Carrie Jaquith is a Vice President at Lazard where she leads efforts in emerging tech, digital product, and analytics. She is a thoughtful leader, mentor, diplomat, and designer of elegant solutions to problems that lie within fixed frameworks. She is a mapper and navigator of the invisible networks that connect humans and systems.
Following studies in classical music and art she has charted a career spanning design, software development, and technology. She has designed human-friendly software experiences in the finance space and has led technology deployments in 21 countries. She co-founded Lazard’s first digital group and has collaborated with teams at Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Microsoft. Carrie is an active participant in NYU's annual ITP Camp where she gets to play with lasers, sensors, and robots. She is a member of a think tank and innovation teams focused on data visualization, machine learning, and finance. A student of Joan Lader and member of One World Symphony, she loves to collaborate on projects that blend classical music, education, and social good. She is inspired by experiences in voice and painting studios, machine shops for things that go fast, computer labs, and video games.
With groups creating programs to encourage females to consider STEM, what is the biggest barrier to entry that is still prevalent today?
The following reflect my experience/opinion and not those of my employers, past or present.
The barriers to entry in STEM for people of difference are pervasive, self-perpetuating, and intertwined. It’s hard to pinpoint a single barrier as “biggest.” Cultural norms and unconscious bias start early and appear in the youngest section of the toy store aisle with boy-themed- science kits and girl-themed- baby dolls. The daily, subtle “nudges” kids receive at home and at school create gravitational pulls towards and away from STEM.
Lack of diverse STEM role models at home, in school, and in the media validate the “cultural nudges” and leave girls and students of difference outside of the pipeline of STEM learning. It’s not uncommon for a student to be told “Oh, you wouldn’t like that class, it’s hard/for boys” (I was). The funnels of studies and exposure oftentimes result in experiences where girls or students of difference don’t even know that the STEM courses they are missing exist.
Pre-requisites in the form of physical material requirements (like computer gear) and educational expense create additional financial, gender, and race barriers that limit the horizon for what students are exposed to.
Another big barrier arises if a student of difference makes it past the barriers of bias, access, and means. Entering the STEM funnel finds them likely a part of a minority and as they advance in level the number of people like them shrink. Being the one who is “not like the others” in any environment is really hard.
Finally, the performance and work of people of difference is often subject to unconscious bias in how it’s graded, assessed, and promoted. The barrier of facing a higher level of question or criticism results in having to work harder to reach parity with peers.
What or who inspires you?
Women who pursued studies and careers while raising families, like my mother and sister, and women who raised the ceiling for me in tech, art, and finance like Bonnie John, Laurie Frick, and Sallie Krawcheck inspire me. Women, like my grandmothers who faced steep barriers to go to college and worked to flatten the road for me inspire me.
Learning inspires me, it’s in my DNA. Experimenting in labs, making art and music, continuing to study, and playing video games inspires me.
The young women and people of difference who I work with and teach inspire me with their bravery, creativity, empathy, and intelligence. I genuinely want to flatten the road for them and leave the world better for them than I found it.
Finally, my niece inspires me. She is four years old and fearlessly running toward learning. I can’t wait to see what she accomplishes.
What is your proudest moment/accomplishment?
There isn’t just one but some super cool things I’ve gotten to do include getting the opportunity to:
- build and launch new technology, data, and digital groups
- a chance to teach in the first year of a brand new applied analytics program at Columbia
- cheer as my former interns got accepted into prestigious and rigorous programs
- travel to 21 countries to deploy and train software I had a hand in developing
- study music at a conservatory
- see my name in the credits of a video game
- sing in the world premiere of a Star Wars piece at concert at Town Hall
- mentor amazing humans