August 30, 2021
minute read

Sophia Serseri: Channeling her Olympic Spirit on the Sales Team


Sophia grew up in Dijon in Burgundy, France, and devoted her early life to an international gymnastics career – representing France at the 2010 Youth Olympics and at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the Women’s artistic team-all around. France competed in the third subdivision in London, alongside Canada, Great Britain, and the United States, and the team finished eleventh overall.

After retiring as an elite gymnast, Sophia moved to the United States in 2015. She graduated in 2021 from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies, and experiences ranging from Berkeley Women in Business to the Cal Club Gymnastics Team.

A lot of things can make a person like Sophia successful – especially having the right attitude. Sophia brings the same mentality of world class athletics and high-level academics to everything she does, and we were lucky enough to welcome her to the Robust Intelligence team in August. 

How did your background prepare you for working at Robust Intelligence?

"I'm very goal-oriented— once I decide to do something, I really try to go get it, and it's hard for me to stop. I'm good at working hard”

If it’s not clear from her background, Sophia loves a challenge. When we asked why she decided to join the Robust Intelligence team, she shared her enthusiasm to learn new things, and to get involved in a space (data science and machine learning) that she was unfamiliar with. Especially as tech becomes the future of so many industries, the skills Sophia brings from Media/Communication help translate the language of code to the reality of people and conversation.

What’s a day in the life as a Sales Representative for Robust Intelligence look like?

As a Sales Representative, Sophia’s daily work entails sourcing and contacting prospective leads, and corresponding with leaders from the growing number of industries that use data science. Thus far, RI has partnered with companies from small startups to Fortune 500 leaders like PayPal, Expedia, Tokio Marine, Kemper, and the US Department of Defense. 

“What do you do at work?” can be a dull question – but Sophia’s response was anything from boring. “For me, a day at Robust Intelligence means coming to work super excited about booking new meetings and reaching out to new people,” she told us.

Without Sales, even a team of engineers as talented as RI’s would have no way of sharing our product, RIME, with companies around the country and world. It’s an exciting environment of change and opportunity, but it takes a certain degree of dedication. The same sort of characteristics that Sophia brought to her Olympic past, such as perseverance and teamwork, show up in her work at RI.

"If I have a problem to solve, I try it again and again— and if that doesn't work, I find a new angle or direction." 

Sophia spoke about getting into her “bubble” and “zone of doing things,” and the joy of being productive, especially in the context of a very team-oriented company culture. “At the end of the day, everyone just relaxes and chats with each other in the office,” Sophia says. “And I leave just feeling good about the day.”

We almost wish we weren’t cozied up behind a virtual hearth background on a Zoom screen, and we were at a Sales desk in RI’s offices on Tennessee Street in San Francisco instead.

What do you find the most satisfying or exciting about working at Robust Intelligence? 

Robust Intelligence is expanding rapidly, and so is its impact on businesses using machine learning and artificial intelligence. Sophia mentioned how exciting it feels to be part of a high-growth startup, and the energy that goes hand-in-hand with that environment. Energy within a company can come from a lot of different places: innovation, experimentation, success, and especially…team lunch. 

"One of my favorite parts of the day is our team lunch. It's fun because we get to know everyone, we get free takeout, and there are super smart and fascinating people here to chat with."

The company brings together people with diverse and fascinating backgrounds (like retired Olympians!), and it’s a unique opportunity to meet people who are generally passionate—not only about positively shaping the future of artificial intelligence and machine learning, but also, about building a culture that extends outside Python or Salesforce. 

“We do a lot of fun stuff together after work – play tennis, go for runs, have happy hours…it’s a very happy place,” Sophia said, smiling.

Maybe the best piece of intel we got? Just how many free snacks there are everywhere. This Olympian-turned-sales rep swears by the RI teriyaki seaweed and mochi ice cream. 


Related articles

November 23, 2021
minute read

Machine Learning Actionability: Fixing Problems with Your Model Pipelines

October 27, 2022
minute read

Moving in the Right Direction: AI Bill of Rights

June 23, 2022
minute read

Fionnuala Howell: Breaking into Machine Learning