Customer Insight Leader podcast

Latest from the Customer Insight Leader podcast (episodes & where to find it)

Welcome to the Customer Insight Leader podcast. An audio podcast designed to complement this blog by enabling you to hear first hand from today’s leaders. So you can get beyond the spin, to hear what they really do and what has helped them in the real world.

Each episode features Paul Laughlin interviewing one of today’s leaders, working in the field of Data, Analytics, Data Science or Customer Insight. Most are senior “client-side” roles, within large organisations, so you get to hear the reality behind their job title & avoid the hype.

My goal is to provide a real-world view from practitioner leaders. With practical takeaways each episode for everyone, from experienced leaders to those starting out in their data/analytics/data science career.

Episode list (latest 5):

Episode 44: Gillian Docherty (The Data Lab Scotland)

For episode 44, I am in conversation with Gillian Docherty OBE. She is CEO of the The Data Lab Scotland and in this conversation we explore both the work of The Data Lab and other lessons Gillian has learnt during her career. Her background includes over 20 years working within IBM, but our conversation begins with a family row on the eve of her Maths O-levels.

From there we track the course of Gillian’s career journey towards data leadership and explore what her experience might teach other leaders and aspiring leaders. We consider the importance of both an IT background and sales skills for data leaders. We also consider why the Data Lab Scotland model has been so successful and what that could mean for other parts of the UK or other countries. 

Finally, Gillian leaves us with some advice for analysts or data scientists on the skills they should develop, as well as what she has changed her mind on in recent years. Listen out for the Decision Diamond she has developed at the Data Lab, those 5 questions might help you prioritise too.

Episode 43: Avis Easteal (Luxasia)

For episode 43, we hear from an experienced data & business leader in Asia. Avis Easteal is currently Head of Consumer at Luxasia (an omni-partner of many globally recognised luxury lifestyle & personal care brands). She joins me from Singapore. Avis explains her work as connecting people, data, marketing and customer experience, to translate business to IT and vice-versa in order to digitally transform companies. 

During our conversation we explore her career history and what she has learnt along the way. We dig into the need to ask questions to get to the real business need and the challenge of moving from agency-side to client-side leadership roles. Avis also reflects on whether the role changes she has made along the way were brave or not. We usefully explore why data leaders can make very capable business leaders & the benefits of considering a move into CX, sales or marketing roles.

We also explore Avis’ passion for digital marketing and the difference that analytics-led personalisation can make. Then to close, Avis shares her answers to two of my perennial questions (advice for less experienced analysts & what she has changed her mind on). There is plenty to learn in this episode from a woman who has proven her ability to improve businesses through data-led thinking.

Episode 42: Randy Krum (

For episode 42 we again venture to the USA and talk with Randy Krum the creator of the famous CoolInfographics website. Randy is a data visualisation designer with his own design agency (InfoNewt), teaches a University course and is a published author. His book is “Cool Infographics: Effective Communication with Data Visualisation and Design” and he’s also active in organising Data Viz Meet-up groups. So, we had plenty to chat about.

In this conversation we explore Randy’s career story, including the role for blogs to visually share others’ content & showcase your work. We also discuss the continued role for infographics, as well as solely effective data visualisations. Randy shares what has helped him through his career & we consider when firms might choose to bring in an external design agency. Well worth a listen, especially for those interested in the role of visual communication beyond just charts.

Episode 41: Sarah Barr Miller (British Airways)

In episode 41, I have a great conversation with Sarah Barr Miller who is Head of Data & Automation for British Airways. We chat over her career history & what she too learnt from working at dunnhumby. During that we explore the continued relevance of single customer views & the benefits of a clear demarcation between data & analytics teams.

Sarah shares what she learnt from working internationally & the challenges she overcame as a woman in a male-dominated data world. Lots to consider and a great opportunity to reflect on the skills both leaders and more junior analysts need to succeed today. What could you learn?

Episode 40: James Blagg (Principality Building Society)

For episode 40, I chat with James Blagg who is the Head of Data for Principality Building Society. Based in South Wales, like your host, James shares with me his journey into a data leadership role and some lessons he’s learnt along the way.

Our conversation explores the importance of breaking down silos to help connect business & technical teams. We reflect on what James has learnt from his roles in risk & change leadership. He also shares how he has persuaded risk adverse leadership teams to invest in their data capabilities. Plus, James openly shares his own leadership challenges. Another opportunity to hear the reality, behind the spin, of data leadership in today’s businesses.

How to get more…

For earlier episodes, you can search the full episode lists on each of the podcasting platforms below. You can also use these platforms to subscribe, so that new episodes will be automatically downloaded for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Available on these platforms

To access (and hopefully subscribe to) Customer Insight Leader podcast, just choose your favourite podcast platform from the selection below:

(1) Apple podcasts

(2) Spotify

(3) Amazon podcasts

(4) Google Podcasts

(5) Overcast

(6) Breaker

(7) Radio Public

(8) Pocket Casts

(9) Castbox

(10) Anchor

Hope you enjoy that, let me know your feedback

I hope you find our new podcast helpful & perhaps encouraging. Do let me know any feedback or suggestions for content/guests. If you are a practitioner leader in the fields of Data, Analytics, Customer Insight or Data Science & would like to be a guest, please get in touch.

The music for our podcast was kindly released for free reuse by Purple Planet Music. It is entitled “Being Happy” with HiFi download available.

Happy listening & I look forward to any comments you may have.