WATCH: ‘The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap’ Town Hall

On Feb. 26, 2019, WorkingNation and The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) hosted a Town Hall with leaders in business, academia, government, and the non-profit sectors on their talent needs in the area of data analytics and their innovative solutions.

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As technology continues to transform current jobs and create new jobs, there is one industry that is taking center stage in this new world of work — data science. For the past three years, Data Scientist has been named the Top Job In America by Glassdoor. And while the three professions that make up the industry (machine learning, statistics, and analytics) are all considered “hot jobs,” it’s data analytics (or data-mining or business intelligence) that is growing by leaps and bounds across all industries and is revolutionizing the workplace.

SEE ALSO: A career in data science can earn you big bucks

In 2015, 2.35 million jobs demanded Data Science and Analytic (DSA) skills. By 2020, the demand for DSA jobs is projected to grow 15%, according to research from Burning Glass Technologies, with the fastest-growing roles of Data Scientists and Advanced Analysts projected to see demand spike by 28%.

RELATED: Study: States are getting smarter about data-driven policy

This boom has driven the demand for skilled professionals and the need for educators to incorporate data analytics in secondary and postsecondary curriculums. Right now, fewer than one-third of U.S. News & World Report‘s Top 100 Global Universities offer degrees in data science. And of the 29 that offer data science programs, only six make them available to undergraduates, according to the University of California, Riverside.

MORE:Data analytics is solving homelessness. Could it reduce unemployment too?

For WorkingNation’s sixth town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” we partnered with The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI), the world’s preeminent academic research center focusing on the development and application of customer analytics methods, to highlight the power of data analytics in business.

WorkingNation Founder and CEO Art Bilger speaks on stage
WorkingNation Founder and CEO Art Bilger

“Data Analytics has been at the top of my list for a very long time,” said WorkingNation Founder & CEO Art Bilger, a Wharton School alumnus and one of the people instrumental in the launch of WCAI at the school. “I really believe data and analytics might be the fastest-growing job area in this country over the next 5-10 years because there won’t be an aspect of business, government, or the not-for-profit world that isn’t driven by data and analytics.”

Moderator Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, a CNBC contributor and former CNBC chief international correspondent and co-anchor of “Power Lunch,” led the discussion with leaders in business, academia, government, and the non-profit sectors on their talent needs in the area of data analytics as well as their innovative solutions. In addition, we explored how education systems, both traditional and non-traditional pathways, are responding to this demand and educating students for the changing job landscape.

Our Esteemed Panelists Included:

  • Allen Blue (Keynote Speaker), Co-founder, LinkedIn
  • Eric Bradlow, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School
  • H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO, Philadelphia Works
  • Tsvi Gal, CTO, Morgan Stanley
  • Guy Generals, President, Community College of Philadelphia
  • Melanie Harris, Chief Information Officer, School District of Philadelphia
  • Ravi Kandikonda, Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy & Planning, Comcast
  • Steven Kern, Deputy Director, Quantitative Sciences, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Kevin Mahoney, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Penn Health
  • Jake Schwartz, Co-founder & CEO, General Assembly
  • Bhushan Sethi, Partner, Joint Global Leader, People & Organization, PwC
  • Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass Technologies

The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap Town Hall | WorkingNation

For WorkingNation’s sixth town hall event, “The Future is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” we partnered with The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI), the world’s preeminent academic research center focusing on the development and application of customer analytics methods, to highlight the power of data analytics in business.

Highlights:

A Conversation with Keynote Speaker and LinkedIn Co-founder Allen Blue

LinkedIn Co-founder Allen Blue speaking on stage
LinkedIn Co-founder Allen Blue

Allen Blue kicked off the evening’s discussion with a little bit of background on the evolution of data science from its beginnings in multi-varied testing to machine learning and algorithm development, which he was lucky enough to see in action at LinkedIn.

