Abby Malchow: Women Vets in Tech



Joanie interviews Abby Malchow, who was attracted to the dynamic, growing tech industry even without a technical background.  Intel recruited her because of her experience with supply chain management in the Navy.  She now is a commodity manager in software and cloud technology.  Abby tells stories about how she made the transition from military to tech and how she helps veterans.  For example, while others use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to generate revenue, Abby works with AI to help prevent suicide.  You might also be interested to know that Intel has an “AI for Good” team.

Highlights:

Q: How did you develop your adaptability in the military?

“In Iraq, I had to work with people who didn’t speak English and who weren’t comfortable working with women.  In the beginning, they would try to spit on me.  When they saw how hard I worked, they respected me.”

Q: How did you earn your respect at Intel without a technical background?

“I reached out to as many people as I could to gain information.  I leveraged my veteran network here.  Having discussions with people was more beneficial than reading a book or a manual.  I learned what others did, what their mistakes were, what I should know about this industry.  Relationships were formed from that.”

Q: What kinds of people challenges did you run into?

“While some people were willing to talk to me, some were less helpful.  In the military we’re always so quick to help people.  It’s our duty.  At Intel it’s different.  Everyone has to focus on their own responsibilities first, before they can help someone.”

Q: Why is it important to talk to women?

“If I’m not seeing women in managerial roles, what does my future at Intel look like?  I wanted to know Intel was investing in women in these roles.”

Q: What kinds of challenges do women veterans face when they transition out of the military?

“They tend to disappear.  There’s less of a community for them than for men.  People tend to think of the military in a very traditional sense, that it’s male-dominated, and, because of that, facilities have been built to not include women.”

Q: How is AI being used to help suicidal veterans?

“AI has grown in several platforms, including Facebook.  Suicide prevention algorithms exist to generate pop-ups with suicide prevention information when suicidal language appears.”

Q: What challenges do you run into in trying to get multiple different types of organizations to work together on veteran suicide prevention?

“You have to get the buy-in from the company.  In the end of the day, you have to appeal to them on more than an emotional level.  You have to bring in the data.”

Words of Wisdom:

“In this industry you’re never going to stop learning.”

“Working in a male-dominated industry, I had to look outside of my group to find women to lean on for support.”

“Veterans sustain invisible wounds.”

Contact Abby:

Twitter: @AbbyMalchow

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/abbymalchow/


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