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):
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).
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 influential 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 who want to connect more with their values, as well as apply their technical knowledge. I hope you find Olivia’s openness & stories as fascinating as I did.
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:
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.