Holly Peck
Credit: Lindsay Siu

Holly Peck, 27

Founding director
Research scientist

Life Story: Holly Peck is a native Vancouverite whose father is a Chartered Business Valuator and whose mother, now retired, was Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s first PR and marketing director. One of her first jobs was helping her mom at Lululemon, and she used to fold clothes with JJ Wilson, son of founder Dennis (Chip) Wilson. “Very Vancouver through and through,” she acknowledges.

Peck, who attended Little Flower Academy for high school, enrolled in Princeton University as a math and economics major but graduated in 2012 with a BA in anthropology. A highlight of her studies was participating in an archaeological dig of a Neanderthal butchering site in France one summer, unearthing denticulated hand axes created by entities “on the fringes of humanness.” Asking questions about what makes us human led to her current role developing cognitive architectural systems for in-house humanoid robots at Vancouver-based Sanctuary AI.

After completing a web development program at the Flatiron School in New York City in 2016, Peck became frustrated with the male-dominated engineering meetup scene back home. In January 2017, she launched a Vancouver chapter of Women Who Code. Based in San Francisco, WWCode is a global non-profit that supports women in the tech industry. Peck invited Suzanne Gildert, co-founder and then chief science officer of Kindred, to speak at the Vancouver chapter of WWCode, and wound up being hired as an artificial intelligence engineer. When Sanctuary was spun out of Kindred this January, Peck became employee one.

The Bottom Line: In its first year, the Vancouver chapter of Women Who Code grew to some 1,500 members.

What’s the best advice you ever received?
Never apologize. Never ask for permission.

Your favourite book, album, song, movie or TV show is…
Film: At Land by Maya Deren.

Song: “Unordinary Realities” by Transllusion.

Who is your role model or mentor?
David Bowie.

What’s your biggest regret?
Not eating breakfast.

A little-known fact about you is…
I’m also an electronic musician and am releasing my first-ever EP, called “Nobody,” on February 12.