There is a unique opportunity for AI to revolutionize how we think about assistive technology and access to technology for people with disabilities. Learn about the Microsoft AI for Accessibility grant program, Azure cloud technology and the ethical considerations around AI and disability.
About the Speaker
Heather Dowdy is the COO of the Microsoft AI for Accessibility grant program. She leads strategy and business operations to scale the impact of the growing number of AI for Accessibility grantees. With more than a decade of experience developing and demonstrating accessible technology in mobile, web and artificial intelligence, Heather is passionate about using the design thinking process to create solutions that improve usability for everyone.
As the oldest daughter of Deaf parents, Heather is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). Before relocating to Redmond, she was the Senior Product Manager of Accessibility Engineering at Motorola Mobility in Chicago. Heather has served as Chair of the Accessibility Working Group (AWG) of the Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum (MMF) and Chair of the Board of Directors of the World Institute on Disability. A strong believer in empowering communities through education and benevolence, she is the co-founder of Microsoft Ninja Camp, focused on STEM leadership training for high school students with disabilities. Heather obtained her Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A native Chicagoan, she can now be found exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three young children. Heather also enjoys reading, journaling, and interacting with different cultures while traveling abroad.