“The first half was doing this kind of real-time analytics of something which was happening, how people were using the product. But the second part was about building products for people to use,” Blue explained.

Fast forward to 2009 when Blue says LinkedIn began to watch the way the entire economy works by virtue of what their members are doing which they call “the economic graph.”

“This gives a great idea that maybe if we could look at the job, if we could look at the skills they required, the skills people had, the companies they had worked for, we might be able to provide insights about where the skill gaps are, about where the best opportunities actually lie. That has been something we’ve been doing for the past five years.”

The Future is Now: How LinkedIn uses Data Science | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” LinkedIn Co-founder Allen Blue explains how examining the data behind their members’ employment can provide insights into where skills gaps exist in the workforce.

It’s this kind of Data Science that gives LinkedIn insight into the most in-demand jobs today, and Data Science and Machine Learning are right there at the top.

“The two of them together, represent five of the top 15 growing jobs in America today. So if you look at that list of the top 15, five of them are data and machine learning-related,” Blue revealed.

But there’s a reason they’re the most in-demand — they’re among the hardest to fill due to severe skills and gender gaps.

As an example, Blue explains that in San Francisco there are more than 38,000 jobs which need to be filled more than there are people who have the skills to fill them.

In terms of gender, there are four men working in data science and machine learning for every one woman, Blue says, which also happens to be about what the proportions are in the world of computer science, where the majority of data scientists come from.

But back in the early days of LinkedIn — 2005 and 2006 — data scientists almost entirely came from the world of the hard sciences — Biology, Physics, Chemistry, etc. — fields where the gender breakdown is roughly 50/50.

“If you are in one of those fields, you have an opportunity to basically convert and become a data scientist because you’ve already learned how to think about it properly. You just need to learn the tools,” Blue explained.

The Future is Now: Closing the gender gap in Data Science | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” LinkedIn Co-founder Allen Blue talks about the gender gap in Data Science and the importance of closing it.

Diversifying the data science industry is extremely important as developments in machine learning and data science continue to advance and permeate everything we do.

“It’s part of every decision you make on the internet. It’s part of everything you buy from Amazon.com. It’s part of the advertisements you see, many of which are powered by machine learning and big data. All of those decisions are being made by machines and those machines are being built, in large part, by men. If we’re going to get to a place where we are representing the entire breadth of human experience, it is a question of bias, but it’s also a question of opportunity. We need to make sure the people who are making those decisions are coming from many different backgrounds,” Blue said.

The great thing about data science is that because of advancements in technology it touches nearly every industry.

The Future is Now: The difference between Big Data and Data Analytics | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” LinkedIn Co-founder Allen Blue explains the difference between Big Data and Data Analytics and whether you need a Computer Science degree to pursue a career in those fields.

“In the last three years, we have seen massive growth — 15X, 20X growth — in industries like education and marketing and manufacturing for data science-based jobs,” Blue said.

So if data science doesn’t seem like a sexy job to you, just know a lot has changed. Data scientists now have the chance to be pioneers in industries and companies they’re passionate about, and earn a great living doing it.

Watch Allen Blue’s full conversation

Panel 1: Exploring the Landscape of Data Analytics

Panelists: Tsvi Gal, Ravi Kavikonda, Steve Kern, Kevin Mahoney, Bhushan Sethi

(pictured left to right) Ravi Kavikonda, Bhushan Sethi, Steve Kern, Kevin Mahoney and Tsvi Gal

To give us an idea of just how important data science is in the day-to-day operations of companies across varying industries, our panelists from media, consulting and accounting, philanthropy, healthcare, and finance explained how they use data analytics daily to make informed decisions and improve customer experience.

The Future is Now: How companies use Data Analytics | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” panelists Ravi Kandikonda, Tsvi Gal, Steven Kern, and Kevin Mahoney discuss how their companies and organizations use Data Analytics.

