By Ewelina Wołoszyn, CEO and Founder, February 13, 2022
Success is never guaranteed in life or in business for that matter. You can dream all you want for success, but true success comes to those that work for it. There are challenges that must be confronted, as you work for success, you cannot let those challenges block your path to success.
I have worked hard my entire life, so hard work is natural to me. When I founded AI Safety Holdings, I knew it would be hard work and long hours, but I was undaunted by this. My path to success is simply that, a path or a journey, yes it requires hard work, but the journey makes it all worthwhile.
A good friend once told me, “Small Moves”. This is actually an interesting statement, one that I live by, because you can’t do everything at one time. Many people that “dream of success” look only to the end goal – Success! They don’t consider all of the things that must be done to get there, those are the small moves. What makes “small moves” even more interesting, is that as you work hard on those small moves, you are able to see progress as you travel on your journey toward success.
My personal story that led to me founding AI Safety Holdings, and my journey of small moves as recently been featured in Forbes Magazine, you can read about my journey here:
Under this link you will find a Polish article: https://www.forbes.pl/forbeswomen/rozmowa-z-ewelina-woloszyn-zalozycielka-i-ceo-firmy-inwestycyjnej-ai-safety-holdings/mgzsltl
Below you will find an English translation
The story of AI Safety Holdings is closely related to your private experience.
That is right. A few years ago my grandma died of metastatic ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, we found out about it in the last stage, when it was too late. Previously, no examination had found the cancer. Grandma died after about a half of a year fighting the disease. The whole situation was so devastating to me that I promised myself to change the healthcare system on a global scale.
Where did you see the biggest problem?
The healthcare system has always struggled with problems. There is a shortage of healthcare workers, which means that all those in need have little chance of receiving help. In addition, cyber attacks have also appeared, and they often paralyze and destabilize the work of the entire system. In such a world, providing help to those in need becomes more and more difficult. There is a lack of effective use of technology in saving lives. More effective use of data and intelligent optimization of healthcare processes will allow in the future to move healthcare workers to places where patients need them most.
In my opinion, in the case of my grandma, there could have been some premises, for example in medical data, which, if properly examined and diagnosed, would show that something is happening in her body, but unfortunately there was not enough time and proper diagnosis.
What exactly does AI Safety Holdings do?
We set ourselves the highest goals. Saving and protecting life is our priority. For this purpose, I have created and developed an investment company focused on the healthcare, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence industries. Our attention is focused on targeted companies that fit in with our mission. We do not intend to invest in one ‘basket’, but to create a system that will operate in a more holistic way – its individual parts can and will also operate separately. The human body is a system of connected vessels, we want a more effective system of synergy between the healthcare service and “technological benefits”.
We are not able to change the financial aspects in healthcare, because it is related to the economy of individual countries, but more effective solutions can be implemented everywhere. Due to gaps in the system, many people left this world too early, including my grandma. Our goal is to save and extend life to enjoy our loved ones as long as possible.
What will this system be like and when are you planning to start the implementation?
We think and plan in the long term. Our time horizon is 5-10 years. Of course, we will try to build the system faster, then improve it and make it even more efficient.
Our goal is to use technology for the good of mankind. Starting with helping to make better diagnoses, increasing treatment efficiency, moving healthcare workers to the most critical phase of patient’s care, strengthening data protection, until we are going to be able to prepare us for future pandemics. To put it very simply, we want the healthcare system to be like a family friend – who will take care of you and your loved ones.
How was the AI Safety Holdings team formed?
I have extensive experience in managing teams, with my characteristic persistence I managed to assemble a team whose experience has over 21 billion in investments and acquisitions. It took a lot of time and energy to build a committed team that shares my vision. Our international team is the key to success. Our experts work from Israel, the US and Europe. The closest business partners are Mark Garver and Richard Nordstrom.
How are funds obtained for such an endeavor?
From investors who share my vision and who are interested in the impact of technology for the benefit of mankind. We obtain funds from individual investors (multi-millionaires or billionaires), as well as family office managers and other investment funds (for example: Private Equity Groups, Pension Funds). We are currently interested in healthcare companies from the United States or Israel. We chose those locations to start with.
