Below is an article originally written by Mary Rechtoris, Senior Producer at PowerToFly Partner Relativity, and published on March 31, 2020. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
At Relativity, we've celebrated Women's History Month in a variety of ways. At the intersection of the legal and technology industries, it's critical for us to recognize the contribution of female peers who bring innovation and insight to our professional space and our world.
In early March, our community resource group, Relativity Women of the Workplace (RelWoW), hosted a fireside chat with our CEO Mike Gamson. The conversation, in large part, focused on allyship. Mike shared Relativity's plans to squash gender norms that are restrictive for both women and men. Read the article here to learn about Mike's path toward allyship—from where he started to what he is doing today.
We also had the opportunity to share the experience of another Relativian: Aidana Om. In this video, she shares how she is helping break down the gender norms that persist in her home country.
Taking the Path Less Traveled
Aidana grew up in Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian country nestled in the middle of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. She came to Chicago for school in 2012, although her path deviated from what she had planned.
"I didn't end up finishing college," she said. "I wanted to get hands-on experience in the tech industry. I wanted to build and build fast."
Aidana joined Relativity's dev ops team in 2017. She manages internal technology applications that employees use throughout the company. In her work here, Aidana values the support she receives from her manager and the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
"I have a chance to be with my kids and my husband; we love going biking around Chicago," said Aidana. "I get to host different events with the Kyrgyzstan tech community in Chicago through Muras Club."
Building the Kyrgyz Tech Community in Chicago
Muras Club's mission is to connect, grow, and impact like-minded and highly skilled Kyrgyz IT professionals based in the Chicago area. According to Aidana, the Kyrgyzstan tech industry lags behind the US. Many are unaware of the vast opportunities the global tech industry offers. Muras Club aims to increase knowledge sharing about IT opportunities and build a network in Chicago.
The club convenes on the weekends in Des Plaines. Members' professional roles vary from quality assurance engineers to mobile developers to system engineers. Despite their different niches, they rally together to develop start-ups and learn about the latest and greatest in tech.
In March, Muras Club hosted a tech breakfast geared toward women. It was an opportunity of particular interest for Aidana.
"In my country, we don't have too many people in the tech industry," she said. "We have a stereotype that tech jobs are only for men and women should stay home. I want to change that."
Enacting Change through the Web
Aidana strives to disprove that stereotype. She is reaching women and girls around the globe through her social media. With upwards of 54,500 Instagram followers, Aidana has built a community all over the world. She shares videos on technology, cloud computing, and coding, among a myriad of other topics.
Although Aidana self-describes as a quiet person, she is using her platform to broadcast her message to women and girls who may not know they can pursue careers in technology.
"I want people to know—especially women from my home country—that the world needs IT professionals," she said. "We have a lot of smart women and girls in Kyrgyzstan. I want to inspire them to unlock their potential."
Mary Rechtoris is a senior producer on the Brand team, Relativity's in-house creative team, where she works closely with the multimedia team and the larger marketing department to develop and socialize new ways to tell stories.
Below is part of an article originally written by Janey Zitomer at Built In Chicago, and published on April 9, 2020. This part of the article is about PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
SENIOR DATA SCIENTIST
BurWei looks forward to a future where companies build AI models that understand and respond to user trust. That way, systems would take better cues from their surroundings as users become increasingly comfortable with the technology. Relativity leverages machine learning and visualizations to help users identify key issues during litigation, internal investigations and compliance projects.
What AI trends within your industry are you watching at the moment?
At Relativity, we organize large bodies of text for legal applications. So, I follow innovations that require less and less human effort to classify, cluster and structure large text corpuses.
In particular, innovations on transfer learning for text data are reaching maturity. In 2019, AI researchers and engineers developed a rich ecosystem of pre-built models appropriate for transfer learning on text. At a high level, this technology transfers salient information from prior data, so that new models can be built more efficiently. For our clients, this means coding fewer documents to discover new insights.
