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For episode 3, I am joined by Brian O'Neill who is the self-styled "UX for Data Products guy". He's the founder of Designing for Analytics, an independent consultancy helping data leaders turn their data into valuable data products. Through his UX consulting, speaking and design training, he’s helped launch several enterprise software companies (Apptopia,, Akorri) and has worked with businesses including DellEMC, Tripadvisor & Fidelity.  Brian hosts the Experiencing Data podcast & advises for MIT’s Sandbox Innovation Fund. Plus, he leads a double life as a professional percussionist where he's played with The Who and Donna Summer. So, a unique personality to talk with as we explore the "real skills" that data leaders need. During our conversation we explore the need for softer skills in data leaders, beyond their technical expertise. This includes the challenge of hiring for such skills not just technical screening. Brian focusses on getting to know the person you are serving with your work. Not just as a set of requirements or role, but as an individual. What is in it for them personally? How can your design effort help them achieve that too? Empathy in Design thinking if you will.
In episode 2 we explore the softer skill of being an effective translator between technical teams and the broader organisation they serve. My guest for this conversation is Dr Andrew Rogoyski whose experience spans 30 years in industry, government and academia. Originally a physicist at the Rutherford Appleton Lab, Andrew joined Logica at the height of the early AI boom, a decade later moving to space consultancy Esys and next became MD of QinetiQ’s Space Division. He’s subsequently worked as a strategist, including a secondment to the Cabinet Office, a Vice President of cyber security (where AI methods were used for threat detection), and an Innovation Director, developing a number of products and services that utilised leading-edge AI techniques.  Andrew returned to academia as Director of Innovation at Surrey University’s new Institute of People-Centred Artificial Intelligence. There leads a group that leverages the University’s 35 years in AI by creating AI solutions that focus on delivering benefits to people and society. In this episode, we explore both the need for such a Translator role & how you can develop or maintain the skill and attitude needed for it to flourish. I hope some of the insights shared help business leaders and those leading data, analytics or AI teams. My thanks to Andrew for sharing his wisdom with us.
To help me kick off Season Two, I am joined by John Conway. John has worked in marketing analytics since the early 2000s. His roles have supported RSA Insurance, MoneySupermarket & Cardlytics, before his agency experience and then setting up his own businesses. He went on to work on Loyalty and Big Data before latterly becoming an independent consultant. His current projects include personal assignments, advisory positions, running a data studio company, as well as being the MD and co-founder of iota-ML, a machine learning platform for marketers. In this episode, we drill down on the softer skill that John prioritises. Exploring why developing that skill has been crucial to his success, not just his technical skills & knowledge. I hope there is something to help everyone in this episode, from those new to analytics & seasoned data leaders.
Preview of Season Two

Preview of Season Two


Introducing a new season of the Customer Insight Leader podcast. In this short episode, I answer: Why a new season? What will change and what will stay the same? What can you expect to hear in the coming months? Plus, it's an opportunity to reflect on Season One & share with you the top 5 most popular episodes.
In episode 69, I'm joined by Jesse Anderson from Lisbon. Jesse is the founder of the Managing Director of the Big Data Institute and we chat about how Data Engineering especially has developed over the years. Plus, Jesse has some challenging things to say to the training industry. Jesse explains why leaders need to be clear on the depth of data engineering skills they require & the vital role of specialism in this field. He also shares the results from his latest annual survey of data teams which you can find here: A self-taught data leader, Jesse's practical perspective & technical depth is well worth hearing in a data science world that can be in danger of valuing qualifications above delivered value.
On episode 68 I chat with Aubrey HB. She is the Director of Advanced Analytics for the Nationwide Building Society in the UK.  Since completing her PhD in Pure Maths, Aubrey’s career has evolved into establishing and growing centralised advanced analytics capabilities that serve entire organisations. Her experience spans roles in Telecoms, Publishing, Entertainment, Healthcare and now Financial Services. In this conversation, as well as exploring Aubrey's career story, we consider different lessons from her experience. Do we need more of a focus on mathematical & scientific rigour in data science? Do data scientists & their leaders need to get closer to the organisations that they serve? Is it the leader's responsibility to curate materials to help develop their teams and to select work that will help them grow their technical skills? Aubrey has plenty of engaging advice to share with us. It's also fascinating to hear her take on working in the UK compared to the USA where she built her data career. Prepare to appreciate some of the benefits that we have here (or consider moving here yourself).
