Laura Bouchard

clock • 2 min read

Central government director, Microsoft UK

What has been your highlight of 2018 so far?

I got married.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Haha, I am obsessively tidy and there's a hidden fat girl inside me so it would have to be Courteney Cox (aka Monica from Friends).

Which tech firm (other than your own!) do you most admire?

I am a big advocate for diversity and inclusion so I was really impressed with PWC's ‘flexible talent' initiative, which allows people to apply for jobs, stating their skills and availability, then matches the recruits to relevant projects on which they can work shorter weeks or work for only a few months a year. Also I loved Accenture's #InclusionStartsWithI campaign.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Box sets - I can't get enough of crime thrillers like Dexter and Line of Duty.

What is the most irritating tech buzzphrase of 2018?

To be honest, I find corporate jargon the worst, particularly ‘level set' and ‘reach out'.

What would be your first act if you were made Prime Minister?

Gosh, I have a very long list including reforming tuition fees, boosting healthcare spending and investing in renewable energy, but a priority would be to have proportional representation in Parliament.

What's the biggest untapped opportunity facing the channel?

AI. Today there is an AI use-case in every organisation in the UK. There are many flavours of AI; we have deep scientific research and robotics, which get a lot of press coverage. Then simpler pre-built platforms and APIs such as cognitive services through to the AI-infused tools I use daily, such as Teams. So help organisations understand what AI actually is, synthesise the complex, land the first workload, make it useable and cement yourself as a forward-looking, innovative partner.

What is your most treasured possession?

My family.

What do your family think you do all day?

My girls think I play MineCraft.

Who has been your mentor in business?

I have been fortunate to have so many amazing mentors but I have to call out Clare Barclay as an utter legend who inspires me to be brave and try new things and is always so supportive.

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