Women's History Month Mar 19, 2024

Mireille Estephan - Women's History Month

Brynn Dalton
As we commemorate Women’s History Month, it is with great pleasure that we shine a spotlight on Ardent’s Chief Technology Officer, Mireille Estephan. With over two decades of experience, Mireille’s career is a testament to her passion for technology and commitment to innovation.


The Journey: Could you share with us your journey in the technology/consulting industry? What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

“I’ve been in this industry for 23 years,” Mireille shares. “I started off as a developer, mainly coding, focusing on building products and tools for retail stores and hospitals.” She then transitioned into telecommunications where her focus shifted toward data administration and data analytics. It was during her tenure as a consultant in the telecom industry that her interest in big data and machine learning blossomed. Mireille recalls this period as pivotal, coinciding with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) in the tech industry. “After 10 years of working as a consultant, I moved to Capital One where I was the head of the engineering and data science team; there, I worked on AI capabilities in fraud with my team for 4 years. Then, at Amazon Web Services (AWS), I was the Head of Engineering, where I was mainly focusing on building tools based on the latest cutting-edge tech,” Mireille reflects.

Today, as the Chief Technology Officer, managing the TRI (Technology Research and Innovation) Lab unit at Ardent, Mireille continues to channel her passion for AI and innovation. With a team of “brilliant engineers, data scientists, technologists, geospatial analysts, full-stack developers, and IT professionals,” she is dedicated to driving technological advancements and leveraging data to solve complex challenges.

Reflecting on her inspiration, she shares, “I was always fascinated by the amount of data that companies collect… I wanted to find a way to use the data, learn from it, and help people to understand its value.” This fascination pushed her into the realm of AI, where she has remained passionate for over a decade.

Making an Impact: Can you share a project or initiative you have been involved with at Ardent that you feel had a significant impact on the organization or customers and the role you played?

In her current role as the Chief Technology Officer, Mireille is at the forefront of driving innovation and pushing boundaries in technology research. Although she has been with Ardent for only six months, Mireille is already spearheading a groundbreaking initiative in responsible AI and risk management. Passionate about leveraging technology for the betterment of society, she states, “This is the most impactful project that I’m working on not only at Ardent, but in my entire career.”

Overcoming Challenges: Throughout your career in technology or consulting, what challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?

“Reflecting on her career journey, Mireille shares candidly about her early challenges as a woman in the tech industry. ‘My biggest hurdle, especially in the early years, was being a woman in a male-dominated field,” she recounts. ‘Twenty-three years ago, it was rare to see women in tech. I often found myself as the lone woman in my class and in every job I started.”

Confronting gender biases and stereotypes, Mireille navigated her path in an industry where women were a minority. Despite the odds, she was determined to prove herself and challenge misconceptions about women in tech. Mireille credits her success to consistently surpassing expectations in her work, advocating not only for herself but also for other women in the field, and cultivating a strong support network. Through perseverance, resilience, and unwavering determination, Mireille not only overcame barriers but also thrived in her career. Her story serves as an inspiration for aspiring women in tech, illustrating the importance of resilience, self-advocacy, and building a community of support in overcoming challenges and achieving success.

Another significant challenge Mireille encountered was the relentless pace of technological advancement and how to adapt. “You need to stay up to date and learn all the time,” she emphasizes. To navigate the ever-evolving landscape, Mireille has a three-pronged approach:

“I view challenges as opportunities to learn and expand my skillset,” she says. “I actively seek out new learning opportunities through online courses, conferences, and networking events.”

Collaboration is also essential for Mireille. “I leverage the expertise of colleagues and seek diverse perspectives to tackle complex problems and stay ahead of the curve.”

The third cornerstone in Mireille’s career strategy is innovation. “I actively propose and explore new technologies and solutions, fostering a culture of continuous improvement within my team and organization.”

Words of Wisdom: Reflecting on your career journey, what advice would you give to those just starting their careers in the technology or consulting sectors? Is there anything you wish you had known earlier in your career?

As Mireille reflects on her career she says, “I think the main advice I could give anyone who starts in tech is to be curious and eager to learn.” In an industry characterized by rapid innovation and constant evolution, aspiring professionals may feel pressured to advance quickly or achieve immediate success. However, Mireille emphasizes the significance of embracing each stage of the journey, recognizing that true expertise is cultivated over time by learning from your mistakes. Mireille adds, “Technology and consulting are constantly changing, so you need to keep up with the latest trends, tools, and best practices. You should also seek feedback, ask questions, and learn from your peers, managers, and mentors.”

Looking back on what she wishes she knew earlier in her career is the importance of networking and relationship-building. Mireille reflects on the period in which she did not have the benefit of a mentor’s guidance. “I wish I would have known earlier that I needed a mentor,” Mireille admits. “For 6 years, I didn’t have the right mentor in my life, and it held me back a lot.” She met her current mentor back in 2008, who ended up profoundly shaping her professional journey. “Every move I make in my career, I ask for his advice – he is the person I go to for everything, and he helped shape me and my career into what it is today.” Mireille believes that while technical skills are essential, so are people skills. Effective communication, building trust, and fostering relationships with clients, partners, and stakeholders are vital aspects of success. Expanding one’s network and leveraging connections can open doors to new opportunities, referrals, and resources.

Mireille’s dedication to driving innovation underscores her belief in the power of technology to address complex challenges and make a meaningful impact. In celebrating Mireille’s achievements, we not only honor her individual accomplishments but also recognize the collective strength and resilience of women in shaping the future of technology.