2 truths and a lie...
- I have red hair and O negative blood type (universal donor), which puts me in the likes of approximately 0.02% of the world population. Talk about being a minority!
- One highlight of the second decade of my life was being selected as the top clarinet player in the state of Illinois and flawlessly playing the solo of Pines of Rome in front of nearly 1000 people.
- I have a life goal of visiting all US National Parks. Currently 25% done!
Ok...so my lie is those are all truths. Sorry! Truth #4: I'm really bad at lying.
Let's get the official stuff out of the way first.
You'll find a recent copy of my resume here.
Please connect with me on social media. I try to post interesting things on occasion, but my social media game is slightly lacking. I have no creativity when it comes to #hashtags.
And now brief history of how I got to today...
I grew up in Evanston, IL, a diverse suburb north of Chicago. Throughout high school, I wavered between wanting to be a musician, a historian and an engineer.
Ultimately I decided to be an engineer, deciding to attend Cornell University after being swayed by the gorges, tulips, and the 700 miles between me and home. Pre-frosh visits to Cornell neglect to give the the naive high school seniors the experience of Ithaca winters and learning that "far above Cayuga's waters" actually means a whole lot of unforgiving hills to walk up everyday!
At Cornell, I chose an uncommon path, creating my own major combining concepts from engineering and social sciences, called Computational Social Science. I had the support of Steve Strogatz from the Department of Applied Mathematics and Michael Macy from the Department of Sociology/Information Sciences. The majority of my engineering classes came from Operations Research where I then looked at its applications to sociology, psychology, and in particular, network analysis.
Upon graduation, I made my way back to Chicago where I joined Nielsen (as in the TV ratings) in the Emerging Leaders Program. This was a 2 year program with four 6-month rotations and afterward, I joined a team in Buy Operations (i.e. the Nielsen Data Factory) as an internal consultant/client liaison. I had the pleasure of supporting many of Nielsen's biggest clients during my 4 years there, which included a 6 month stint living in Arkansas supporting Walmart and Sam's Club. Arkansas, if you are wondering, is WAY better than you would ever imagine and I keep looking for excuses to go back to visit. My time at Nielsen brought me many great experiences and lifetime friends.
After Nielsen, I joined the client-side working Strategy Analyst as part of a dynamic and resilient Muller Quaker Dairy team. MQD, was joint venture between PepsiCo and the European dairy multi-national, Muller, formed in 2012. I focused on marketing, sales, and promotion/pricing strategy and analysis, with a primary project focusing on building a Marketing Mix model. The JV dissolved at the end of 2015, which was a truly surreal experience. Even now, I cannot walk into a grocery store with me without taking a detour to the yogurt aisle before leaving.
I recently my master's degree in Information and Data Science from the University of California, Berkeley offered by the School of Information. The degree was conducted entirely online, so I continued to work full time and maintain my life in Chicago. Yes, there are quality online degrees out there! I got more out of this degree from personal, academic, and professional perspectives than I could have ever imagined. What surprised me most about the MIDS degree was how it brought me to my next role, working for 2U the education technology company that powered my degree.
I'm thrilled to be at the intersection of higher ed, technology, and data analytics, working toward providing the best possible outcomes for our students and improving operational efficiency of our internal teams. There is an incredible opportunity for 2U to change the face of higher education for the better, and it's crazy to be at the center of the all of the possibilities ahead of us.
I keep laughing at the irony that I did not have to pick up and move my life to move to Berkeley for my master's degree, but I picked up and moved my life for 2U. 2U is a company like no other and I look forward to a long career there!
Professionally, I have aspirations to lead the strategy of an organization rooted in data science, efficiency, and pragmatic optimism. Despite my roots in market research and consumer packaged goods, I have a growing passion to bring these new skills to education, in particular higher education, rekindling an interest I had coming out of Cornell but was too scared to pursue. Starting at 2U has brought me closer (or directly on) this path and I'm excited for the future.
My personal goals in the near future range from utterly ambitious to stupidly practical. First (practical) goal: establish my life in DC while being a landlord from afar. I recently converted timber loft in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago prior to moving out to DC. There are many things I miss about Chicago, but DC is slowly growing on me. I appreciate it's compactness and having Wegmans in my life again.
I also have aspirations to compete nationally in Olympic Weightlifting. I found weightlifting through CrossFit, decided I liked lifting heavy things more than I liked breathing hard and decided to focus 'full' time on this sport.
I also, as mentioned above, have a dream to visit all 59 US National Parks. I recently checked Yosemite off the list, but my favorite so far has been Glacier National Park in Montana. Living in Chicago is obviously not conducive to completing this goal anytime soon.