Mirza Expands Leadership Team with Artificial Intelligence Industry Veteran

Dr. Robert Elliott Smith is an expert in evolutionary algorithms, a researcher, and a practitioner in A.I. with 30 years’ experience


LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, September 8, 2020 /



-- Siran Cao and Mel Faxon, the co-founders of Hey Mirza announced today that


Robert Elliot Smith, PhD FRSA has joined Mirza as CTO to lead product, data, and algorithmic strategy. Dr. Smith will play a pivotal role in shaping the data and insights as Mirza launches its Beta product in the fall. Dr. Smith is an artificial intelligence expert with 30 years’ experience across public and private sectors. His scientific research has been published and cited widely in numerous peer-reviewed journals.


Over his career, he has helped to create AI descriptions of immune system behavior, machine learning of innovative fighter jet maneuvers, data analysis of emotion in financial markets, mathematical models of how social networks propagate political polarization, and knowledge representations of globalized production and supply chains.


Discussing what he wants to bring to Mirza’s vision, Dr. Smith has said “In military projects I’ve worked on, experienced commanders understand that effective AI solutions can’t be black boxes: instead, they need to transparently and flexibly enable people’s subjective decision-making in the face of continual, life-and-death uncertainties.” He continues, “this has helped me understand and develop a range of AI techniques that address this challenge, but they generally haven’t been applied in some of the most uncertain, subjective, and life-impacting decisions people make every day, like those surrounding family and career. “


Mirza is building the modern parent’s digital financial and career strategist. Siran Cao, CEO at Mirza, says, “we’re designing practicable solutions for this modern world, and we’re on a mission to make it a truly inclusive one. Right now, our workplaces and policies are designed as if we have a sole male breadwinner, and that’s just not reality. With so many algorithms simply reinforcing disparities - we’re talking from hiring to banking to policing - we’re excited to have Rob on board to create our AI that does the opposite: close the gender pay gap and create equitable futures.”



The current narrative is that women can have it all - careers, families, you name it. The reality is that structure in place don’t actually support families. Three years after having children, only 36% of women work full time, due predominantly to the exorbitant cost of childcare and the rigid structure of the traditional workplace.


Mirza’s solution, centers around providing both parents with the information they need to be proactive about the decisions surrounding having children while growing a career. By planning and budgeting for upcoming costs, individuals can feel confident and prepared for their new life goals.


“We are excited for people who are thinking about starting a family to use our beta version of our planning tool,” says Mel Faxon, COO of Mirza. “We’ve taken decades of academic research surrounding the motherhood penalty and built a calculator that helps parents navigate parental leave, return to work, and the costs of childcare. We look forward to the feedback we will get from testers to help us tailor and personalize our final product.”


Keyvan Vakili, Associate Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at The London Business School, says, “there are plenty of resources out there to help future parents plan for having children. What they don't offer, though, is how these decisions add up and affect the career prospects of parents, their financial and lifestyle status, and their broader life plans and objectives. Mirza is here to fill this gap. Mirza enables parents to effortlessly explore various options they have for each decision and see how their choices influence their future goals and aspirations”.


The company is currently recruiting beta testers for their MVP, which will allow users to explore and adaptively plan for the different, evolving options that are necessary when starting a family - from considering the costs of fertility treatments and different forms of childcare, to the long-term financial impact of taking unpaid leave. If you would like to register as a beta user, please sign up here.


About Mirza

Mirza is on a mission to close the gender pay gap by giving parents the tools they need to continue women’s participation in the workforce as mothers. The company provides data, reporting and recommendations for employers that facilitate better policies and cultures for working parents. For Mirza, it doesn’t stop with just gender pay equity, as the company creates and captures truly intersectional data: Mirza is the all-in-one D&I strategy & solution.

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Contact Name: Natacha Rousseau

Email: natacha@diplomatiq.io

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