMRE Digital Week and Net Impact, sharing her unique perspectives in typically male-dominated spaces to inspire and motivate others. Overall, Melissa constantly seeks opportunities to learn and grow, while making sure she is paving the way for others as well.
Design for Those Who Don’t Have a Seat at the Table...Yet
Wed - Sept 22
2:00 pm EDT
Women have been sparse in my technology consulting experiences and the numbers shrink more with minorities. Lack of representation is a huge problem in technology design and development when creating products without considering unintended consequences (e.g., Facebook with misinformation and voter suppression). Limited thinking inadvertently impacts marginalized communities, those underrepresented in the development process. Eradicating this issue requires increasing the diversity of individuals and their voices throughout the product development lifecycle. As the ubiquity of technology grows, those creating it should reflect what the world actually looks like.
This issue is at the forefront of the intersection of technology, design and human behavior and in our various roles we have many opportunities to tackle this challenge. Thus, I would like to discuss simple yet effective ways to make the contextualized business case for diversity and consistent holistic thinking throughout the product development lifecycle.