“We’re all tryin’ to predict what’s gonna happen next, learning from what’s happened in the past, because that’s how we want to be able to intervene in the system in a more efficient way — whether it’s health care, or an investment, or in training, and in opportunities with customers,” Steve Kern summarized.

Steve Kern speaks on stage
Steve Kern

While the demand for data science is clear, finding talent is a problem they all say they face. One way Kern says the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is finding talent is by collaborating with universities to try to look at opportunities where they can work with students who are coming out of analytic, statistics, or engineering backgrounds. But not just those areas, because you actually need people with subject matter expertise to partner with them.

“It’s not that we have to get everyone out there to go and become the next greatest data analyst, but we have to have people that understand: how do I consume that data, how do I work with that data, how do I partner with enough people who can analyze it so that we can do it in an effective way?” Kern said.

So what are the qualifications employers, like the ones our panelists represent, look for? Not surprisingly, having a college degree remains a requirement.

The Future is Now: The struggle to find Data Analytics talent | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” panelists Bhushan Sethi, Steven Kern, and Ravi Kandikonda discuss how they are finding Data Analytics talent and what skills they look for.

Comcast Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy & Planning Ravi Kandikonda

While Ravi Kandikonda says he hopes that will change in the future, the reason it is that way now is the critical thinking and reasoning skills that you would need in the profession, you build through your college degrees.

Thanks to the talent gap, companies are having to get creative to find people to fill these roles which mean either offering their own programs or partnering with universities or organizations to cultivate talent.

Morgan Stanley CTO Tsvi Gal

Tsvi Gal explained how Morgan Stanley’s Technology Analyst Program (TAP) brings on graduates for an intensive 15-week training program where they learn about Morgan Stanley’s cutting-edge technology platforms. Now you would assume the majority of the students are from STEM, but they actually attract a lot of students with a liberal arts background, which has proven to be a great fit and helped diversify their talent pool.

“They don’t have to be a computer science graduate. Of course, it helps because you have a head start. But as long as you have the right mindset, and are willing to learn, we found that many of the students that came from different liberal arts actually are flourishing in the company. Doing extremely well,” Gal said.

The Future is Now: The skills you need to work in Data Science | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” panelists Tsvi Gal, Bhushan Sethi, and Ravi Kandikonda on the qualities they look for in Data Science talent.

A point that seemed to resonate with our audience, the majority of whom in our Dialsmith-powered live poll disagreed with the idea you need a strong background in computer science to have a successful data analytics career.

Penn Health is also taking training in their own hands through its Penn Medicine Academy.

Penn Health Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Kevin Mahoney

“It’s not just certificates. It’s retraining and how the data explosion can help you do your job better,” Kevin Mahoney said.

Opening up the talent pool to people outside the computer science and STEM fields is also helping their companies build a bench of data analysts.

Data science is not just mechanical work, Gal explained, it requires a lot of creativity and thinking in a more abstract way. “What it takes is way more on the EQ side, not just the IQ side.”

“One differentiating factor I look for is comfort with ambiguity, and being able to collaborate with teams, because data is messy,” Kandikonda added.

As data science continues to grow in various industries, companies will need to get creative and expand their net to capture or cultivate talent that can execute their goals.

Watch our first panel discussion

A Conversation with Burning Glass Technologies CEO Matt Sigelman

Burning Glass Technologies CEO Matt Sigelman

One institution that can help us understand the scope of the demand for data scientists is Burning Glass Technologies. Armed with the largest and most sophisticated database of labor market data and talent, Burning Glass is known for their use of real-time data to inform careers, define academic programs, and shape workforces. Their collection of millions of job postings, and hundreds of millions of people’s resumes and career histories help them understand what jobs are in demand and what skills it takes to get those jobs.

To give us a sense of how fast the demand for data scientists is growing, Matt Sigelman told us that in 2010, there were 150 job postings for data scientists. Last year, there were almost 25,000. But the much bigger story, he says, is the increase in demand for people with data analytic skills.

