Chicago Data Leaders Discuss Data & AI Strategy Best Practices at CDO Magazine Dinner

Chicago Data Leaders Discuss Data & AI Strategy Best Practices at CDO Magazine Dinner

Data, analytics, and AI executives from leading companies across the Chicago area came together to share how they are building a robust data and AI strategy at CDO Magazine’s first Executive Boardroom Dinner there on May 21.

Centered around the theme “Developing Your Enterprise Data & AI Strategy,” the event featured an expert panel discussion exploring the current state and future potential of data-driven decision-making, and offering insights on challenges, strategies, and the transformative power of AI.

The panel of expert speakers were:

  • Meera Dugar, JPMorgan Chase Vice President, Consumer and Community Banking

  • Prasannal Nithyanandam, Volkswagen Financial Services Head, Data and Advanced Analytics

  • Sashi Venkatesan, Walgreens Head, Pharmacy and Healthcare Data

The session was moderated by Kishor Gummaraju, Tiger Analytics Chief Customer Officer.

Slideshow - Click to enlarge

“The dinner brought together an impressive representation of Chicago’s tech leaders who addressed the need of the hour in the data landscape. The Q&A session was extremely engaging and highlighted what true data leaders are seeking to answer on how to improve skills and strategy,” says speaker Dugar.

“The consensus was that solutioning for this shift demands embracing the new,” she adds. “It will be challenging for leaders to ready themselves and dive into understanding the data and storytelling, while also creating success stories using AI and ML as just other tools that get added to the proverbial toolbelt.”

A key highlight for panelist Nithyanandam was getting to share the evolution of AI strategy. “Each journey discussed was varied and brought complexity to this disruptive technology and our age. Part of the rewarding conversations was to examine the skills that can make a successful CDAO.”

Speaker Venkatesan mentions storytelling as a highlight of the discussion. “I was able to hear from many industry leaders that one of the key qualities needed in a data leader is ‘Storytelling.’ To bring various stakeholders together and build a common consensus, storytelling is essential.”

Slideshow - Click to enlarge

Ryerson CDO Don Fleschut thanks CDO Magazine for fostering the “valuable forum” in Chicago. “The pace of change in the data and analytics space requires leaders to continually learn – including from the experiences of top practitioners,” he says.

Summarizing his observations Patrick Chew, AIT Worldwide Logistics Global Head Data Enablement, says, “It’s encouraging and comforting to know that my colleagues and I are aligned in our thinking that data will always be a key foundation for any AI, GenAI, or ML initiative, and it’s important for organizations to build that data foundation as robust, reliable and trustworthy as possible with full support from senior executives.”

Chew elaborates with his takeaways:

  • Data must always be used as a strategic enabler for any forms of AI initiatives to be effective.

  • We must be prepared to educate our executives on not only what AI is all about but also ensure these initiatives are founded on supporting key business goals and directions to enable value creation and value realization goals.

  • Our AI journey can only be possible and successful by grounding our data foundation wrapped with organization change management to support culture awareness along with upscaling required AI talents.

Like Venkatesan, Jorge Balestra, Kraft Heinz Global Head of Machine Learning Operations (MLOps) and Platforms, also mentions storytelling as his main takeaway. “I loved the insight from the panel emphasizing that we should leverage storytelling when discussing value in our organizations.”

Slideshow - Click to enlarge

"The CDO Magazine Executive Boardroom Dinner is more than just a gathering; it is a pivotal platform where the brightest minds in data and AI converge to share insights, challenges, and breakthroughs," says Camille Prado, CDO Magazine Global Editor. “CDO Magazine is honored to play a part in bringing these thought leaders together, facilitating valuable discussions that drive the industry forward.

Kishor Gummaraju, Tiger Analytics Chief Customer Officer, sums it up saying, “It was a great set of conversations with data leaders across multiple companies from a wide spectrum of industries. What resonated the most was that, as you establish your enterprise data strategy, ensure that you focus on data and AI literacy across all levels of the organization, think data products with a vision for the next 3 to 5 years, get to the details on how you will manage your data, and last but not least – keep focus on the value realization.”

Special thanks goes to Tiger Analytics for their partnership in making the event a success.

Meera Dugar, Prasannal Nithyanandam, and Don Fleschut are members of CDO Magazine Global Editorial Board.

Executives attending the CDO Magazine Chicago Executive Boardroom Dinner included:

Jorge Balestra, Kraft Heinz Global Head, Machine Learning Operations & Platforms; Patrick Chew, AIT Worldwide Logistics Global Head, Data Enablement; Meera Dugar, JPMorgan Chase Vice President, Consumer & Community Banking; Don Fleschut, Ryerson VP, Chief Data Officer; Stephanie Giardina, McDonald's Sr. Manager, Global Data Governance; Amanda Grasso, Cook County Health Chief Data Officer; Anil Gutlapalli, Northern Trust VP, Manager, Risk Analytics; Gokula Mishra, former Direct Supply VP, Data Science; Rajib Nandi, Harris Associates Head, Data & Analytics; Prasannal Nithyanandam, Volkswagen Financial Services Head, Data & Advanced Analytics; Sid Raina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Divisional VP, Data & Analytics Solutions; Brad Rosenberg, Inland Real Estate Investment Director, Data Management; Kevin Salzmann, NXT Capital Sr. Director, Business Analytics; Bharat Shahdadpuri, CNA Insurance VP, Analytics; Joel Shapiro, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management Clinical Associate Professor, Data Analytics; Sharanya Sreenivasan, Glassdoor Sr. Data Analyst, GTM Analytics; Sashi Venkatesan, Walgreens Head, Pharmacy & Healthcare Data; Anupam Bhatnagar, Tiger Analytics Associate Vice President; Chetan Deshpande, Tiger Analytics Regional Sales Leader; Kishor Gummaraju, Tiger Analytics Chief Customer Officer; Randall Nufer, Tiger Analytics Director, Banking/Financial Services; Shravan Pai, Tiger Analytics Client Partner; Kuldeep Singh, Tiger Analytics Global Client Partner, Analytics Consulting; Camille Prado, CDO Magazine Global Editor; Gerri Caveness, CDO Magazine Global Events Manager.

Related Stories

No stories found.
CDO Magazine