In her 27 years of life, Dr. Kira Radinsky has earned a PHD at the Technion, has developed software to predict future events, has been selected by MIT as one of the world's 35 top young innovators, received the Israel Defense Prize while serving in the army, and is co-founder of a sales analytics company, to mention but a few of her achievements. Yet despite her repertoire of titles and successes, Ukrainian-born Radinsky says she was surprised that she was chosen as one of the 14 torch-lighters at this year's Independence Day ceremony. "I feel it's a real accomplishment," she tells The Jerusalem Post.
Radinsky already knew that she wanted to be a scientist as a child, and her husband remembers that when they met --at the age of 12-- he asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she replied either a scientist or researcher. And just three years later, with her mother's encouragement, the budding young scientist found herself beginning a Computer Science degree at Haifa's prestigious Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. She describes her mother and aunt as the most influential women in her life, saying she was particularly impacted by the former's work ethic. "She was always pushing me, and saying she believed in me," Radinsky says, adding that when she found the prospect of starting university as a teenager daunting, her mother convinced her to seize the opportunity.
Radinsky wants to change the world, either via medicine or the economy. The most meaningful thing she has predicted so far with her data mining software was the first Cholera outbreak in Cuba in 130 years. "It's pretty easy to cure if you send water in time, and the fact that they can identify it in time can save thousands of people."
Questioned over why she chose sales as the target of her talents, when she launched start-up company SalesPredict -- whose software helps salespeople identify and focus on the right opportunities using machine learning and data mining -- Radinski replies that the economy is often the key to solving wider problems. "In many countries, most cases of disease occur because they don't have a stable economy - if we can help the economy, it can be the first step to solving other problems."
She says that while she and her husband work until about 10 p.m. most days, they take lunch breaks together, and on the weekends it is important for her to spend time with family and friends. Having achieved a black belt in Karate and winning several national competitions as part of the Technion's women's karate team she has now hung up her karategi in favor of her running shoes, which she uses daily.
"I believe in balance," she asserts, saying that these are the things that help her stay sane, even as she pursues her biggest dreams. "I try to imagine myself at the end goal, how I would imagine the world to become eventually - and that motivates me to be part of the big change: to take all the data that we have in the world, and make better decision-making tools, in medicine, economy and politics." She says this way, the world's movers and shakers will be equipped with better tools to make better decisions.