#WeAreArity Wednesday: Aileen Comer
When Mom asks me what it is that I do again, I say…
I’m a product manager for our Smart Cities team. As a product manager, I have the privilege of collaborating with experience design, data science, marketing, and engineering every day. We’re looking to leverage Arity’s mobility data and data collection capabilities to help cities (and other government entities) better understand how and why people move. Since we’re a newer team, right now a lot of my focus has been on discovering customer needs and defining our strategy and vision. Our hypothesis is that leveraging data to better understand users of the transportation system will help our customers effectively manage, plan, and design transportation for people. Right now, the system is really vehicle-focused, inefficient, and unsafe. We hope to help solve some of those problems.
In your own words, what is Arity?
Arity is a team of really smart problem solvers, down-to-earth listeners, inspiring leaders, and good friends. We know we want to help fix a broken transportation system, but it’s up to us to find the answers together. We’re a technology spinoff of Allstate and operate like a startup. As a company, we build solutions for players in the ever-evolving personal transportation landscape — sharing economy, insurance, government entities, etc. We collect and draw insights from data to help our customers answer big, hairy questions, like “why are there more crashes happening at this intersection?” or “how do I know which drivers in my program are safest?”
My favorite mode of transportation is …
Walking. Best for exploring. Good for mindfulness. Builds character in Chicago winters.
On a Saturday afternoon, you can find me …
Adventuring in the city with friends, reading, cleaning, wishing I was walking a dog that I don’t have.
If you could volunteer for any cause, what would it be and why?
My favorite volunteering is when I get to build new connections with people of different backgrounds and ages. It gets me out of my comfort zone and is most impactful to me. I’ll volunteer for any cause that taps into this theme, so it’s hard to pick just one. Lately, I’ve been a “big” in Big Brothers Big Sisters, spent time with kids in STEM-focused project sessions at Lumity, taught creative writing classes at Open Books, and babysat toddlers of working or studying young single mothers at the Well of Mercy. I’d highly recommend any or all of these causes.
Most people don’t know I …
That I was raised playing classical violin, and first picked it up when I was five (my parents have a tolerance for horrible, squeaky instrument noises, apparently). As a mid-twenties resolution, I’m trying to play more and finding that fiddling/folk style better marries my taste in music with my technical playing ability. We’ll see how it goes.
The theme song to my life is …
“Loves me Like a Rock” by Paul Simon. More of a “soundtrack to much of my life” than a theme song, but I’m nostalgic and it’s one of my favorites.
Talk to your rideshare driver or silent ride?
Silent unless initiated by the driver, in which case I’m polite and will see where it goes. Last night, I found out my driver was about to leave on a trip to South Africa with his wife of 17 years, and he had just dropped off a couple who went on their first date. Very heartwarming and entertaining.
Would you get in a self-driving car? Why or why not?
Yes, definitely. Because I don’t really enjoy driving, unless it’s on a wide open country mountain road. It can’t be any more dangerous than being in the car with my teenage siblings behind the wheel.
Favorite innovation pioneer?
Melitta Bentz, the woman who invented the coffee filter. Simple, creative solution, many users in need, and 110 years of legacy (and counting). I am grateful for her contribution, especially because it’s Monday. I love entrepreneurs and hope to be one someday.