In episode 67, I'm joined by Darshan Mehta who is the Founder of – an insights platform to quickly and affordably extract insights from consumers worldwide. With both an MBA & a Masters in Marketing, Darshan has also taught at universities around the world. One of the reasons I welcomed Darshan’s offer to be my guest on this show is because of his research & insight focus. Most of the guests I have had on this podcast come from the data, analytics or data science community. So, to live up to the title of this podcast, here I also include the voice of the research & insights community. Darshan has plenty of that hands-on research experience to share with us. During our conversation, we explore the meaning of insight, why Darshan is interested in case studies and the continued relevance of market research. He also gives us an glimpse into how technology is changing the world of qualitative research. I hope you find this a fascinating complement to our more data & analytics focussed interviews. Enjoy hearing Darshan make the case for why understanding motivation & perception still matters today.
For episode 66, I am joined by Bettina (or Betty) Schirrmeister. She leads an exceptional group of data scientists at MoneySuperMarket. She and her team work on intelligent product recommendations, personalisation, and optimised pricing investments there. One thing that makes Betty a new and different voice on our podcast is her science background. Having received a PhD in Evolutionary Genetics from the University of Zurich and worked as a senior researcher at the University of Bristol for several years only then did Betty make the transition into data science & industry. In our conversation, we explore what scientists can bring to the world of data science. Transferrable skills & attitudes that help them lead or strengthen data teams. It should also be a chat that encourages any scientists who think they have left it too late. You can still make the move across to data science, just listen to Betty's enthusiasm and recommended resources.
For episode 65, my guest is Sophie Carr who is the founder of Bays Consulting, which she apparently founded to share her enthusiasm that analysis is both fun and provides clarity. Following gaining a PhD from Cranfield University, Sophie has now led Bays Consulting for over 13 years and continues to have the admirably straightforward job title of Mathematician. Her consulting work is motivated by a belief that at the heart of business issues is a need to reduce uncertainty & gain clarity. As well as applying a broad range of her maths, engineering & leadership skills to such work, Sophie has a specialism in Bayesian Networks.  During our conversation we explore both her career history & the benefit of becoming a Chartered Statistician or Mathematician. Sophie also reveals a great deal about her leadership style, the company culture and a more inclusive approach to hiring technical talent. Beyond that we explore how she has developed as a leader and the lessons she has learn as her business as grown. Finally she has practical advice for those earlier in their careers that is well worth hearing & reading. I hope you enjoy listening to Sophie as much as I enjoyed this conversation.
"When I'm 64...", well that episode anyway, my guest is Priyank Patwa who is CDO for sustainability data start-up Maanch. Priyank is an experienced Data and Innovation leader, working at the intersection of Finance, Sustainability and Data. Priyank is currently a Senior Strategic Advisor and Interim Chief Data Officer at Maanch. Previously, he was an ESG Product Director at Morningstar and Head of Innovation & ESG Transformation at M&G where he has led the conception and creation of large-scale data-led capabilities and solutions. During our conversation, we explore Priyank's career journey and the lessons he has learnt along the way. We learn about the continuing opportunity to apply Data Science to how organisations are managed, as well as how to build trust with your senior leadership. Priyank shares some great examples of motivating & deploying diverse global teams and we focus on his work in the field of ESG data. Learn how Data Science can help investors & firms see past all the spin to truly rate business performance on ESG criteria.  I hope you are inspired to make a difference with your skills too.