Have you done this before?
Fundraising is a very demanding endeavor that is based on building relationships and trust. I have not had such experience before, but experience cannot be gained other than by working in the profession of your choice. Just as being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, it also takes enthusiasm, charisma, commitment, enthusiasm, determination, creativity and many other qualities.
Does it matter that you are a woman?
There are pros and there are minuses. Statistically, women get much less funding. I was prepared for it. If women get less, it means I have to talk to more people and that is just mathematics to me. Every relationship is a two-way process. We, as a team, also assess whether we want to cooperate with a given investor.
Lonsley is a software house where we have carried out orders in the broadly understood field of artificial intelligence.
As a CEO, I built a team, set budgets, and also created a strategy and set goals and values for the company, but most of all I learned how much Artificial Intelligence can influence various industries, how it redefines everything around.
As a sociologist, how did you come across artificial intelligence?
I started out in PR and marketing focused on startups and technology companies. This is how I found out about machine learning. From here it was close to forming Lonsley and building a team that had a more technical background. I started an intensive learning process that actually continues today.
How did you learn to make strong teams?
I am not a person who builds her career individually, where everything depends on me. I built teams in both the non-governmental and business sectors, diverse in terms of age, gender, cultural circles, etc. I have innate leadership qualities, but I also learned a lot by managing and running my own startup. You work differently with people who you can motivate through the financial sphere, and differently if it is a group of volunteers. It is important to know the motivation standing behind co-workers, what is the portrait of the person in terms of dreams, plans, and the situation in which he or she is, so as to understand first the person and then the whole team.
There is a lot of psychology in it.
Over time, I learned that you can develop a leadership workshop in the family, because wherever you are in business, it usually does not matter at all in the family. I learned greater distance. I was the kind of person who has to say what she thinks. Even with good intentions, the same message may have different sayings. So, I look at these family relationships from a long term perspective, will this relationship be better and this man or woman will be better after what I say.
You are also the creator of the Tech Leaders Poland mentoring program. How did you come to that?
Life is too short to make small projects, and everyone defines himself or herself what is small for him or her. I noticed that I develop myself very intensively, but many of my peers do not have such perspectives or have built relationships. I wanted to create a project that would change women’s lives. I wanted its results to be able to some extent to measure whether the lives of the participants had really changed. It is a several-month program where participants meet online/offline in 1:1 sessions with their mentor. Participation in the project is free of charge, in order to apply for it, you must complete the application form. The team of organizers creates an initial selection and then passes selected applications to the mentors.After the end of each mentoring program, we asked participants and mentors if they had achieved the goals from the beginning of the project. Also, for measurable results and an increase in soft skills, like for example: changing job, promotion, increasing competences in programming or public speaking, etc. Some of the participants, after completing the program, became mentors in our project – emphasizing the idea of knowledge exchange at every level of development.
Do you remember some special stories?
There are many inspiring stories about how the lives of participants have changed. I like at least two of them – one of the participants got a job in Silicon Valley, and during the program she was preparing for recruitment interviews. The second is the story of a waitress who changed her career and started working as a UX designer in London. The stories of our participants show how important motivation and perseverance are because experience comes with time.
Your work has been appreciated by the US Department of State. You have been selected for the International Visitor Leadership Program.
I was selected as one of 34 people from around the world. We were selected based on one criteria: people who can change the world.
The IVLP is a prestigious program that you cannot apply yourself to. Participants are nominated by the US Embassy.
Exactly. I was accepted for a several-week program dedicated to the topic of women and entrepreneurship. It was a great experience and an opportunity to build relationships. During the program, we had the opportunity to meet various guests, among others were: Tina Reynolds, Mindy Mills Hinson, Peggy Sammon, Theresa Welbourne and many more.
What have you especially learned?
My perspective changed. The investment world is, at least statistically, predominantly “male”. Even though, together with the Women in Technology team, I created a mentoring program for women, my business relationships were mostly with men. After IVLP, I decided to take care of the balance and develop more business relationships also with women.