September 1, 2022

5 on 5: Labor Day Tribute to WhizAI Employees

Richard Clements
Richard Clements
5 on 5: Labor Day Tribute to WhizAI Employees

WhizAI set out to achieve a towering goal: Create an analytics platform purpose-built for life sciences that aims to put business users at the center of the analytics process backed by advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), natural language query (NLQ), and generation (NLG), and deep learning. We’ve been fortunate to assemble a team with years of experience in life science analytics and data science that have helped us reach that goal and continue to innovate every day. 

Although conventional wisdom tends to categorize artificial intelligence (AI) as more tech- than people-centric, we know – and appreciate – how humans in the loop make our platform special and highly valuable to our users. 

Meet 5 Members of Our Team

WhizAI has team members around the world, but here are five celebrating Labor Day in the U.S.:     

Emma Yamada, Healthcare Solutions Architect 

Emma has worked as the director of data science and as the director of analytics at health systems.  She experienced first-hand business users asking for analyses – and the data team never quite had enough time to address all of their requests in a timely fashion. 

“When I had my first interview with WhizAI and saw the demo, I knew I would have used it.,” Emma said. “It would have made my job a whole lot easier.” 

“WhizAI focuses on the business users and considers the needs of tech teams,” she said. 

The best teams are made of people who love what they do, and WhizAI is fortunate to have Emma on staff. When she’s not focused on her work at WhizAI, she takes on side projects to hone her programming skills. But there’s also a chance you’ll find her enjoying the outdoors with a hike or meeting up with members of her college soccer team. 

Chris Ilacqua, Director, Product Management

Chris Ilacqua has worked in analytics for 30 years, but he considers working at WhizAI as the pinnacle of his career. “I’ve always had influence in different positions in my career, but for the first time, I have direct impact and get to be a part of the next great wave of analytics,” he said.

“About eight years ago, there was a shift from IT-centric systems to self-service,” Chris explained. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) push analysis from the analyst to the business user. 

“I feel like I’m now at the right place at the right time with the right product,” he said. 

Although Chris is highly respected in the analytics space as an author, member of several university boards, and a graduate school data literacy instructor, many people recognize him as a brand ambassador and usher for the Worcester Red Sox “WooSox”. You may find him giving tours of the stadium to middle school students and helping with special events during games. 

Rahul Karkhanis, Commercial Specialist 

Rahul comes from the insights and analytics side of pharma, working and consulting with all domains in the space, including R&D, manufacturing, clinical, marketing, sales, and patient services. And that experience helps the WhizAI team precisely tailor the platform to the life sciences industry. He also has a deep understanding of the demand for an agile, scalable analytics platform for this space. 

“There’s a lot of data out there,” Rahul said. “We are generating data at a much faster pace than expected. To manage that beast, we need a product like WhizAI. It joins disparate data sources like claims, payment plans, and patient-level data in the background and allows users to ask any question.” 

Rahul loves that no two days at WhizAI are the same and working hard, but he adds that WhizAI encourages team members to pursue interests outside of work. For Rahul, it’s cricket, and his and usherConnecticut-based team still has a few months left in the season. He’s also a foodie who enjoys the WhizAI office in New Jersey, where he can enjoy food from some of his favorite restaurants. 

Ryan Joy, Senior Manager of Account Management

Ryan came to WhizAI with expertise in the analytics space. What he likes about WhizAI is its ability to understand data sets quickly and operationalize them for people who struggle to use complex data analytics tools. “It’s a revolutionary idea for analytics,” he said. 

“There’s no need to code or create pivot tables. It’s the most user-friendly for querying and drawing insights. I haven’t seen any other companies trying to do what we’re doing,” Ryan commented. “It’s the way of the future.” 

Ryan works with customers to deliver solutions tailored to their needs. “It’s gratifying to help customers and forge relationships,” he said. He added that joining a business at the startup stage has been exciting: “In my previous position, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to lead large-scale implementations. It’s a great opportunity.” 

After work, Ryan likes to take walks with his two-year-old lab Bella, vacations at the beach, and dines or goes to concerts in NYC. 

Sara Diorio, Senior Presales Engineer

Sara recalled the aha moment that inspired her to join the WhizAI team. “People have always needed a key to unlock insights from data. WhizAI changes the paradigm for everyone. All users have to do is ask a question, which opens the door to insights. I’m really excited to help people uncover that,” she said.  

Her background is in security and analytics; however, her mother was a pharmaceutical field rep who used to pull reports to prepare for meetings. She said with a solution like WhizAI, “we could have had so much more time after work.” 

Sara, who has been with WhizAI for four months, said she loves working in the company’s dynamic environment. “It’s constantly shifting, and all of us are helping create this platform. I’m looking forward to getting this technology to more people who need it.” 

When she’s not at work, you can find Sara enjoying the beach or listening to a band on the boardwalk. 

The Magic of Teamwork

All five of these team members cite the spirit of collaboration, focus, and commitment to company goals as things that make working at WhizAI special. Rahul commented that the company’s open-door policy enables anyone to approach leadership, have an open conversation, and know they’re heard. Ryan agrees; he said everyone, regardless of role, is willing to pitch in and help. 

Chris added, “We’re one big family, and my colleagues are extremely creative, talented people.”

They also recognize their shared goal. “Everyone is committed to ensuring the product does what customers need it to do and rallies around how to expand and improve the product,” Emma said.

WhizAI also benefits from a team that maintains a big-picture view of the work they’re doing. “I’ve seen all the good life sciences can do,” said Sara. “Life sciences and pharmaceuticals have changed people’s lives. Clinical trial data in WhizAI can expedite that. It’s really exciting that we can make things better for the next generation.” 

While the U.S. team takes time on Labor Day to enjoy the unofficial last weekend of summer, you’ll find them at work later in the week laser-focused on the WhizAI mission to put actionable insights directly into the hands of business users.

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