“In 2012, there were only 12 occupations with heavy reliance on data analytic skills comprising of 270,000 jobs. Last year, there were 33 occupations, comprising almost a million jobs.”

The Future is Now: The rise in jobs that need Data Analytics skills | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” Burning Glass Technologies CEO Matt Sigelman gives context to the difference between jobs in Data Science and Data Analytics and jobs that need Data Science and Data Analytics.

And acquiring these skills can mean big returns for your bottom line. Take a marketing manager, for example, who is making $71,000 a year. If she adds a skill as common as SQL — the ability to build a customer database — she’s making $100,000 a year, Sigelman says. And that rings true in all kinds of fields from finance, life sciences, web development, and graphic design.

“The ability to understand data, the ability to analyze data, are all core foundational skills that we see across dozens and dozens of occupations.”

There are many people working in jobs that are just a few skills away from being able to increase their value and have control of their own destiny. What employers and educators need to do, Sigelman says, is to work together to develop a better foundational infrastructure to identify the skills people have and more specific assessments to differentiate between the level of skills.

Watch Matt Sigelman’s conversation

Panel 4: Educational Pathways in Data Analytics

Panelists: Eric Bradlow, H. Patrick Clancy, Guy Generals, Melanie Harris, Jake Schwartz

Confidence in traditional education’s ability to prepare students for today’s workforce appears to be at a new low as reflected in our live poll. In our question on whether the current education pipeline is adequately preparing students for careers in data analytics, the audience overwhelmingly disagreed, strongly (45%) or somewhat (32%). It was, needless to say, a tough introduction for our final panel of the night which included representatives at the forefront of change in the education system.

SEE ALSO: Career readiness is a concern for parents and employers

Keenly aware of the fact that the vast number of jobs available in this field are not being filled by adequately trained employees, each of our panelists came armed with solutions currently in practice.

Community College of Philadelphia President Guy Generals

Guy Generals kicked off the conversation detailing how the Community College of Philadelphia is working with the school district much earlier through dual enrollment as part of their early college model. The college offers pre-computer science programs, coding programs and summer programs for pre-college students. They are also infusing data analytics and machine learning throughout their curriculum.

Melanie Harris explained how the School District of Philadelphia’s digital literacy curriculum is introduced as early as kindergarten.

Incorporating curriculum that gives students foundational tech skills at an early age to prepare them for more advanced skills they gain as they progress through their education is key to keeping students on track to employment once they graduate.

The Future is Now: Engaging students in STEM careers | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” panelists Guy Generals and Melanie Harris on getting students interested and engaged in STEM fields.

At the collegiate level, Eric Bradlow says the vision at Wharton is to arm students with both the business and data analytic skills to create top talent for companies. That can be accomplished through the traditional program that leads to a degree or it can be through modularized education.

The Wharton School Professor of Marketing Eric Bradlow

“One of the things we’ve done at The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative is, we’ve offered not-for-credit workshops. I need to know about data science, I need to know about AR, Python, SQL. Well, I could take a 14-week course, which many of our students do, or I could come in for six hours, nine hours, 12 hours. Come in three or four weeks, and now I’ve advanced myself to the next level.”

The Future is Now: The five steps for a successful Data Analytics project | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” panelist Eric Bradlow, professor of Marketing at The Wharton School, breaks down the five steps for a successful Data Analytics project and how the school is trying to give students the Business and Computer Science skills necessary to understand all five steps.

“I think one of the things everybody on this panel would agree on is, this dichotomy that used to exist where I either know nothing or I go get a full-time degree. I think that’s a worthless paradigm at this point,” Bradlow added.

This modularized education model is becoming more popular as technology changes the nature of work requiring continuous education throughout one’s career.

The Future is Now: Modularized education’s role in developing much-needed skills | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” panelists H. Patrick Clancy, Jake Schwartz, Melanie Harris, Guy Generals, and Eric Bradlow on the idea of modularized education to get people skills they need to get in-demand jobs quickly and the importance of employers working with educational institutions.