Recent advances in machine translation are also impressive. While the challenge of building AI that understands hundreds of languages remains great, I'm keeping an eye on creative methods such as cross-lingual transfer. It can be used to build multi-lingual systems without incurring the cost of a dataset in every language.
We are actively researching multi-lingual transfer learning architectures.
How is your team applying these trends in their work or leveraging AI in the products they're building?
We are actively researching multi-lingual transfer learning architectures. In addition to the efficiency gains, we anticipate that these architectures will provide a foundation for building new product features such as document segmentation and providing explanations for model predictions.
What's one trend you're watching that other people in the industry aren't talking about?
I'm excited for creative AI and UX researchers to design systems where people can express how much trust they have in an AI system and receive insights appropriate to that level of trust. Whether it's a self-driving car or a volunteer-built encyclopedia, a new technology always takes time to mature. Stakeholders are correct to be wary at first.
However, as an AI system evolves and "learns," it would be exciting to give users more control over how the technology and its insights are phased in. Building AI that understands and responds to user trust could help us build systems that are more accurate and less biased.
Below is an article originally written by Adrienne Teeley at Built In Chicago, and published on December 19, 2019. This article is about PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Katie Connor stepped into a client meeting with a hunch.
The senior account executive at Relativity was at a large company's legal department to give a demonstration of one of Relativity's products, Legal Hold, which automates the legal hold process for users. She'd spent a good bit of time with this client getting to know their business needs and current roadblocks and, in addition to Legal Hold, suggested the full stack of RelativityOne's products, which could drastically improve the legal department's workflow and provide more accurate data than what they were currently using.
Shortly after the meeting concluded, the client responded that they still wanted to buy Legal Hold — in addition to the entire RelativityOne full stack of products.
Connor didn't rely on sales tricks to get the upsell: She was able to draw on the knowledge she'd gained from months of close communication with the client in order to accurately assess the organization's pain points, then offer solutions that would truly benefit them.
This a-ha moment for a Relativity client wasn't the first (or the last time) this has happened. Connor and her fellow team members are a part of the fastest-growing area of go-to-market focus at Relativity — and they're still growing and hiring. Together, they've been working on developing new, direct commercial relationships with the largest companies in the world. So, being able to master Relativity's sales cycle and advise clients throughout all steps of the process, has been vital to getting clients what they need.
Where some might see obstacles in the process, Relativity's sales team sees benefits.
Senior Account Executive
"Within the next few years, I'm planning to bring in some top new corporations and work even closer with our development partner community and clients. I'm also excited to learn from all the new talent joining Relativity from other top companies across all of our departments."
Senior Account Executive
"We are all able to reach out to each other for ideas and support when needed, which is one of the things I really like about Relativity's culture. We are invested in each other's success as well as our own."
Senior Account Executive
"It's exciting to bring in people from a number of different backgrounds and have all of us learn how to work together to best serve our customers."
No such thing as a 'typical client'
In order to get a full picture of what products would work best for their clients, account executives at Relativity set up discovery meetings, demonstrate the software and talk candidly about the path to implementation.
"Relativity's sale cycle is very detailed-oriented. We look at our clients as partners and really work to understand their needs, wish lists and expectations," Connor said.
The relationship between clients and account executives must be so collaborative in part because the client-type varies widely, said Ryan Edwards, a senior account executive at Relativity. Therefore, the work the software can assist with can be applied to many different industries.
"I'm working with interesting people at small and large, global corporations across manufacturing, biotech, pharma, banking and energy," Edwards said. "I could have had a demo with a financial services and insurance company in New York yesterday, a pitch to an energy company in Houston today and a discovery call with a software company in San Francisco tomorrow."
What does the client care about?
Once a potential client is in talks with Relativity, the first task at hand is to analyze the current solutions they use. From there, the account executives will lay out a roadmap for how RelativityOne products can tackle once-daunting tasks.
"We understand there is a different blueprint for every customer," Connor said. "We're strategic to our approach in selling RelativityOne, and we integrate the solution with the needs of the customer."
