Dr. Gundula Heinatz Bürki

Every month we ask one individual in our network a few questions about their way into tech, their motivation and their lessons learned.

This months role model is Dr. Gundula Heinatz Bürki who is Managing Director of the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services, a Swiss-wide network of competences for innovative companies and universities. In her role, she enables the collaboration between industry and universities to develop new data-driven business models, products and services. Previously, she spent 18 years in various roles helping develop the IT and corporate development department (team) at a Swiss insurance company. During this time, she led the enterprise architecture, built and led  a Smart Analytics team and helped shape the Mobiliar Lab for Analytics at ETH Zurich as the Business Manager. She holds a PhD in business computer science from TU Dresden (1998).

Let’s start from the beginning. Tell us about where you’re from!

I was born in Halle / Saale (former German Democratic Republic) and went to school in Halle and Ilmenau. Afterwards, I studied computer science at the technical university in Dresden. As I was always curious about analytical challenges, I started to play chess at an early age.

What valuable advice did you get from your parents?

Get involved if you want to shape the future.

How did you become interested in tech?

As a professor of mathematics, my father gaveus the curiosity for mathematical riddles. Additionally, I attended a special class for mathematics and physics and thus I had very early access to computers, at that time with paper tape.

What aspects of your work are you proudest of?

During my time in the Swiss insurance company, we built a data-driven platform for managing all business lines of P&C insurance contracts, a system which was a novelty in Switzerland in 2005. In this project, I was responsible for the architecture. Additionally, I got the chance to shape the Mobiliar Lab for Analytics at ETH Zurich as Business Manager and afterward to build and establish the new analytical capabilities with an experienced team of data scientists in the insurance company.

What drives you at work?

I want to shape the future, in the field where I can change something.
I am curious and want to learn something new every day.

What have been some of the toughest challenges working in tech?

The toughest challenge for me was to become a leader of engaged, experienced colleagues and at the least an example for them.

What advice would you give other women in tech?

Believe in your strength, keep learning and stay involved in tech communities and networks.

Last but not least: What do you recommend our community gets motivated about?

To stay informed, you should join the Swiss Conference on Data Science on June 14, 2019, in Kursaal Bern. It is a good opportunity to get new insights from the data science world and to meet great experts.

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