Founder and Chair
Steering Group Leader
Steering Group Leader
We were founded in 2019 as a place for AI enthusiasts in Milton Keynes to connect. To adapt with COVID-19, we grew wings and embraced a new global community. Whilst our events, members and projects are now truly global, we are proud of our heritage, our name and the work we do to support the city that launched us.
Born in Milton Keynes
Discovered around the world
MKAI is committed to being inclusive; a safe space where anyone can learn, feel accepted and find ways to contribute. We lead with kindness, integrity and openness. In fact, our strength comes from this. We want to be the place where everyone feels comfortable to speak up; to politely challenge a view or ask a question, whether they are Data Scientist, a CEO, a student or an interested observer.
We are aware that Data Science is underrepresented in certain regions and that there is currently an unacceptable imbalance of genders in the industry. It is our mission to promote and celebrate the ideas and work of those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and showcase the brilliant female leaders in our industry. Sometimes we succeed in doing this, sometimes we fail. But we are always open to learning how we do this better and our partners (Pride in Business, The Bigger Pie, OpenEthics.ai) help us to improve and lead in this area. Whatever it takes, we want the AI industry to be more accessible, more inclusive, more equitable and more diverse.
What this means in practice is that at every MKAI event and on every project we contribute to, you can expect to see more than one gender represented on the stage, from the leadership team, on the project team and in the audience. We will permit womxn* and BAME leaders the time that they need to discover and validate if we are a good fit for them, without pressuring them to speak or to get involved. We will invite womxn and BAME speakers first because we know there are fewer in the industry, and we will encourage womxn and BAME members of our audience to ask questions and speak up. Our Founder Richard Foster-Fletcher, the MKAI steering group and MKAI associates all strive to be recognised as allies for BAME and womxn leaders in our industry, making sure that we walk the talk and take the time to truly understand the issues and challenges that people face.
* Dictionary.com defines womxn as “an alternative spelling to women that avoids the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women.”
MKAI hosts online events to help everyone from all walks of life to increase their ‘AI fluency’.