That’s where General Assembly and Philadelphia Works step in.

Launched in 2011, General Assembly provides training in the latest in-demand skills with the goal of closing the global skills gap.

General Assembly Co-founder & CEO Jake Schwartz

“The vision of GA was, how can we take the best of, the paradigm of vocational training, giving people the skills they need, when they need it, that they can all immediately play on the job. But pair it with a certain, sort of, aspirational career view, that the best graduate programs do,” Jake Schwartz explained.

Schwartz, a Wharton graduate, formed his vision around the idea that education is an investment business.

“I see our job, and really all of our jobs here on this panel, as fiduciaries of really meeting those obligations and trying to deliver people the skills and the opportunities they need to get to that next level in their career. No matter where they start.”

Providing that modularized education to professionals wanting to level-up their skillset and companies who want to upskill their workforce is proving to be a successful enterprise. General Assembly now has 22 campuses in cities around the world and is helping almost a third of Fortune 500 companies train employees inside their own walls.

Philadelphia Works also is in the business, on the investment side, of helping individuals who are in transition (formerly incarcerated, laid-off, receiving public assistance) level-up. By building out career pathways in major industries across Philadelphia, the organization is the bridge between the people, the skills they need, and the programs that can deliver those to them.

Philadelphia Works President and CEO H. Patrick Clancy

“A lot of our customers need that confidence. They need someone to say, let’s take a couple of minutes and let’s think through what are the specific skills you need for this job. And let’s see where you are, and then let’s see what an investment plan will look like to get you back on the road,” Clancy explained.

By working with employers, Philadelphia Works can modularize or customize a program that ensures people are going to go to work.

The Future is Now: Modularized education’s role in developing much-needed skills | WorkingNation

At our town hall event, “The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap,” panelists H. Patrick Clancy, Jake Schwartz, Melanie Harris, Guy Generals, and Eric Bradlow on the idea of modularized education to get people skills they need to get in-demand jobs quickly and the importance of employers working with educational institutions.

“Having the employers at the forefront is critical, they’re the ones that are the recipients of all the investments we make, and all the training we do collectively.”

It’s a sentiment everyone on the stage seemed to agree on.

Watch our second panel discussion

About our Moderator:

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera

A trailblazer in her own right, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera illuminates the path to becoming a hard-hitter in her industry. “Every single show has a female anchor now,” she says, “and that was not true when I started.”

When Caruso-Cabrera first broke into the world of journalism, Hispanic women were a rarity on television — particularly in the field of economics and finance reporting. Beginning her broadcasting career as a producer at Univision, she forged a unique path in an ever-changing industry. She later gravitated to a role at CNBC, at a time when the industry was dominated by men.

In her 20 years at the network, Caruso-Cabrera established herself as a savvy and pointed authority. The sweet spot of her expertise, however, resides at the intersection of economics, policy, and politics — where she can dissect major world events and translate the impact on global markets. In her plain-spoken and authoritative style, Caruso-Cabrera provides audiences with an instant and deep analysis of the interplay between global markets and world affairs, and how companies can best prepare themselves.

About Our Panelists:

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Allen Blue, Co-founder, LinkedIn (*keynote speaker)

Allen is one of the Co-founders of LinkedIn and Vice President of Product Management. Currently, he manages the Content and Communities division, covering LinkedIn’s Groups, News, Influencer, Stream and Communication products.

Before joining LinkedIn, Allen designed exploratory products and marketing programs at PayPal. And he was an early employee, Director of Product Design, at SocialNet.com, a first-generation social site supporting dating, recreational and professional activities.

