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On Wednesday, we introduced our Artificial Intelligence and Data Industry Advisory Board. We envisioned a dynamic and evolving group that would feature a rotating set of experts. But when we introduced the current members on Wednesday, there were negative reactions, primarily because the twelve current members we introduced are men. We’ve heard confusion, frustration, anger, and disappointment.

This does not reflect the hard-won accomplishments of many women in the AI field. It doesn’t reflect the effort our teams have put in to reach broader and underrepresented audiences in this field, such as with our current Data Science scholarships. And importantly, it doesn’t reflect our values, which are centered on bringing greater access to careers in fields like AI to everyone in the world.

Each of the current board members is an incredible talent, and we remain grateful for their individual contributions and insights. And we believe in the idea of this board. But as the organizers, we have to acknowledge we have not yet achieved what we can and should achieve, and that we have failed.

We are acting on this now.

Last night, we met with our current board members. We shared all the feedback we’ve gathered and received. We discussed everything, and we agreed on what we’re going to do. The current board term ends in a week. All involved are committed to ensuring that the next group will reflect a far greater degree of diversity. Our current members have pledged their support, their networks, and their influence, to help us accomplish this, for which we are deeply grateful.

We’re eager to introduce our new members when the next board has been fully assembled. We’ve already confirmed one new member, and are humbled and excited she is joining us.

Our work is ongoing.

Clarissa Shen
Clarissa Shen
Clarissa Shen is the Chief Operating Officer for Udacity. She joined as Udacity’s first business hire leading all business functions. Prior to Udacity, she co-founded a K-12 start-up, led digital change at Apollo Group, and advised Fortune 500 and government clients throughout Greater China, Asia, and Europe as a management consultant with Deloitte/Monitor Group. Clarissa has also managed a Google Top 10 digital marketing team, and led an internationally-renowned touring contemporary dance company. Clarissa graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English and Environmental Studies from Williams College, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.