A couple of times a month, we like to get to know members of the KJR Collective a little better. Today we catch up with Karolyn Gainfort.
Years in the industry: 25++
Years at KJR: five years this Christmas!
Based in: Brisbane
Currently working with: Embedding quality in social impact startups, building frameworks for AI assurance, and mentoring young women as part of the Young Women Leaders in AI program, Karolyn is one busy lady.
What Karolyn loves most about her job…
“I get to work with different organisations. Meet awesome people. Experience lots of different business models and project methodologies.”
Creating order out of chaos? That’s what Karolyn does best. And having the opportunity to apply her strengths in her work means “shit gets done.” Pushing through, using creativity to find solutions even when some people don’t believe it can be done. But for Karolyn, it’s never a solo mission…what she really loves about her work is the impact project outcomes can have on people. From her team mates, both at KJR and within clients, to the end users of the technology there is a huge pay-off of satisfaction and pride in the work that has been done.
How Karolyn got into this industry…
“Mum wanted me to be a ballet dancer.” When those plans didn’t work out, Karolyn found herself in London, without any particular vocation training, but with the desire to try! Merging her performing arts training and interest in technology and business, she took a role at a film producing company and the rest, they say, is history.
Taking advantage of every opportunity to step up, Karolyn often found herself just “figuring something out because no one else knew how to do it” and as a result has experienced some spectacular projects. Her most notable? Implementing the voice messaging system (yes, back in the day) for a well-known telco. This project not only gave her trips to New York and Israel to learn from the most advanced in the business, it exposed Karolyn to the art of testing and how important it is for any software implementation. Not to mention setting up her foray into project management.
What Karolyn thinks about the future of tech…
“I’m looking forward to the day when I can get my driverless car!” To some it might be a gimmick, but to Karolyn driverless cars will have a fundamental impact on road safety because of the sheer sophistication of the technology – yes, she has experienced this first hand. And on the thought of also getting her own Pepper, she speaks passionately about the benefits of robot technology for the ageing community. From the simple act of picking something up off the floor to engaging in conversation and sharing information, these robots could significantly improve quality of life for the elderly population and then some.
Her excitement is not without caution, however; “We live in a world which is full of bias, no matter how open minded we think we are, some bias is automatically embedded simply because of our environment.” The balancing act is to be responsible and mindful when it comes to technology development. Programs like the Young Women Leaders in AI seek to address a portion of this bias through engaging women from a range of disciplines with the talent and influence to affect the future. Something which Karolyn is proud to be associated with.
She also does other things…
Living on the Gold Coast gives Karolyn the opportunity to embrace a unique lifestyle from the rest of the KJR Collective. And she takes full advantage of that! With a boogie board as her main wave transportation for the moment, learning to surf is high on the list, as is completing her Anusara yoga teaching certification. With only four months to go, the Collective can look forward to some classes in the new year!
Karolyn’s final word of advice…
For work and life in general: “Have a mindset that anything is possible and you will always have options. Just don’t give up.”