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2021 Women Leaders in AI: Poonam N. Verma

April 15, 2021

The Value of Teamwork

In March, IBM named 40 distinguished female technologists to its 2021 Women Leaders in AI list, which highlights women in business who are using AI innovation across companies around the globe.

Poonam N. Verma, DTCC’s Managing Director, Security Engineering and Operations, was named to that list, and DTCC Connection caught up with Verma to talk about this honor.

DC: What is the significance of the IBM Women in AI list? What does it mean to be recognized on the list?

PV:It is certainly a great honor to be recognized on this list with some amazing women who have contributed to AI across a variety of fields. I joined DTCC to modernize the information technology security program. Within AI, the security field often gets overlooked, so I am very proud to be included in this list of 40.

DC: What are some of the ways AI is being leveraged in the financial services industry?

PV:AI is picking up speed and the ability to do more value-added work is a big part of the reason why. An ability to look at automated or machine-driven patterns and be able to make decisions is where AI is becoming very helpful.

DC: How is DTCC approaching the use of AI? How does AI tie into DTCC’s work with transforming the industry?

PV:Overall, DTCC is in the very early stages of its AI journey. There are plenty of great opportunities to utilize AI within DTCC. We are slowly building momentum so we can use AI in security or within other areas in IT. We want to use AI for that heavy lifting, so we can make thoughtful decisions on the variety of technology decisions we make each day.

DC: How is DTCC approaching the use of AI in cross-functional collaboration?

PV:We have opportunities coming up where we will be more collaboration with the virtual command center. With a diverse staff and skillset available, we can improve having a more holistic view of our network, applications, and systems by using AI to help determine where a problem may be brewing before any client impact occurs. AI will drive some of the proactive responses we are looking for to continue to be a thought leader in technology.

DC: What are some of the key lessons you have learned during your work with AI?

PV:Be patient with AI because extracting the full value and benefit takes time. It gives you value over time and you’ll have to give a lot of input for the output to give a return. As long as you’re thoughtful about how you can use it to bring value, it will come. Don’t lose faith, and just make sure you’re making incremental progress.

DC: What advice would you offer women who want to enter a STEM profession?

PV:Just do it. We need more women in STEM. We need that mindfulness that women bring to the table. Sometimes, as women, we cut ourselves short and we don’t take those opportunities. If you have the passion to solve problems, and if you’re driven, there’s no better place to utilize those characteristics than with your STEM skills.

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