Linda Chen: Empowering Growth and Innovation in AI

The Most Innovative Women in Artificial Intelligence, 2023

Linda Chen COO at ohn Snow Labs

Linda Chen, the Chief Operating Officer at John Snow Labs, is an accomplished general manager and product management leader with a proven track record in getting industries to adopt new technologies. She possesses a deep-seated passion for fostering business growth and individual development by enhancing operational processes.

Linda’s career journey has undergone significant transformations, providing her with broad experience across industries and continents. After completing a Computer Science degree at MIT, she commenced her career as a quantitative trader on Wall Street while getting her Statistics masters at Columbia University, then continued in London and Hong Kong working for major global banks, and later found her calling working at Microsoft, where she was closely involved in the commercialization of research innovations and web search product. Notably, Linda was selected to participate in the Santander W50 program, an executive leadership initiative to groom women for future board member roles, addressing the need for diversity in corporate boardrooms.

Today, Linda finds the most rewarding aspect of leadership in offering guidance and support to people seeking her advice for launching their own businesses or advancing their careers. Her fulfillment as a leader now stems from witnessing her peers and staff rise above, achieving accomplishments that surpass her own.

With over two decades of experience in analytics and strategy, spanning across large technology firms, leading financial institutions, and start-ups, Linda has operated in global markets. She possesses a robust track record in developing new markets, building exceptional teams, and consistently delivering high levels of growth fueled by customer success.

Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Linda has always harbored a passion for maintaining a learner’s mindset. The rapid progress and the abundance of intellectual challenge within the AI industry constantly pique her interest. Given the breakneck pace of change in this field, complacency is not an option.

Linda firmly believes that when running an AI company, initial victories may not come easy, but one can rebound and endure to secure success in subsequent attempts. A leader in this space must comprehend that AI applications and customer needs will perpetually evolve and improve with each iteration. It’s akin to a marathon, requiring persistence and resilience to stay in the game without succumbing to burnout. Sustaining high R&D investments is also critical, since customers demand state-of-the-art solutions, which evolve and get replaced very quickly – often multiple times in the same year – in the AI space.

Managing Growth at John Snow Labs

Within the dynamic startup environment of John Snow Labs, Linda highlights the team’s versatility, where all members must wear multiple hats to support the company’s operations. One fortunate aspect of the setup is that the absence of a physical office spares her from taking out the office trash, a task that some startup leaders have reported as a primary responsibility.

In this virtual workforce, it’s crucial for every team member to possess a clear understanding of their individual roles and responsibilities, as well as who to reach out to when questions or support are needed. In her capacity as COO, Linda focuses on executing the company’s committed business strategy. Her role involves ensuring that operational processes are efficiently in place for everyone to thrive, promoting effective cross-group collaborations, and closely monitoring and assessing the company’s progress toward its goals.

Linda also highlights her pivotal role in managing John Snow Labs’ strategic partnership program, emphasizing the company’s commitment to success through these long-term strategic across the entire data industry.

Embracing Change and Trusting Instincts

Through her experiences, Linda has come to understand that each person’s professional journey is unique. There exist countless ways to navigate one’s career path, and if you sense that something in your current career isn’t quite right, you’re likely correct. Linda encourages individuals to take the risk of making a change. While it may seem like a step backward from your intended goal, her own experience has taught her that there’s no wrong move when you trust your instincts.

Linda emphasizes that challenges can take various forms. Working in an unsupportive or unappreciative environment isn’t a way of challenging oneself, nor does it lead to personal growth. The real challenge lies in recognizing when you’ve hit a roadblock and taking the next smart step that serves your best interests.

In the early stages of her career, Linda adopted the belief that she needed to work for large brands and struggle to stand out in the crowd in order to move up the corporate ladder. However, she later realized that she thrives in smaller, innovative, fast-moving companies, where she can take on a variety of roles.

John Snow Labs: State-of-the-art Medical Language Models

John Snow Labs specializes in delivering cutting-edge medical large language models (LLMs) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) solutions tailored for the healthcare industry. The company’s software consistently garners top-tier accuracy and recognition through peer-reviewed research papers. Its AI models are designed to be robust, private, equitable, and compliant with the rigorous security standards demanded by the healthcare and life science industries, all while remaining highly scalable.

