For women contemplating a career shift and considering the technology industry, Alice Boter is an ideal source of inspiration. At the age of 48, she found that Conversational AI was the niche she had been seeking throughout her career.
This entry is part of the #AiAllies series from Teneo.ai. The series shares insights and stories from women who have achieved success across the STEM fields. We spoke to Alice about her journey and the lessons she has learned along the way.
Alice started her career as a physical therapist. However, after a single year in the healthcare sector, she realized it wasn’t the right fit for her.
“I decided that it just wasn’t for me!” Alice said.
“I knew I needed to make a change and realized that I was drawn towards graphic design, so I secured a position where I was involved in management and the process relating to technical publishing. While I was working full-time in that position, I also decided to launch my own business which involved building and designing websites.”
Alice enjoyed success with her business for a number of years, but the desire to find greater professional fulfilment remained.
The Start of a Career in Tech
“After a long time, I wanted to make a change. I knew that I liked making websites, writing and the technology element so I decided to take on a UX and UI bootcamp course which I completed alongside my full-time job, which was really tough. It was on this course that I first encountered conversational design.”
The interaction conversational design and development sparked an immediate interest and encouraged further exploration.
“I knew that I was not the very best at design, but I knew that I understood what people want and need from an online experience. There was less visual element to conversational design, it was all about understanding people and helping them. I was immediately hooked and signed up to every course I could get my hands on.”
After completing a wide range of free and paid-for online courses, Alice started hunting for a position in the sector. Her key recommendations for others looking to complete the same courses, include: Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Career Foundry and Conversation Design Institute.
“A year ago, everybody was looking for Conversational Designers with lots of experience, I didn’t have that, but my network was getting stronger thanks to my involvement with Women in Voice and Women in Conversational . Through my connections, I was encouraged to apply for a role with CGI, so I went for it. They didn’t look at me as somebody who didn’t have experience, they saw what I could potentially do.”
Landing the Perfect Job
Alice highlights her delight in finding a position that suits her interests and skills, but it was not immediately clear when the opportunity arose.
“My gut instinct was that the role wasn’t for me! I looked at the job description and I really wasn’t sure. The company seemed too corporate and I didn’t think I would be the right fit. But I ignored my first instinct and thought I should learn about the position and go for the interview. That is something that I would advise other women to do when they are also looking at different jobs in tech.”
“The discussion went really well and I was told that I could forge my own path and shape my own learning journey. I was amazed by that and so, I took the offer and it has been the best decision I have made in my career.”
Her Experience with CGI
CGI is a technology business. It places a strong emphasis on the success and long-term development of its employees. This includes the women who drive the organization’s success.
One of its services involves creating and managing Conversational AI solutions. These are delivered to international organizations across various key vertical markets.
Creating conversations through the development of conversational AI is a complex process. It requires significant input from a range of sources. This is something that Alice excels at.
‘I’m a real generalist,’ she says. ‘I believe that benefits people working on conversational design. You need to consider language, psychology, and the user’s needs and wants. You can also make a real impact on people and make them feel understood with the right message. I enjoy helping people. I feel I can do that through my work.’
Alice is only eight months into the job. However, she has quickly adapted despite the challenge of learning about an entirely new professional field
“At the beginning, I didn’t know anything and felt like a total beginner, which was difficult. But you have to be willing to feel like that in order to grow and learn new things. But in this profession, you can become a specialist really fast and the demand for Conversational Designers is now extremely high. With the right training and support, you can become successful.”
Finding a Strong Network
Having benefited from a strong network and the sharing of opportunities, Alice says that she is always willing to help and support other women who may be facing their own career crossroads.
“I’m always free for a coffee or a conversation and so is the team at CGI. Send me a message on LinkedIn and I’ll try to help with resources and networking opportunities.”
If you would like to be featured as part of the AiAllies services, get in touch with our team.