Meet the woman of the hour, Andrea Mandelbaum, an instrumental personality who founded her company Mc Luhan Consulting in 1996.
With a sheer passion for technology and AI, Andrea believes that technology is neither good nor bad and we as humans need to determine its use through our ethics. Today, after establishing her company from scratch, she continues to be on the lookout for the next amazing technology, and she believes AI will open incredible possibilities.
About Mc Luhan Consulting
To develop and deploy innovative AI technologies that empower companies to make better decisions and improve their customer relationship.
To be a global leader in AI technology, providing a cutting-edge solution that enables companies to make informed decisions and unlock their potential.
Mc Luhan Consulting is a specialist in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Immersive solutions (VR/AR). The company provides a range of services to help organizations leverage the power of AI and ML to improve their operations and increase their competitive advantage. Its services include AI/ML strategy development.
The core offering of Mc Luhan Consulting is helping organizations develop an AI strategy that is tailored to their specific needs in customer services and sales. It provides its AI products with the best technologies and approaches to use and helps organizations develop a roadmap for implementation.
A Challenging and Adventurous Journey
In her long-spanning career, Andrea has faced multiple challenges. She highlights the two major obstacles she faced initially, the first is the geopolitical one and the other is fighting the age-old narrative of being a young woman in technology.
On the one hand, Mc Luhan Consulting was first set up in Argentina and then expanded to all of Latin America. Argentina is an unstable country in political and economic terms. Every time the government mandate changes, the rules change as well, so that forces Andrea and her company to always keep up with the movements to readjust themselves to the new reality. This stimulates creativity and activates resilience a lot too.
After withstanding many hurdles overall, Andrea has successfully upheld a company in Argentina for 25 years which is courageous in many ways. This has boosted her confidence and now she strongly believes she can replicate the same journey in any country. That is what encouraged her to open new markets such as Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama.
On the other hand, Andrea was young and obviously with no history in the business world. Assimilating new notions about technology back then was truly complicated. In addition, Mc Luhan Consulting is and has been a 70% women-based structured company and that was uncommon. In today’s time, it is natural for Mc Luhan Consulting clients to do business with women having those positions, but it wasn’t habitual in the past.
In many ways, Andrea has truly shattered many gender bias barriers and risen above many odds. She adds, “I consider that my contribution to making Mc Luhan Consulting a successful company is to comprehend, to empathize with our client, to be flexible, and to quickly adapt to the new models of work. Moreover, to the evolution of our business models.”
Staying Ahead of the Curve
Mc Luhan Consulting always stands out for being one step ahead in technology, understanding new trends, and anticipating the development and testing of new solutions in its innovation laboratory. It acts according to the need of the hour while always keeping an eye on the near future.
When the firm started working with artificial intelligence 11 years ago, companies did not know what it was about and were afraid. So, it works a lot on training what it is, what its origin is, what it is for, and how it can help them within the organization.
Then, it focuses on bringing its products closer to use cases or pain points that companies have in common by industry and country. To adapt it to real needs. It is a work of research and active listening with its customers and prospects to understand their needs and be able to adjust its products to them and not the other way around. Each company has its particularities, but the problems and use cases are very similar by country and industry.
Offerings Quality-Focused and a Myriad Range of Services
Mc Luhan Consulting is an omnichannel conversational platform, based on artificial intelligence and machine learning that allows customers to be served in a personalized way through virtual assistants. It is developed in English, Spanish, and Portuguese tropicalized by country to get a better understanding of the user. It understands natural language and is developed by industry (banking, insurance, retail, telecommunications, utilities, government) and has more than 1000 functions or use cases by industry. This allows delivery to be very fast because one has to only adapt to each company according to their way of communicating with their customers.
In addition, it is a Health Customer care platform that has been designed with state-of-the-art technologies to help take care of patients and providers. Omnichannel Platform for communication with patients based on artificial intelligence models that allow the patient to understand in natural language, including the tropicalizes of each country.
