3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Yelena Drabkin
By Alice Bonasio
Yelena Drabkin is the chief product officer at immersive learning startup Strivr, which has pioneered VR-based training for elite sports teams. She was the first female executive hired by the company and has been instrumental in its pivot towards applying immersive tech to enterprise training beyond sports. Over the past year, Yelena led and managed a strategic partnership with Oculus (Facebook) to oversee the deployment of more than 20,000 VR headsets to enable the largest implementations of enterprise VR training in the world to date, with employers like Walmart, Verizon and Fidelity.
Yelena is committed to championing women in tech, and has led initiatives such as WISE (Women in Strivr Excelling), which has the mission of creating a network of supportive women within the company and helps women develop new skills, encouraging a more inclusive and empathetic culture. This has led to the company having 40% female employees today.
As Strivr continues to grow and build its immersive learning platform, setting out industry best practices in the emerging field of Virtual Reality training, Yelena says she will focus on furthering the company's vision while creating a bias-free enviroment. This includes furthering various WISE initiatives such as its pilot mentorship program, in with 10 managers acted as mentors. It’s important, she explains, for women to have male mentors, too — and for men to support equality in the workplace, not just in theory, but in action.
Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech and their work. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio.