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Haleh Tabrizi wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become an electrical engineer. She was raised in a traditional Persian culture that prioritizes and respects higher education. But, even at age twelve, she knew it would be a big challenge.
“I’ve always loved a challenge, so instead of shying away from obstacles, I often find myself seeking them out,” she explains. “When I was twelve, I wanted to prove that women can have equal, if not greater, capabilities in a field typically dominated by men. And I’m proud to say I did.”
After her family immigrated to the US when she was sixteen, Tabrizi went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. Then, she earned her doctorate in wireless communications and applied machine learning at Stanford University under the supervision of John M. Cioffi, who is known as the father of digital subscriber line.
Powered by her desire to keep learning and growing, Tabrizi further developed her engineering expertise at a high-growth startup that was acquired by Dell EMC. She then dove into data and artificial intelligence (AI) at ServiceNow and now brings that knowledge and leadership to RingCentral, where she is currently vice president of data engineering leading the Data and Analytics organization.
Tabrizi sees data at the core of everything, regardless of function or industry, and believes AI brings data to a whole new level.
“AI is the key to substantial automation, efficiency, timely decision-making, and empowering humans to free themselves from manual repetitive tasks,” she says. “As long as we ensure ethical AI, we can elevate humans to partake in a more fulfilling life and career journey.”
Tabrizi sees the data and AI opportunities from both operational and product perspectives. Within operations, you can accelerate revenue generation by identifying strategic investment areas or minimize operational cost by identifying and eliminating manual processes.
RingCentral is one of the top unified-communications-as-a-service platforms and because of that, holds one of the largest repositories of communication data for customers. With that data and through AI, Tabrizi explains, we can learn from successful sales or customer support conversations that generate positive customer experiences and outcomes. Then, sales or support playbooks can be created to be used by the customers’ agents to drive successful outcomes.
“The data and AI opportunities are endless,” Tabrizi says. “My organization’s purpose is to collect, organize, and analyze our data to generate new business efficiencies and create new customer value opportunities.”
While she has faced many challenges in building her career within tech, Tabrizi’s biggest challenge is work/life balance as a mom to sixteen-month-old and three-year-old sons. “I’ve asked myself several times if I’m doing the right thing or not,” she says, noting that her oldest will ask her not to go to work. “Is my job worth being away from my boys?”
Tabrizi knows that her children are one of the best decisions she’s made in her life and makes sure to give 100 percent of her time and attention to her family whenever she’s home.
Throughout her life, Tabrizi has faced challenges head on and come out stronger on the other side. And she encourages other women in tech to do the same.
“Embrace your uniqueness of being a woman surrounded by colleagues of any gender,” she says. “Lean in, use your voice, and never shy away from seeking support, resources, or budget to accomplish what you need. And above all else, always have the courage to voice your opinion.”