Before entering technology, Allen lectured on Theatrical Design at Stanford University. Follow Allen on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Eric Bradlow

Eric Bradlow, Professor of Marketing, The Wharton School

Professor Eric T. Bradlow is the K.P. Chao Professor, Professor of Marketing, Statistics, Education and Economics and Faculty Director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative. An applied statistician, Professor Bradlow uses high-powered statistical models to solve problems on everything from Internet search engines to product assortment issues. Specifically, his research interests include Bayesian modeling, statistical computing, and developing new methodology for unique data structures with application to business problems.

Eric was recently named a fellow of the American Statistical Association, American Educational Research Association, is past chair of the American Statistical Association Section on Statistics in Marketing, past Editor-in-Chief of Marketing Science, is a past statistical fellow of Bell Labs, and worked at DuPont Corporation’s Corporate Marketing and Business Research Division and the Educational Testing Service.

Professor Bradlow has won numerous teaching awards at Wharton, including the Anvil Award, MBA Core Curriculum teaching award, the Miller-Sherrerd MBA Core Teaching award and the Excellence in Teaching Award. His teaching interests include courses in Statistics, Marketing Research, Marketing Management and PhD Data Analysis, as well as any material related to customer analytics. Follow Eric on Twitter and LinkedIn.

H. Patrick Clancy headshot
H. Patrick Clancy

H. Patrick Clancy, President and CEO, Philadelphia Works

H. Patrick Clancy possesses more than 20 years senior level experience developing and managing Career and Workforce Development programs. As President and CEO of Philadelphia Works, the City’s Workforce Development Board, he directs all aspects of the organization, providing strategic guidance for investments in solutions and services to grow Philadelphia’s economy.

Prior to his time leading Philadelphia Works, Clancy served as Special Advisor on Employment and Training Programs for the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, where he oversaw the implementation of an $80 million Welfare to Work program across the Commonwealth and helped to draft the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) state plan for the US Department of Labor. He also advised the PA Secretary of Human Services on all employment and training issues regarding TANF recipients.

Clancy’s experience is rooted at Philadelphia Works, having spent nearly 15 years in various roles—including seven years as Vice President of Training Programs—with the former Philadelphia Workforce Development Corporation (PWDC). After his time with PWDC, Clancy led strategic planning and development of 16 Industry-Sector Partnerships across Southeastern Pennsylvania, connecting employers, unions and community colleges in order to create cost-effective training programs.

He currently serves as a board member of the Wanamaker Institute of Industries, a Trustees of the Board for Community College of Philadelphia. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Organization, National Association of Workforce Development Professionals, the Society for Human Resource Management and membership on the Workforce Development Council of the US Conference of Mayors.

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Tsvi Gal, CTO Infrastructure, Morgan Stanley

Tsvi Gal is a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley. Tsvi has over 25 years of technology and operations experience mostly in financial services global corporations.

Tsvi’s career included work as CTO and CIO in several banks including Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and Wells Fargo as well as in non-banks including general partner of a private equity firm, president of AT&T.com and CIO of Time Warner Music. Follow Tsvi on LinkedIn.

Dr. Donald Guy Generals

Dr. Donald Guy Generals, President, Community College of Philadelphia

Dr. Donald Guy Generals became the sixth president of Community College of Philadelphia on July 1, 2014. As the chief executive officer, he guides Philadelphia’s only public institution of higher learning, which serves more than 35,000 credit and noncredit students from diverse social, cultural and educational backgrounds.

Dr. Generals serves on numerous boards in Philadelphia including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, Philadelphia Works, Campus Philly, the Urban Affairs Coalition, the Free Library of Philadelphia and Friends Select School. He served on numerous professional organizations, including the New Jersey Academic Affairs Affinity Group (chair); the National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges (Board member since 2010); the College Board, Middle States Regional Council; and the Paterson Board of Education (commissioner). Dr. Generals writes and speaks on a range of educational issues. His book, Booker T. Washington, The Architect of Progressive Education, was published in 2013. Follow Dr. Generals on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Melanie S. Harris headshot
Melanie S. Harris

