Meet Lana Cuthbertson
Lana Cuthbertson is the CEO and Founder of Areto Labs, a B2B SaaS startup that builds machine learning technology to make digital communities more positive and inclusive. Her career has taken her from journalism to communications and marketing to product and program management to business strategy to entrepreneurship, allowing her to build expertise in technology, digital communications and culture, leadership, innovation, change management and writing. She has worked in industries like technology, financial services and fintech, global pharmaceuticals, post-secondary and nonprofit. She is a passionate advocate for gender equality. She created an A.I. based Twitter bot to encourage women in politics called ParityBOT, which she has built and run in Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. so far. She co-founded and chaired ParityYEG in 2018, a nonprofit dedicated to achieving gender equality in politics, chaired the Alberta North chapter of Equal Voice from 2015 to 2017 and sat on the national board. She was named a Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Edmonton in 2018.
What need did you find within the community? Describe your innovation.
As we listened to women in politics, it became clear that they often faced a significant barrier to entering office: abuse on social media, particularly on Twitter. As an advocate for gender equality in politics, I wanted to explore whether there was a technical solution to this problem. Given my experience in Machine Learning while working at a bank, I realized that there were several markets and technologies that could be leveraged to help address this issue in our community.
What has been your biggest learning since being an innovator?
As you build your business, you'll likely receive a lot of helpful advice from many different people. While this input can be valuable, it's important to remember that every business is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Ultimately, the most critical factor for success is perseverance: don't quit, don't give up, and always find a way to move forward. Executing innovation can be challenging, and it often involves a lot of hard work and dedication. However, if you're able to find enjoyment in the process, it can also be an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Have you faced any barriers being a woman in entrepreneurship?
While it's true that statistics highlight the challenges that women face in raising financing for their businesses. There are a few instances of just being not trusted or believed from some of the more established types of players. This can make it a bit more challenging to recruit senior talent. Despite these challenges, it's worth noting that there are many institutions and entities that offer support to female entrepreneurs. It is getting better!
What advice would you give to women starting out in innovation?
Take action and reach out to your network and any relevant institutions or organizations. You'll likely receive valuable advice, assistance, and support that can help you achieve your goals. Building a business can be an incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling experience, so don't be afraid to jump in and embrace the process.
What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
I am thrilled to be making progress towards achieving our business goals and objectives. It's incredibly exciting to see the impact that our product is having and to watch as we gain more users who are engaging with it in meaningful ways. We're constantly learning from our users and finding new ways to enhance their experience, which is incredibly fulfilling.
Moving forward, I'm particularly excited to start quantifying the difference that we can make. While we have already seen some remarkable qualitative impacts of our technology, being able to track and measure our progress quantitatively will be a truly exciting development. I can't wait to see what the future holds for our product and the positive impact it can have on the world.