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  • Grace Lee, Group Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Scotiabank

Grace Lee, Group Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Scotiabank

Describe your career to date

I am a seasoned executive with a passion for delivering business transformation through the practical use of data, analytics, and technology, and a bias for execution over experimentation. Prior to my current role as Senior Vice President and Group Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Scotiabank, I advised companies across North America on the strategies, capabilities, and operating models required to drive top- and bottom-line growth, spanning topics including process improvement, channel optimization, pricing, personalization, and industrialized innovation.

Since joining Scotiabank in 2021, I have been focused on building and executing a multi-year enterprise transformation program to harness the virtuous cycle of technology, data, and analytics. This has included a Bank-wide data modernization program to build the platform, processes, and governance to manage, enable, and protect data at scale. Scotiabank has also taken a leadership position in codifying the ethical use data and artificial intelligence (AI) and was one of the first Canadian financial institutions to operationalize tools, processes, and governance to proactively assess data ethics in AI and machine learning models.

Under my leadership, data and analytics continues to partner effectively with business and functional stakeholders to drive end-to-end alignment and durable business value through last-mile execution. I am proud to be a sought-after thought leader, speaking regularly on topics including AI, data management, business transformation, and diversity and inclusion at industry events. I believe I have made a significant and positive impact in supporting the industry’s journey towards becoming more data- and insight-driven.

How are you developing the data literacy of your organization, including the skills of your data teams and of your business stakeholders? 

Data literacy is an important pillar of the Bank’s data strategy, and requires far more than general knowledge delivered through training modules. Literacy and understanding comes through caring about and onboarding the knowledge with the intent to act.

Our literacy efforts are paired with a comprehensive data stewardship and sponsorship program, owned by business and functional leaders, and supported by clear roles, responsibilities, and metrics. Over the past three years, we have had thousands of citizen users go through our training programs and participate actively in hackathons and other data community events.

What role do you play in building and delivering conventional artificial intelligence solutions, including machine learning models? Are you also involved in your organization’s adoption of generative AI? 

AI and machine learning solutions across the enterprise, including those using generative AI, are delivered and enabled centrally by our team (Customer Insights, Data, and Analytics), under the supervision of our newly named Chief AI Officer. We have made good progress in exploring AI in past years – the focus going forward is in creating scale and sustainable impact by explicitly linking our AI strategy to our business, data, and technology and platform strategies, and building the right operating framework to make it easy to discover, develop, and deliver AI and machine learning solutions safely.

We are committed to balancing the opportunities afforded by AI and emerging technology with a thoughtful and purposeful consideration of the evolving risk landscape. All AI initiatives are reviewed and approved with alignment from a cross-functional working team that includes members representing all business lines, data and analytics, risk management, privacy, compliance, legal, and security.

Through these measures, we have made significant headway in driving the right capabilities, talent, and business engagement to deliver impact for the enterprise, and we will continue to invest in both enterprise-grade and experimental solutions to evolve with this fast-moving technology.

What stage has your organization reached on its data maturity journey? 

Like many other large, complex, and highly regulated companies, it is hard to not comment “we are just getting started.” With that said, Scotiabank has made good progress on its data maturity journey and has cleared some significant hurdles. We have a clear enterprise data strategy and a concrete roadmap to deliver it across our business lines and markets that has been reviewed and approved by our primary regulators.

We have active engagement by business and functional leaders in owning and delivering this roadmap. We have made foundational investments in consolidating and modernizing our data platforms, including a repeatable set of enablement and security patterns in public cloud as well as automated data management capabilities. We are now in position to scale and are currently working towards a detailed execution plan to migrate and modernize existing data assets, analytics workloads, and operational processes, and to build the operating models required to support the target state.

Grace Lee
has been included in:
  • No. 9 100 Brands 2024 (USA)