For episode 63, we return to the topic of AI ethics via my conversation with Daniel Hulme, the CEO of Satalia. That business describes itself as a different type of Artificial Intelligence company and in fact a different type of company altogether. Its stated aim is to solve industries' hardest problems by building AI solutions that utilise state-of-the-art ideas and thinking from academia. Plus, they say they’re building a new operating system for how a company can be run, grounded in deep psychological and philosophical theory. In addition to his role at Satalia, Daniel is the Chief AI Officer for the global advertising agency WPP. Plus, he comes to these roles following nearly 12 years at University College London, including being their Entrepreneur in Residence. So, there is plenty of innovative thinking in this conversation, as well as philosophical musing about the purpose of not just AI but work in general. During our fascinating chat, we explore Daniel's career journey and lack of internal dialogue. We revisit the benefits of hiring neurodiverse data scientists and the characteristics to seek in such talent. Plus we debate the purpose of businesses and what motivates us about work. I hope you find it inspires your own musings and perhaps insights into what you want to achieve with your gifts and working life. Plus, it's the first time I've had a parrot as a guest too!
For episode 62, my guest is Gabriel Straub. He is the Chief Data Officer at Ocado Technology. There he’s led their data & data science efforts for over two years, following successful data science leadership roles at the BBC & Tesco amongst others. Gabriel is also a guest lecturer at the London Business School and an Honorary Senior research associate at UCL, so he is also still active on the academic side. Gabriel describes himself as a passionate data science strategist, who believes that clever analytics & big data can make life less complicated for customers & colleagues. During our conversation we explore both his career to date & why Grocery Retail is a great sector for Data Science leaders to consider. We also explore Gabriel's choice of studying an MBA (rather than a Masters or PhD in a Data subject) and how he came to clarity about his key skills. Gabriel shares loads of useful life experience and advice for developing as a data leader & the skills data scientists will need during their career. So, there should be nuggets for everyone to find helpful.
In episode 61 my guest is Sanjeevan Bala, who is ITV’s Group Chief Data & AI Officer. He is responsible for transforming the broadcaster to fully leverage the value of Data and AI & to create value for all areas of their business. Prior to this he was Channel 4’s Head of Data Science where he built a multi award winning team which combined human creativity with machine intelligence to drive growth and innovation. Sanjeevan is consistently ranked most influential in Data and AI globally and under his leadership his teams have won numerous awards for Innovation. He has also expanded his executive career as a Non Executive Director (NED) at Bakkavor and Scholars’ Educational Trust. During our chat we explore both how his background in consultancy & startups helped developed the skills he needed for these roles & how leaders can amplify their impact by taking on NED roles later in their careers. He is also very open with us about his experience of racism & exclusion earlier in his life. We discuss how he coped with this & emerged as a whole person during his career. Sanjeevan also shares his advice for those earlier in their career & what organisations need to do to encourage more genuinely inclusive organisations that nurture talent. Plus, you'll learn why he now embraces "not knowing". 
For episode 60 I am joined by Laura Rodgers who is Head of Performance Insights for NatWest Group, one of the major banks here in the UK. She has worked within Royal Bank of Scotland (which became part of NatWest Group) for over 16 years, holding management roles responsible for data & wide range of Business Intelligence and reporting services. She also describes herself as passionate about championing diversity and inclusion within the data and technology communities.  During our conversation, Laura shares her background and how a grounding in IT & Data Engineering set her up for success in later roles. We also explore how the work of a BI or Reporting team can be so much more interesting & motivating than you might realise. Along the way, Laura shares her tips for introverts, those lacking confidence & those at the start of their data careers. We also extend the conversations that we have had about diversity in previous podcast episodes. In this conversation, Laura shares what she has experienced that helped support and get the best out of Neuro Diverse members of her team. We learn about the importance of empathy, curiosity & treating every person as an individual. Not an easy job when you lead 170 people. Well worth other BI leaders hearing & considering for their teams.
In episode 59 I have the pleasure of being joined by Dr Maryam Ramezani-Bartsch from Munich. Maryam is currently the VP of Data at Sky and will soon be joining GoStudent (Europe’s most valuable EdTech company and one of the world’s leading online tutoring providers). Before that, Maryam has lead data & analytics teams within businesses as prestigious as WPP & Adidas. In this episode we hear her career story all the way from a childhood in Iran, through a PhD working in US & German research labs, to creating & growing successful data & analytics teams for leading businesses. Along the way you will hear Maryam's commitment to following her passion & lifelong learning. There are also tips for those early in their career as well as facing the challenge of data leadership roles. Lots to learn from a fascinating life story (so far).