Edwards and Connor agreed that due to the diversity in the types of companies that reps work with, being able to solve pain points keeps sales interesting at all stages of the process.
"What's exciting for me is the opportunity to learn what people care about, and how RelativityOne can be meaningful on a personal level," Edwards said. "Will it give the client more time outside of work to spend with their family? Will it help them to level-up their skills and prepare for their next role?"
Letting the numbers speak
After this point, the client generally knows what the product can do — but what they don't know is how it can work for them specifically.
"During the consideration process, the customer will want to test the software, speak with our product, solutions and security teams, and have more detailed conversations around on-boarding and support," Connor said. "I do find clients spending quite a bit of time evaluating RelativityOne and its capabilities."
With any addition to a company's workflow, the decision to buy new software and change up operations isn't one any company makes lightly.
"One of the best things I have found to show customers during this stage is the large, robust community of Relativity users and experts that are out there in the world," said Todd Tucker, a senior account executive at Relativity. "It's the biggest advantage of going with a market leader and is a real strength to our customers."
By the time the client signs a contract, an account executive could have already worked with them for several months, becoming a resource and a support system. "In many cases, if not all, you become a trusted advisor to clients," Edwards said. "I believe the innovations that Relativity drives into the e-discovery industry really matter, and I feel that by selling RelativityOne, I can have a real impact on my corporate clients."
After the sale
When Connor left that meeting having just sold the RelativityOne full stack to her clients, it was a personal win, but it was also a win for her client — and their clients as well. With their new software, the time they'd save on combing through documents would be a fraction of what they were used to.
The results speak for themselves: According to Relativity, one of its clients used its software to pinpoint a single Chinese character within hundreds of thousands of WeChat messages, unraveling a two-year embezzlement scheme in a matter of days. Another client, facing growing data volumes, used Relativity to cut processing time by 50 percent. If these figures seem borderline absurd, consider that some of these companies need to sort through literally millions of documents at a time.
In some ways, that's another area where RelativityOne is doing the heavy lifting and allowing account executives to get back to what really matters: forming connections and building a network of support that the client will always have access to.Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Photography by Allison Williams. Ryan Edwards' photo provided by Relativity.
"This Chicago tech company hired its 1,000th employee earlier this year. Now, Relativity is set to hire 200 more in 2020."
Below is a Chicago Tribune article originally written by Ally Marotti, a Business Reporter at the Tribune, and published on November 18, 2019. This article is about PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Relativity, a Chicago-based software company that has hired about 200 people this year, plans to bring roughly 200 more employees on board in 2020, many of them software engineers.
More than half of the company's 1,100 employees are tech workers and part of Relativity's product and engineering group, CEO Mike Gamson said. The company has about 900 workers in its Chicago headquarters.
"Sometimes you find there are folks who believe you can't find all the engineers you want in Chicago," he said. "We've had really good luck with Chicago being our largest engineering office."
Relativity makes software that legal professionals use to organize data. Gamson said the company's growth is coming as the legal tech industry expands. Relativity also released its first cloud product about two years ago, which allows the company to do more for more customers, he said. Additional employees will help with that transition.
Besides tech employees, Relativity also is looking to hire people for sales, marketing and customer support teams, among others, Gamson said.
Gamson, formerly a senior vice president at LinkedIn, is one of the new employees that joined Relativity this year, taking the helm of the 15-year-old company from founder Andrew Sieja.
Here’s @RelativityHQ’s CEO @MikeGamson, alongside @chicagosmayor and Andrea Zopp from @WorldBizChicago https://t.co/p6HyF7j355— Ally Marotti (@Ally Marotti)1574090663.0
Gamson announced the growth plans Monday at the company's Loop headquarters. Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined him and announced that more than 2,000 jobs will be added at Chicago tech companies collectively in 2019 and 2020.
"I want Chicago's tech community to hear me on this issue: We see you as vital and essential partners in Chicago's future," Lightfoot said. "We are eager, ready, willing and able to work with our tech community to be successful."