John Snow Labs proudly caters to a diverse clientele, including some of the most prominent pharmaceutical companies like Roche and Merck, leading healthcare entities like GE Healthcare and McKesson, as well as academic medical centers such as Mount Sinai and Providence Health. All these clients share a common objective: enhancing their capacity to extract valuable insights from patients’ care histories concealed within copious text documents authored by care providers over time. John Snow Labs’ software empowers these organizations to intelligently extract and harness this information for improved healthcare decision-making.

Putting AI to Good Use in Healthcare & Life Science

With her profound interest in innovation, Linda is actively engaged in the translation and application of AI research. She brings to the table her experience as a strategist working on AI applications at Microsoft Research, delving into academic achievements dating back over two decades. During this time, her work revolved around pioneering AI technology that revolutionized the education sector and developed cutting-edge search capabilities.

Linda underscores the importance of fostering a company culture that combines dedicated pure research with individuals capable of identifying practical industry use cases and gaps. This approach fuels the adoption of AI solutions and stimulates further research endeavors. Over time, Linda has developed a proficiency in bridging the gap between research and development in the AI industry.

At John Snow Labs, she collaborates closely with some of the world’s leading AI computer scientists to redefine AI’s impact on healthcare through the application of LLM & NLP techniques in an enterprise setting. Their work is enterprise-grade, compliant and scalable. John Snow Labs customers’ have published more than 60 public case studies showing how the software is put to good use in real-world evidence, clinical decision support, pharmacovigilance, de-identification, revenue cycle optimization, clinical guidelines, and medical chatbot projects. These accomplishments translate into real improvements in patient care, research velocity, operational efficiency and cost. Turning noisy free-text documents into clean, structure, and usable real-world data for data scientists and medical experts significantly accelerates the pace of discovering new drugs and enhancing patient outcomes.

Insights on Leadership & Success

For Linda, success is achieved when she can find contentment in her work-life balance and possesses a deep understanding of her own capabilities and limitations. Her aspiration is to serve as an inspiration to others, including her own children, encouraging them to always strive for their best.

Linda firmly believes that leadership in AI hinges on the collaboration of computer scientists, product managers, sales, marketing, finance, and customer success professionals. It’s a thrilling era for the industry, with boundless potential to harness AI for the greater good. Linda encourages technical women not to limit themselves solely to technical roles but to remain open to taking on diverse positions within their organizations. Similarly, she urges non-technical women who are interested in AI not to shy away from joining technology companies and contributing their unique perspectives and insights.

Taking Action to Close the STEM Diversity Gap

In her view, a company succeeds when it continuously applies input from all perspectives, regardless of the individual’s technical or non-technical background. She suggests that women with expertise in specific areas explore opportunities to lead companies in which AI can serve their field of expertise. For instance, if you’re a financial expert, consider aligning with a finance AI company that values your leadership.

In the United States, there exists a significant interest gap between genders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, starting from early childhood. This gap often results in people feeling apprehensive about learning data science or software engineering. As a response, Linda has initiated several programs aimed at empowering young girls, helping them recognize that STEM is an integral part of their surroundings. Her aim is to show that they already possess the skills to leverage AI for their future endeavors.

Bridging Expertise and Innovation

John Snow Labs embarked on its journey by offering curated healthcare datasets and responded to customer demand by expanding into Natural Language Processing, Medical Large Language Models, and Chatbots. The team consists of a broad set of AI experts, medical doctors, data scientists, software engineers – while the customers bring domain expertise of their unique business to the table. This combined commitment, and close partnership across these teams, ensures the successful deployment of AI while developing the necessary tools & processes to achieve real results.

Linda’s personal objectives revolve around demonstrating that a company can thrive for years without overextending its resources, working tirelessly, or burning the midnight oil. She emphasizes the importance of working intelligently, strategically, and efficiently while maintaining ethical standards and avoiding shortcuts. John Snow Labs rapid rise to dominance in providing LLM & NLP solutions to the Healthcare and Life Science industries, known for the slow and conversative adoption of new technologies, is a testament to the successful application of these values. Since it is still early days in AI, growing a company that’s built to last as the next years evolve is critical not only to its success, but to the rate of progress of the industry as a whole.