For episode 58, I am in conversation with Olivia Gambelin, who joins us from Brussels. Olivia has the exciting job title of being an AI Ethicist and is the founder & CEO of Ethical Intelligence.  As you will hear in this episode she has a background across organisations including CAKE Corporation, Save the Children, Springer and being an Advisory Board member on several influencial AI & Ethics groups. We explore more of her journey from an MSc in Philosophy to such critical roles in today’s use of data & AI. Along the way we consider the benefits of a broad interest in technology, wide ranging conversations with your network and how we need much more than GDPR compliance. An emerging theme from our conversation (one that has stayed with me) is the benefit of being a polymath. At least the benefit of gathering people together to share knowledge across disciplines. Olivia paints a compelling picture of Data & AI Ethics as being a field where you can think & work broadly. A great opportunity for those with many interests or wanting to connect more with their values as well as apply their technical knowledge. I hope you find Olivia's openness and many stories as fascinating as I did.
For episode 57, I'm in conversation with Charlie Ballard who is the Marketing Science Enablement Lead at Meta. He has been a lifelong technology and data evangelist and shares with us on the basis of his experience working in and with firms including General Motors, American Express, BT, Tripadvisor & now Meta. Our conversation is wide ranging and includes plenty of tips from Charlie's experience. He is one of my guests whose background was originally within market research and who has developed into data & analytics & marketing leadership roles. As well as exploring Charlie's career story we discuss a number of topics that will be relevant to all such leaders. Charlie shares advice on speaking both business & technical languages, silent starts to meetings, going bigger on your projects & considering new data sources. Well worth a listen and prioritising which ideas could work for you in your role. I hope you enjoy this chat as much as I did.
In episode 56, I'm in conversation with Aparna Bharadwaj, an MD & Partner at BCG who is also their Global Leader of the Centre for Customer Insight. During her interview, you will have the opportunity to hear why she is passionate about customer insight & the difference it can make in businesses. Prior to her very successful career in BCG, Aparna learnt her marketing trade at Coca Cola & has an MBA from Harvard Uni. So, she has a great commercial grounding for her perspective on customer insight & what businesses really need. Together we explore the power of focussing on empathy, simplification & impact. Aparna brings to life how this helps researchers & analysts deliver insights that actually drive sustainable changes. We also follow up on Aparna's highly praised talk for International Women's Day by exploring the benefits of diversity & more global awareness for both customer insight leaders and analysts. Aparna is my second guest from Singapore (following Avis Easteal in episode 43). During our conversation, she really brings to life how greater cultural awareness & empathy for people can improve the quality of the insights produced. Enjoy!
For episode 55, I am joined by Rob McLaughlin the founder of the Loop Horizon agency. Rob is an experienced digital marketing professional and a proven leader in the field of data & analytics, with a track record of bringing customer data into the complex marketing and technology landscape.  Prior to founding Loop Horizon, Rob has led data & decisioning teams at Sky, Digitas, Barclays & Canon. So, he has plenty of real world experience to share with us in both leading data teams and applying data to deliver improved marketing or customer experience. Some of which we are going to try and mine during this conversation. We start by exploring Rob's career story & the lessons he has learnt about where he was best to specialise. We discuss the benefits of working within the business & being close to the action with regards to your ability to 'activate' data. During our chat we also touch on the power of creating your own data & when you might consider the move to consulting or even setting up you own agency. Plenty of nuggets of wisdom and some controversial opinions along the way - I hope you enjoy it & can't wait to hear your thoughts. Thanks again to Rob for his time.
For episode 54 my guest is Peter Jones, who is Head of Data for Internal Audit at the UK insurer Legal & General. During our conversation, we explore many lessons that Peter has learnt during his career. These include how he became a data leader without even a Maths 'A' level, as well as the lessons learnt from integrating identity systems, switching sectors & delivering a data warehouse. But what is most unique about this episode is our discussion about the growing use of data & analytics within Internal Audit functions. You may not of considered that department as a career opportunity for data or analytics. So, listen to Peter describe why it's "hot" as an opportunity with fresh challenges for those who possess the data & critical thinking skills needed. Well worth considering as a new opportunity area for analysts.
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