Relativity's count of 400 new positions in those two years is the highest among the 15 tech companies that participated in Monday's announcement. Others include Cameo, which lets users buy personalized video shoutouts from celebrities, parking platform SpotHero and cannabis marketing platform Fyllo.
Below is an article originally published on the 1871 Blog on August 15, 2019. This article is about the CEO of PowerToFly Partner Relativity. Go to Relativity's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
12th Annual Momentum Awards to Recognize Relativity CEO and LinkedIn Alumnus as Entrepreneurial Champion
CHICAGO (August 8, 2019) -- 1871 and The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) announced today that Mike Gamson, CEO of Relativity and the former SVP of Global Solutions at LinkedIn, will receive the Entrepreneurial Champion Award for his impact on Chicago's founder community at the 12th Annual Momentum Awards.
"There's a vibrant tech community here in Chicago, and it's humbling to be recognized for this award among so many great tech leaders and champions in the city," said Mike Gamson, CEO of Relativity. "I'm excited to continue to work with 1871 and the entire community to make Chicago an inviting, exciting, and inclusive place to work – where innovative, mission-driven organizations like Relativity can thrive."
As LinkedIn's first Chicago employee, Gamson was instrumental in founding and growing Chicago's LinkedIn office and has supported numerous companies in the city and its surrounding areas as an angel investor, mentor, board member, and advisor. Gamson has spent a significant amount of time advocating for founders both within 1871 and Chicago's greater tech ecosystem.
In his new role as CEO of global legal technology company Relativity, Gamson partners closely with Founder and Executive Chairman Andrew Sieja to help Relativity continue fulfilling its mission for its customers: organize data, discover the truth, and act on it.
The Entrepreneurial Champion Award is given to an entrepreneur to recognize their individual dedication to the Chicago tech community through mentorship, civic leadership, and economic contributions. Past recipients of the Entrepreneurial Champion Award include Linda Darragh of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Ellen Rudnick of the Polsky Center at the University of Chicago, and former CEC Board Chairman Jim O'Connor, Jr.
"I can't imagine a better recipient for this year's Entrepreneurial Champion Award than Mike Gamson," said 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. "He's transformed the futures of many founders here at 1871 and in the Chicagoland area. I'm proud to recognize him as a champion not only because of his impact on the local startup community, but also because he personifies what it means to be an entrepreneur: collaborative, passionate, and committed to innovation."
In addition to the Entrepreneurial Champion Award, several other honors will be presented at the 12th Annual Momentum Awards on September 19, including the Corporate Champion Award, Chicagoness Award, Momentum Rising Star Award (of which Relativity is a prior winner), and the Momentum Award. The event will be attended by Chicago's best and brightest tech innovators, corporate leaders and civic supporters. It is the largest gathering of the tech community annually and the primary fundraiser for the CEC, which supports the activities and operations of 1871.
At Relativity, we make software to help users organize data, discover the truth, and act on it. Our e-discovery platform is used by more than 13,000 organizations around the world to manage large volumes of data and quickly identify key issues during litigation, internal investigations, and compliance projects. Relativity has over 160,000 active users in 40+ countries from organizations including the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 70 Fortune 100 companies, and 199 of the Am Law 200. Relativity's cloud solution, RelativityOne, offers all the functionality of Relativity in a secure and comprehensive SaaS product. Relativity has been named one of Chicago's Top Workplaces by the Chicago Tribune for seven consecutive years. Please contact Relativity or visit our website for more information.
1871 is a not-for-profit organization that exists to inspire, equip, and support founders to build great businesses. It is the #1 ranked university-affiliated business incubator in the world, and the home of ~500 high-growth technology startups and ~1,500 members supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. Located in a 140,000 square-foot space in The Merchandise Mart, 1871 has 350 current mentors available to its members, as well as more than 100 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and other organizations that make its extensive matrix of resources possible. Visit www.1871.com/momentum for more information.