Kayla Broussard is recognized for her leadership and expertise in hybrid multi-cloud solutions, managed services, resiliency, storage. Broussard has been selected to be part of the inaugural class of Kyndryl Distinguished Technical Leaders, leading innovators who are shaping the future of Kyndryl and driving change in the industry.
If you had to describe your role at Kyndryl in a nutshell, what would you say?
My day-to-day involves bridging gaps between strategic initiatives and pain points that our customers have and the solutions and strategies that can set them right. I do that by translating for them through a consultative approach how our expertise and capabilities can be applied to solve their biggest challenges.
What’s something enterprises today wrestle with?
We live and work in an environment in which the amount of data we’re generating has exploded — and we create more and more of it every single day. The pandemic had an outsized impact on this, as well. The world's most important enterprises are sitting on mountains of data, and they don’t always know how to access it, interpret it, or use it to their advantage.
Think about how the travel industry was hit by the pandemic. People stopped flying. People stopped going to hotels. They stopped renting cars. So those companies not only had to shift much of their businesses to drive more efficiency, but they also had to think ahead about how to use available data to prepare for when customers did start traveling again. They had to key into critical business insights that could help them figure out how to best entice customers back, to prove that they should be picked over a competitor.
So many of those valuable answers live in data, and our customers have relied on the ability to tap into our expertise and knowledge to figure out how to navigate that data and the new normal that we’re all in right now.
How did you become interested in technology?
I remember being drawn toward the power of technology in the early nineties, when the promise of technology was all about how computers could be used to solve big and important challenges.
It’s funny for me to think back on now, but early in my life I’d tell people I wanted to grow up to be a doctor. I have no idea why I’d ever have said that, because I can’t handle the sight of blood, and needles make me feel uncomfortable. But my course was corrected during my high school years. I took my first computer science class. It came so naturally to me and set me down a path that’s ultimately led me to where I am today.
Is there a particular project you’ve worked on that helped define your success in this field?
There are a couple things that come to mind. The first was that very early in my career I was fortunate enough to work on a team that performed classified government work. It was in that role that I really got exposure to doing incredibly important on-premise data center work world-wide, including installation, racking and stacking hardware, administration, programming and working with high performance computing. It was incredibly eye-opening. And some of that technology I worked on wound up being crucial after the 9/11 attacks because it allowed the government to organize a significant amount of the data that assisted in figuring out what happened that day, and who was behind the attacks.
That’s going to be a tough accomplishment to top.
It was really interesting work. But so was my second example, which was all about my work with a very specific client that used infrastructure services and artificial intelligence to determine the secrets behind successful guide dogs.
Now, I have a golden retriever myself, and it’s just a fact that in the world of service dogs, they are a breed that’s often used. My work helped run natural language processing of structured and unstructured data to train systems to understand the correlations between a variety of canine genetics. That included considering overall health, temperament, and the environmental factors that help determine which dogs are going to be more successful at being guide dogs for blind individuals and individuals that have various handicaps.
My focus is on the consumer and travel market, and I just thought that this was one of the coolest and more important betterment-of-society projects I’d ever seen or worked on.
Your work history is fascinating.
Kyndryl is a special and interesting place to be, and it provides no shortage of opportunities to work on neat things. Part of that is because it has a start-up mentality without the risk that typically comes with being a start-up. Anyone who comes here is going to have personal ownership over some truly interesting work, and they are going to be empowered to contribute in ways that can be applied to the most important enterprises in the global economy today.
So, if someone wants to work hands-on with customers whether in sales or delivery, and have a lot of passionate customer conversations, they will find those opportunities here. Or they can choose to contribute behind the scenes and have a hand in building patents, intellectual property, and guiding our offerings. That’s an exciting proposition.
How did being recognized as a Distinguished Engineer make you feel?
I was completely flabbergasted. Throughout my career, a Distinguished Engineer was always someone spoken about with reverence. So this recognition was very special, and a way to tell me that my work solving problems and exploring new horizons and technology was important — that my contributions were valued. It's an amazing opportunity, and it has me really looking forward to being part of Kyndryl’s future. I know we have an amazing future ahead, and I am energized and committed to being part of that.