Melanie S. Harris, Chief Information Officer, School District of Philadelphia

Melanie S. Harris is the Chief Information Officer for the School District of Philadelphia. As the CIO, she oversees the team responsible for all aspects of technology delivery and support for schools and administrative offices. Ms. Harris believes that her primary role and the role of her office is to improve the lives and futures of students in Philadelphia, and seeks to create a technology infrastructure that fosters technology-rich learning environments in classrooms, and improves administrative systems for the optimal management of the School District. Collectively, these actions show a District-wide commitment that Philadelphia’s public school students gain the technical, digital citizenship, and Internet safety skills necessary to compete and innovate in a constantly changing and technology immersed global world.

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Ravi Kandikonda, Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy & Planning, Comcast

Ravi Kandikonda is the Senior Vice President of Marketing Strategy & Planning for Comcast’s consumer business lines. In this role, Ravi leads strategic planning, media mix optimization, customer insights and campaign execution for the $50bn annual revenue business. Previously, Ravi was the Managing Director of CRM and Analytics team at the storied marketing agency Ogilvy & Mather. While at Ogilvy, Ravi was based out of North America and Asia leading engagements for several well-known brands in Retail, Technology, CPG and Telecom verticals. Follow Ravi on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Steven Kern, Deputy Director, Quantitative Sciences, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Steven E. Kern, PhD is Deputy Director of Quantitative Sciences at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Quantitative Sciences group is focused on quantitative data analysis to support program strategies for therapeutic projects that the foundation funds. This effort extends across all therapeutic areas in which the foundation is involved including maternal & child health, family planning, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, HIV, and pandemic preparedness. He and his team are strong advocates of making research data “always FAIR and sometimes OPEN” to improve the impact data can have towards the problem it was collected to address, and beyond. Follow Steven on LinkedIn.

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Kevin Mahoney, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Penn Health

Kevin Mahoney is the executive vice president and chief administrative officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS), executive vice dean for integrative services for the Perelman School of Medicine, and a co-director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation.

A lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area, Kevin is actively involved in many community activities. He serves on the board of directors at Community Volunteers in Medicine and the Cradle of Liberty Boy Scout Council. He is also on the campaign cabinet at United Way and served as an elected member of the Tredyffrin-Easttown School District School Board for 10 years. Follow Kevin on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Jake Schwartz, Co-Founder & CEO, General Assembly

Jake Schwartz is the co-founder and chief executive officer of General Assembly, a global company advancing the future of work. Schwartz leads GA’s growth, creating sustainable talent pipelines for businesses and building transparent career pathways to the most transformational work. GA offers employer-driven, practitioner-taught training in high-demand fields like data, technology, design, and business, and the company’s global reach, massive community, and leading outcomes have created an international community of professionals nearly 1 million strong.

GA was named the No. 1 most innovative company in education by Fast Company in 2015 and was in the top 100 on Deloitte’s 2016 Technology Fast 500™ rankings. Schwartz was named E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 and one of Crain’s “40 under 40” in 2015. He earned a B.A. in American studies from Yale in 2000 and an MBA in entrepreneurial management from Wharton in 2008. Follow Jake on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Sethi Bhushan headshot
Sethi Bhushan

Bhushan Sethi, Partner, Joint Global Leader, People & Organization, PwC

Bhushan Sethi is the joint leader of PwC’s Global People & Organization practice, where he shapes and drives the firm’s global network strategy across its 11000+ practitioners in 150+ countries delivering standalone and integrated solutions across people strategy, technology, process and risk & compliance.

In his US Financial Services People & Organization practice lead role, he works with Bank, Asset Manager, Insurer & Fintech executives to define and operationalize targeted People & Organization strategies which enable strategy execution, build capabilities, embed culture and behavior change, integrated client and employee experience, regulatory compliance and sustainable business value. 

Recent client experiences include enterprise and functional (front office and control functions) workforce strategy & planning, building digital workforce capabilities, post-merger integration, operating model design, talent strategy, compensation process redesign, large scale transformation and regulatory driven change. 

