Valeria Cortez Vaca Diez

Valeria is a Senior Data Scientist at Monzo Bank. Her work focuses on deploying the latest Decision Science practises to provide the best borrowing options to customers.

Valeria always loved Maths and Computing. An early experience in 2008 showed her how technology can help build a better society. Starting in her home country Bolivia, she won an international award for her project “Carrying Life”, by promoting the wide use of fabric bags instead of plastic. Technology helped her communicate with her community, international organisations and even connect and discuss her project with Bill Gates.

Later on, Valeria had the opportunity to study and work in Munich, Cambridge, and London in the field of Data Science. The more she learned and gained experience, the more she got interested in the challenges that the use of technology can bring to society. This led to a personal project of researching on discrimination in AI systems. Her passion for the topic led her to run training sessions on the topic for the Machine Learning group and other parts of the Lloyds Banking Group. She also led a project to evaluate and mitigate discriminatory outcomes in ML models.

Before joining LBG, Valeria started her career in Cambridge researching on the economics of privacy at Microsoft Research and working for TAB, a Fintech startup. Her interest in Data Science pursued her to do a master’s degree in Business Analytics. During this time she was the Chair of her master’s program and had the opportunity to lead a research study on (re-)emerging infectious diseases together with ProMed and KPMG.

Valeria is a strong advocate of ethics and responsibility in AI as well as bringing more diversity into tech teams. She also participates and volunteers with different organisations to advance the tools and knowledge on discriminatory outcomes in Machine Learning.