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Q&A with Esther Richler, Tala Data Scientist II

Name & Title

Esther Richler, Data Scientist II

One emoji that describes you


Where are you from and where do you live?

I am from Montreal, Canada, and I live in San Diego, California

What do you do at Tala?

I build and improve machine learning models to predict whether someone will repay their first Tala loan.

What made you want to join Tala? / What’s unique about working at Tala?

I was first sold on the mission, and then as I met more Talazens I was sold on the people. It’s truly a privilege to work with such a fantastic group of people – all of whom care deeply about the work we do.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

I love working on interesting problems that don’t have clear solutions. I find it very gratifying when exploration turns into innovation.

What are the things you’ve done at Tala that you’re the proudest of? What impact are you making here?

I recently deployed a model that was very complicated to build and deploy, and required a lot of cross-team collaboration. I am really proud of that project because it had a lot of firsts (for me and for Tala), and because it greatly increased the amount of people we can offer credit to.

How did you get into engineering?

I am primarily driven by curiosity, and spent many years as a neuroscientist studying molecules and cells in the brain. Shifting into data science felt like a natural progression for me, and at Tala I get to expand the scope and impact of my work to the global scale.

What tips do you have for someone trying to get into engineering at a mission-driven company?

Talk with people from different kinds of mission-driven companies and be open to new experiences. Really think about the missions you hear about, try to connect with them, and think if you can make them your own.

Now for some fun! Quick! Don’t think! Just type! Go! ⚡️

If you were an animal you’d be:

A turtle

Next place you want to travel to:


Work gadget you can’t live without:

Pen and paper

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