Experience gained from living and working in the US, Europe and Asia, has made Bhushan a highly sought after advisor to global leaders from developed and emerging markets.  He is a leading thinker and spokesperson on topics including “future of work”, risk culture, workforce strategy, employee experience and diversity & inclusion evidenced by his external speaking events, published research, media interviews and active social media profile. 

He co-authored PwC’s Workforce of Future 2030 research and is currently part of the T20 “Future of work task force” where he works with leading global think tanks, business and academic leaders to influence future public policy. Follow Bhushan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Matt Sigelman

Matthew Sigelman, Chief Executive Officer, Burning Glass Technologies

Matt Sigelman is CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, a leading labor market analytics firm. For more than a decade, he has led Burning Glass in harnessing the power of data and artificial intelligence technologies that have cracked the genetic code of the job market.

Powered by the world’s largest and most sophisticated database of jobs and talent, Burning Glass delivers real-time data and breakthrough planning tools that inform careers, define academic programs, and shape workforces. Burning Glass has helped to fill millions of jobs and its data drive initiatives for more than a dozen state and national governments.

Matt is consulted frequently by national media, by researchers, and industry leaders. He served previously with McKinsey & Company and Capital One. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.B.A. from Harvard. Follow Matthew on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About WorkingNation’s Town Hall Series

“The Future Is Now: Closing the Data Analytics Skills Gap | The Wharton School & WorkingNation Town Hall” will be WorkingNation’s sixth Town Hall event. This series brings together local leaders, educators, businesses and workforce development organizations for solutions-driven conversations.

Previous Town Halls include:

“Re-Skilling the Mid-Career Workforce,” held in conjunction with the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, was about the importance of training programs helping older individuals and the long-term unemployed to re-enter the workforce.

“Keeping America’s Promise,” produced in partnership with the syndicated television show Hiring America and filmed at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, was aimed at assisting veterans’ transition to the civilian workforce.

“Shaping the Future of Work,” was held at the Dreamline Aviation hangar at Van Nuys Airport with YPO Los Angeles and focused on the workforce shortage in the aviation and aerospace industries.

“Cracking the Code,” was an in-depth discussion with leading experts on the topic of cybercrime and how to develop a skilled workforce to confront the scale of this global problem. It was held at the campus of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Watch highlights from the event.

“Work-Based Learning: A WorkingNation Town Hall,” brought together experts from the organizations engaged in redefining worker training for our fifth Town Hall at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston last October.

You can view all of our Town Hall discussions on the WorkingNation YouTube channel.

About The Wharton School

For more than 135 years, Wharton has been the place where visionaries, inventors, and trailblazers get their start. In 1881, American entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton established the world’s first collegiate school of business at the University of Pennsylvania — a radical idea that revolutionized both business practice and higher education. Since then, the Wharton School has continued innovating to meet mounting global demand for new ideas, deeper insights, and transformative leadership. We blaze trails, from the nation’s first collegiate center for entrepreneurship in 1973 to our latest research centers in alternative investments and neuroscience. For more information, visit wharton.upenn.edu.

About Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI)

The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) is the world’s preeminent academic research center focusing on the development and application of customer analytics methods. Through our innovative Research Opportunity program and R&D “crowdsourcing” approach, WCAI enables academic researchers from around the world to help companies understand how to better monetize the individual-level data they collect about customers through the development and application of new predictive models. We marry our work with companies and researchers around the world with a range of co-curricular student programs that foster talent development and recruitment.

Launched with a generous gift from Wharton alumnus Art Bilger and his wife, Dahlia, and an executive partnership with Omnicom Group, Inc., WCAI has a broad impact on the practice of data-driven business decision-making, and the dissemination of relevant insights to managers, students, and policymakers. For more information, visit wcai.wharton.upenn.edu.

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