Aileen Gemma Smith

CEO

Vizalytics

Ladders for Leaders Employer

Vizalytics joined Ladders for Leaders because we are proud believers in the New York City public school system. It is important to us to hire people who don’t necessarily come from a background of privilege. We’re looking for different perspectives, challengers to assumptions, and an eye for real-world applications. Ladders interns bring empathy and heightened curiosity that you don’t find with every intern.

The CYE team sat down with Aileen Gemma Smith from Vizalytics and recent intern Kimberley Dao to hear more about their experiences with Ladders. Here is an excerpt from that conversation:

How has Ladders for Leaders benefitted your company?

In the tech sector, we know there’s a problem getting women into positions of responsibility. I want every female intern to understand that she, too, can be a CEO in the tech world. She, too, can have a seat at the table. Two years ago, we hired a female intern who was still in high school, Kimberley Dao. Currently she is at Yale finishing her undergraduate degree. With Kimberley, we immediately saw enormous growth potential. She got things done. She was thorough and detail-oriented. She was curious. She was hungry. She was a great asset to Vizalytics and it made us proud to get her excited about tech and data.

Why did your company join the Ladders for Leaders program? *

Vizalytics joined Ladders for Leaders because we are proud believers in the NYC public school system. It is important to us to hire people who don’t necessarily come from a background of privilege. We’re looking for different perspectives, challengers to assumptions, and an eye for real-world applications. You miss too much when all you look for is people who are great at Python or experienced in Javascript. Ladders for Leaders interns bring empathy and heightened curiosity that you don’t find with every intern.

How was the Ladders for Leaders program different than other internship programs? 

Ladders works with us to understand precisely what our company needs and to make sure that every intern that is sent is a strong match. As a small company, we really appreciate that white glove support. They also spend time training and working with the interns before they start — and it shows. It comes across in their confidence, their candor and their demeanor. They arrive early, stay late and work hard to get the job done.

Kimberley, how has Ladders helped you in your career?

“Vizalytics was a great place to intern because it was such a professional environment. The work I did helping build databases was very meaningful. I felt I was really part of something and doing real work.”