It has medical TRIAGE for symptom detection according to the level of severity (red code, yellow or green) and refers the patient to the hospital with geolocation, ambulance, schedules online, or medical appointment specialists as appropriate.
Sannare accompanies patients at all times, authorizations, chronic diseases, wellness recommendations, home doctor, control, and monitoring of medication. It has 1000 use cases to help the user in their health and the entities in their service to improve the experience, increase the attention in the volume of patients, greater precision and speed in diagnoses, and operational efficiencies.
Virtual Stores: Offers experiences where the user is immersed in a journey that goes beyond a transactional link. It is a sales and service channel, product testing, customer service, community, and sensory interaction in an omnichannel virtual space.
The firm makes personalized developments tailored to companies. The versatility of the 360 spaces solutions allows for multiple use cases for each industry: Retail, the customer can test products in 3D. Virtual Office, where employees can make internal and transactional inquiries, get trained, and have meetings. In addition, public spaces can be implemented for prospects and clients. One can also do training, fairs and congresses, and experimental entertainment.
Customization is Key to Customer Satisfaction
Clients usually present their needs to Mc Luhan Consulting or they are identified by its operations and quality team. Because they are constantly monitoring the proper functioning of the platforms and that is where the opportunities lie. Generally collecting the opinions or conversations that people have with its bots, both written and spoken.
When identifying opportunities for improvements or new services, the firm analyzes it internally to understand if it is a product that it already has or if it needs to be developed. It analyzes the feasibility and if it is possible to offer it, it presents a POC (proof of concept) to the client.
Technology: The Focal Point
Mc Luhan Consulting’s solutions are based on technology. It generates the best experience for the relationship of the company with its customers but is always based on technology.
At Mc Luhan Consulting, it uses digital technologies throughout the entire value chain that it provides to the customer. It takes care of the research, and evaluation of customer needs, through the design of the experience, selection, combination, and implementation of technologies.
From immersive technologies to artificial intelligence. It combines a great multiplicity of technological tools that allows them to create new sensory experiences. Be it Artificial Intelligence, Augmented reality, Mixed reality, Virtual reality, Holograms, Avatars, Metaverse, or Synthetic reality, it offers a whole range of AI-based business solutions.
Upscaling a Notch Up
As an organization, Mc Luhan Consulting is focused on elevating its offerings time and again. It aims to provide value-added and advanced solutions for its customers with changing times. It takes a look at what it already has on offer and considers how it can be improved upon to provide better value for customers. It also adds additional features or makes changes based on customer feedback to keep up with industry trends and stay competitive.
Invest in Research and Development: Investing in R&D is key for any business looking to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to its products and services, especially those related to artificial intelligence. With a dedicated team working on improving existing offerings as well as researching new ideas for potential future products or services.
Key Insights of the Empowerment of Women
As a woman leader, Andrea believes the qualities of Vision, Empathy, Self-Awareness, and more are key for every woman to survive in the long run.
By having a long-term vision of where the company should be going and how to get there, while also being able to adjust quickly in response to changing conditions. Adhering to strong communication skills – being able to effectively communicate with team members, stakeholders, and the public while managing difficult conversations.
Empathy is to understanding the feelings of others and being able to see things from multiple perspectives before making a decision or judgment call. Self-awareness to recognize one’s strengths and weaknesses as well as how they can impact their decisions as a leader. Always acting with honesty and integrity, and creativity, thinking outside of the box when it comes to problem-solving and coming up with innovative solutions.
Andrea Explains her CEO Duties
As CEO of a technology company, Andrea’s responsibilities include: Setting the overall direction and strategy for the company. Ensuring financial goals are met and striving to exceed them. Overseeing operations and making sure they run efficiently and effectively.
Developing new products/services, marketing plans, and customer service initiatives to increase sales and profitability. Building relationships with key stakeholders, customers, and partners, to ensure their support of the business’s objectives and strategies. Leading cross-functional teams to develop innovative solutions for current challenges faced by the organization or industry as a whole.
