Every month we ask one individual in our network a few questions about their way into tech, their motivation and their lessons learned.
Let’s start from the beginning. Tell us about where you’re from!
I am a native of Lutry in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the youngest of 4 girls born from the union of a humanist father and teacher and an open-minded, strong and generous mother and teacher.
Since I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a policewoman. I watched police series. I didn’t understand injustice and wanted to save the world. When I was 20 years old I passed the competitive examination for the police force. I worked for a few years and then I became the mother of my first two children. It was no longer possible to work as a police officer, so I changed my professional field.
I won’t tell you everything about my career, but I worked in the field of health, as a professional counselor, as an interim director of an association for women and as a coach for private individuals and companies. I also completed my initial training with an eMBA and a master’s degree in coaching and leadership.
The common thread in all these professions? My passion for people and my questioning. Why play a role? Why not just be us? Throughout my personal and professional experiences, I have discovered that people speak “truth” through their bodies and are authentic when what they say is aligned with what they think and do. So, after the birth of my two other children, I wanted to be trained in specific behavioral analysis techniques. I was fortunate to be mentored and trained by the best instructors in the FBI.
Today, I work as a human observer and congruence profiler and I live in Muri bei Bern with my second husband and my last two children. The first two children are adults and are on their own life path, but we are very close.
What valuable advice did you get from your parents?
That to give is to receive.
How did you become interested in tech?
For several years, I have been training different types of people in behavioral analysis, or congruence analysis (the fact that what I think, say and do is aligned). These trainings are based on my professional experience and the different techniques I have learned from experts in non-verbal language.
I explain the different signals emitted by humans such as visual ones like comfort gestures or audio ones like vocal tone. Once the signals have been integrated and recognized, I explain how to put them together in order to establish congruence. To give an example: If I say “I am very happy to work for you” and my voice increases in volume and my face expresses sadness, then there is incongruence. During the trainings, we do exercises in order to come back to these incongruent points.
During the workshops, the participants expressed an idea to me: “What if you put your brain in a machine?” We started to look at what was being done. First, we thought of creating a software to learn micro-expressions, but it was already being done. Then my brain as a former policewoman said “We could make glasses to detect dangerous behaviors” (it was at the time of the attacks in Belgium). So, I met the head of Innovation Park at EPFL. He told me that I was too forward-thinking and that I should first think about a simpler software. I started Innosuisse courses to validate this project. This led to a request to Innosuisse, in collaboration with two Swiss universities, to create Cryfe, the authenticity analysis software.
During this two-year project, I received basic training in artificial intelligence and, above all, shared the daily life and thoughts of the project’s engineers. I learned to understand the challenges and limitations of using artificial intelligence. I’m not a real tech woman but I learn every day.
You definitely played an important role in the development of profiling in Switzerland. Can you tell us more about that?
I don’t know if “I” play an important role in Switzerland in the development of profiling. What I can say is that I have a clear vision of my “why” which is “to make the other person safe so that they can access their full potential and be authentic”. It was this vision that brought the Trust Team Cryfe to us. Together, we now stand for it. Our goal is not to categorize people, to decide for them, but to give them a tool so that they can overcome their cognitive biases and learn to meet the other person and themselves, truly.
The important steps were:
- Dare to dream and talk about my idea and share it.
- Meeting the right people and dealing with the wrong ones to learn from failures.
- Participating in the Innosuisse course training that allowed me to apply for project support and create CM Profiling in 2017.
- Never give up, know that there are good and bad times.
- Having a vision and not just a project or the goal of money.
- To be playful while controlling the energy needed not to burn out.
- To speak several languages 😉 and to have at my side not only a great team in Cryfe but people to whom I can tell everything and who support me every day.
On the technology side, Cryfe is fortunate to have been created at a time when new technologies that allow us to read human signals are gaining strength and when a paradigm shift is underway.
Cryfe’s vision is to leave the human being at the center of the decision, proposing itself as a decision support tool. It corresponds to the ethics sought today in artificial intelligence. Each party has its place in the analysis process and signals are clearly indicated. We do everything to reduce the famous black box and cognitive biases.
Profiling and AI – why does that match?
The human being is extraordinary and irreplaceable. His brain is a magnificent interface, but it also has limits. One of the first being its cognitive biases which make it see life in ITS own way and not the reality as it is or could be for others. Our brain sets up these cognitive biases to make us feel safe, thus avoiding burning unnecessary energy when faced with a contradiction. It does everything to keep us in psychological comfort. It is also equipped with memories, but not as powerful as algorithmic neural networks can be.
Algorithms retain and calculate much more information than we do. If the data given to them is good and unbiased, they become like an impartial third party, processing the signals read while applying the imposed computation rules.
For Cryfe, we collected a data set through real recruitment interviews filmed with the agreement of the participants, we annotated them manually and coupled and reinforced them with existing libraries. Cryfe is the perfect example of profiling and artificial intelligence being stronger together. To be precise: At your next interview, for example to choose a business partner, you film your interview, with the agreement of your interviewee. You send it for analysis to the platform and can see the signals emitted by it, as well as the key moments to come back on. For example, during the interview you ask your interviewee if he/she enjoys working in a team (you are looking for someone who does). He answers “Yes, absolutely”, but Cryfe identifies a facial expression of disgust. So the signals are incongruent. But perhaps it’s a thought that has crossed your interviewer’s mind and not a disgust with teamwork. This is typically a moment to revisit with your counterpart.
Cryfe allows you to avoid cognitive biases, to validate your intuitions and specially to come back to the important points with your counterpart in order to validate his real needs and intentions. It’s a tool at your service, increasing your performance.
What does it take to be a good profiler besides a lot of training?
A good profiler is a human who has understood that his brain sets up cognitive biases, that he knows nothing about the other person because he only looks at his own reality. Dare to admit that no, we cannot catalogue the human and that no, there is not a single signal of lie. No Pinocchio nose.
How to confirm the reality in the other person then? We have to validate the congruence between these signals. To do this, we have developed a technique (Validation Incongruence Practice) that makes the body speak and not the brain cortex which is conditioned. The body always tells the truth. If all the signals are aligned, then the person is congruent. If they are not, we must choose to observe the non-verbal signals which are generally authentic.
What drives you at work?
I always have energy to spare because I believe that life always has the right opportunities in store for you as long as you go with the flow and that everything is to be lived as long as we live it in congruence, that is to say by being completely and totally us, in our inner authority.
What other decisive steps significantly influenced and shaped your career?
The fact of daring, of continuing, of knowing that I know nothing and of continuing to learn, of remaining skeptical and open to the possibilities.
In my reality there is no OR, there are AND’s. So, life is beautiful AND ugly, we succeed AND we lose. I go through my life with the desire of the path and not only of the finality.
What aspects of your work are you proudest of?
Through my work I get deeper insights into humans, what moves them, motivates them – it’s a bit like a very intimate glimpse into their inner selves. Being able to see people as they truly are and through that seing a vision that is compassionate and caring, that fills me with pride.
What has been your toughest challenge you faced while working in tech?
Of having met the wrong people. I’ve learned that the emotional relationship sometimes prevents me from seeing past my cognitive biases, oh yes, even as a profiler.
What advice would you give other women in tech?