Helen Kelisky

Helen Kelisky

MD at Google Cloud UK&I

Technology Magazine sits down with Helen Kelisky, MD, Google Cloud UK&I, about her perspectives as a female tech leader and the future of cloud and AI

Google Cloud is at the forefront of leveraging cutting-edge technologies like cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) to drive digital transformation for businesses across industries. Leading this charge in the UK and Ireland is Helen Kelisky, Managing Director of Google Cloud for the region. 

Previously leading Salesforce’s cloud sales organisation in the UK and heading up IBM's Cloud business unit, Helen has over 30 years of experience in the tech industry and shares her unique perspective as a female leader in the male-dominated tech world, and offers her vision for the future of cloud and AI.

In this exclusive interview with Technology Magazine, Helen highlights the crucial role that emerging technologies like AI will play in driving innovation and transforming businesses, and underscores the significance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the development and deployment of AI.

Can you tell us about your role at Google Cloud today?  

As Google Cloud’s Managing Director for UK & Ireland, my role is all about fostering Google Cloud’s sales strategy and go-to-market operation across the region.  

My role at Google Cloud is extremely diverse and no two days are ever the same! However, the key driver behind my work is to support customers and partners in accelerating their digital transformation journeys. This is what defines my role, and our wider purpose as a company. 

What are some of the unique experiences and challenges you've faced as a female tech leader? 

It is no secret that the tech industry is very male-dominated. As a woman who has been in the industry for over 30 years, there have certainly been some challenges along the way. The most defining challenge in my career was deciding to leave a company after three decades.  

However, I realised that I needed to embrace the change to learn new things and find new interests along the way. I think for women in such a fast-paced industry, it is important that we continue to value our personal growth, and are permanently in search of novel ideas. 

Something that has been instrumental in shaping my experience is the network of strong women I have surrounded myself with. Being a member of Women in Telecoms and Technology (WiTT) has given me an outlet where I can build relationships with other women in tech and help empower the next generation of female leaders. Helping to grow this community is one of my proudest legacies, both as a woman and a business leader.  

For someone just starting out in IT today, what advice would you give them to build a successful and fulfilling career in the tech industry? 

What originally drew me to the tech industry was the fact that it is so fast-paced and exciting. I think it is important for young professionals to focus on what attracts them to this industry and really get to know their unique strengths and interests. Reminding myself of why I chose this career has meant that I am continuously chasing new growth opportunities.  

This, for me, is the key to nurturing my passion and staying excited. This industry rewards creative thinkers, so don't be afraid to make mistakes.  

Equally important is your relationships with others. It sounds simple but if you treat others how you would like to be treated, then you will soon build a strong network of colleagues, mentors and peers who will support you in the long term. 

How do you see the cloud computing landscape evolving in the next few years, and what role will emerging technologies like AI play in driving this change? 

There has never been a more exciting time to be in this industry. We will see more businesses level up their existing cloud capabilities as cloud becomes more critical as the platform for AI.  AI will help our customers not only sustain their business but potentially reframe the value they deliver for their customers, and to retain their relevance. Google Cloud customers are already leveraging cloud-based data analytics to drive real-time business intelligence, delivered by integrated AI solutions to drive real time decisions.  

This momentum also fuels new opportunities for AI developers. We are now refining our tools so that they answer more industry-specific challenges. For example, we are already seeing tailored AI solutions being used for underwriting in the insurance sector, and for personalised shopping in the retail sector. This specialised approach will only become more advanced.  

In the midst of these exciting developments, Google Cloud continues to build stronger relationships with its partners, ensuring tools are always customer-centred and purpose-driven. 

Why do you believe DEI should be a core pillar of AI development and deployment? What are some best practices organisations should consider? 

DEI is critical to the AI industry. Internally, a diverse team is needed to build a work culture that empowers individuals throughout their careers. This is where training and development become a key differentiator for AI companies.  

At Google Cloud, we provide training in unconscious bias so that employees become advocates for diversity and inclusion, both in the workplace and beyond. The #ItsUpToMe campaign provides managers with a tailored course on how to implement DEI into their leadership strategy. In this way, the team becomes stronger by not only recruiting diverse talent but in challenging the limitations of the team and playing to their unique set of strengths. 

A diverse team is also critical for the development of ethical AI tools. AI models are only as ‘good’ as the data they are trained on, making them particularly susceptible to ingrained bias. This is to say that if the development team is limited to a particular race or gender, then the AI model based on this data will inevitably perpetuate bias in its applications, such as voice recognition and image analysis. Put plainly, the future of ethical AI relies on the diversity of AI development teams. It could not be more important.  

What are some of the key innovations or initiatives that Google Cloud is pursuing to help businesses and organisations get the most value from cloud and AI?              

Google Cloud offers a competitive advantage to its customers, as we come from a position of being, first and foremost, experts in data and cloud applications.  

With the marriage of cloud computing and AI, Google Cloud is focused on delivering AI solutions that are grounded in proprietary data and enable businesses to innovate and transform their operation. With Google’s AI models, we continue to deliver purpose-led solutions for every business need, whether it is building a customisable AI stack through Vertex, or automating everyday tasks with Gemini. 

Alongside product developments, we are always focused on investing in our partner network. Just recently, at the Google Cloud Next event, we announced new major partnerships including Home Depot and WPP.  

Moving forward, Google Cloud is focused on continuing this momentum, grounding AI development in strong customer relationships, ethical deployment and creative investments - empowering customers with tools that are equally bold and responsible.

**************

Make sure you check out the latest edition of Technology Magazine and also sign up to our global conference series - Tech & AI LIVE 2024

**************

Technology Magazine is a BizClik brand

Share

Featured Interviews

Featured

Kate Flanagan

Executive General Manager IM & Technology at Roy Hill

Kate Flanagan, Executive General Manager IM & Technology at Roy Hill, details her journey in the mining industry and explains what keeps her motivated

Read More

Theresa Campobasso

Senior Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Exiger

Supply chain risk specialist Theresa Campobasso cut her teeth in the US military

Read More
Security all comes down to whether you have a compliance-based mindset or a threat-based mindset
Theresa Campobasso
Senior Vice President of Strategic Accounts at Exiger

John Bailey

SVP of Technology & Innovation at AVI-SPL

SVP of Technology & Innovation at AVI-SPL, John Bailey, discusses a career driving innovation in communications and AV technology

Read More

Garrett Olson

Wolt’s Head of Insurance and Risk

Technology company Wolt’s Head of Insurance and Risk Garrett Olson explains the insurance needs of Wolt’s 180,000+ courier partners

Read More

Kate Maxwell

Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft’s Worldwide Defense and Intelligence Industry

As the global landscape evolves at an unprecedented pace, Microsoft is helping defence and intelligence clients with game-changing capabilities

Read More

Kate Flanagan

Executive General Manager IM & Technology at Roy Hill

Kate Flanagan, Executive General Manager IM & Technology at Roy Hill, details her journey in the mining industry and explains what keeps her motivated

Read More