Integrating a Holistic Team Culture
Andrea and her firm encourage open communication between management and employees so that everyone is on the same page about expectations. Additionally, it holds regular staff meetings for all departments so everyone can stay informed of changes or updates within the organization.
Its team is unique because each individual brings something different to the table which helps them create an environment where collaboration is encouraged and creativity thrives. It also has a strong focus on AI development and its employees are constantly learning new skills and advancing their knowledge in this field. The team members are encouraged to attend conferences, take online courses, and participate in workshops to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in AI.
Combating the Age-Old Narrative of Being a Woman in Tech
One of Andrea’s biggest challenges was founding McLuhan when she was very young and a woman. At that time there were not many women entrepreneurs in this industry. It was a long journey to show that Andrea could also be in that world of men on equal terms and knowledge.
Over time, she was earning her place. Andrea points out the barriers that she faced in meetings when she went with her team and if there were men. They spoke to them and the questions were directed at them because they assumed that they are the ones who knew about technology.
Unfortunately, being a woman Andrea had to “prove” her knowledge. But it didn’t stop Andrea and today she has successfully transformed into a team where 65% of the squad is made up of women in the company. It has been a long journey for Andrea yet she shows no signs of stopping. She offers other women the possibility of learning artificial intelligence even if they come from careers not related to technology and above all, who feel they have a place regardless of gender.
Cherishing an “All-Inclusive” Environment
Andrea is a virtuous leader, who at all times adheres to her core values. As a veteran, she has built her company on the foundation of her values and vision.
Andrea shares her insightful thoughts on Inclusion, “Inclusion in our company is a value and not a priority. The priorities in the companies can change but the values do not. For this reason, it has been engraved in our DNA since its foundation. And each person who works at Mc Luhan Consulting knows that they have a space for inclusion, integration, and appreciation because we embrace our differences.“
Andrea’s Take on Feminism
Feminism is a constant movement, and from its roots until now, the reasons for which women fight in the world have changed. Mainly it is based on the authenticity of each woman in what she wants to be without questioning from anyone, neither by religion nor custom nor creed nor politics nor geography. It has to do with freedom in your environment, in your family, in society, and in the world.
In business, we still have a long way to go, because there is still a lot of disparity in what women earn versus men, the places they occupy in high positions, the treatment, the freedom of opinion, and how they judge opinions and work in general. I am optimistic and I believe that the new generations experience equality more naturally.
Drawing Inspiration from the Daredevils
As a woman, Andrea is highly inspired by fellow women, who stood the test of time to mark their position in their respective fields.
Several admirable women in the world of technology inspire Andrea. However, she is going to choose two that she thinks are very different but equally fantastic.
Going back in history, Andrea thinks it has been much more complicated, to carry out a career linked to technology and the “obligation” to form a family, in those times compared to today.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is the mother of programming. She wrote the first algorithm in history. She developed her activity during the Victorian era, showing the possibility of practicing the profession and being a mother at the same time.
Hedy Lamar (1914-2000) is known for her role as an actress, little is known that she was also the inventor of the first version of the spread spectrum. This invention allowed long-distance wireless communications, which today is used for Bluetooth, GPS, wifi.
The Art of “Work-Life” Balance
Working has always been part of Andrea’s life even before starting a family. She is an extremely organized person and that allows her to balance work, family life, personal space, and even entertainment and relaxation.
Life experience has led her to understand and respect each of the spaces without invading one on the other and that is what allows her to value and enjoy each moment fully. She continues to learn every day from all the people she interacts with, both professionally and personally, and her curiosity allows her to discover and enjoy all of this.
Pearls of Wisdom
Andrea’s advice to aspiring businesswomen would be to stay focused, take calculated risks, and never give up. Don’t be afraid of failure, it is a part of the process. Surround yourself with mentors who can help you navigate through difficult times, and build relationships with people who will support your success. Lastly, always remember that hard work pays off in the long run!