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  • Katia Walsh, Chief Global Strategy and AI Officer, Levi Strauss & Co

Katia Walsh, Chief Global Strategy and AI Officer, Levi Strauss & Co

What has been your path to power? 

The defining theme of my work is making global brands indispensable to their customers. At Forrester, I advised businesses on tech adoption to help them serve a new kind of customer and thrive on technology change. At Fidelity, the first fintech company, I used digital and data strategies to advance and promote its leadership in customer experience. At Prudential Financial, I launched the chief customer office, a combination of digital and data capabilities, which transformed the 140-year-old business into a modern, customer-oriented company.

At Vodafone, I built the big data and AI organization in its 25 operating countries and drove the digital transformation of one of the largest unified communications leaders, serving 500 million customers globally. And at Levi’s, I help drive the digital transformation of a brand that everyone in the world knows, wears and loves.


What are your key areas of focus for data and analytics in 2022?

I often say that the most important question for this capability is, what do you do with it? Overall, I’ve dedicated my career to driving transformational impact in three key areas:

  1. Consumer and customer experience – it must always come first because customers are the reasons for businesses to exist and change.
  2. Internal operations – we have so much opportunity to automate, optimize and completely overhaul how a business works today. Everything that can be automated should be automated; everything that can be optimized should be optimized; and every company today is a tech and data company, even if they don’t yet know that…
  3. New business models and revenue opportunities – I’m passionate about technology’s impact on our lives, on business and on society.New business models and revenue opportunities are all around us. Rather than being disrupted, it’s up to us to discover and seize ways to disrupt with the goal to augment, boost and secure our growth for many years to come!

Tell us what leadership means to you in the context of your role as a senior data leader.

Leadership to me is about service. I see myself as a servant to organizations and people, to set them up for success, help them achieve their goals and fulfil their potential. To be a leader is a privilege, which I never take it for granted. It’s enormously gratifying to develop and grow people and one of the things of which I am most proud in my work. Whether it’s discovering new talent, promoting great people, or upskilling employees, there is always so much reward in leadership. I look forward to continuing my service as a leader and always learning from the experience.


And what about the skills of your data teams and of your business stakeholders? How are you developing data literacy across the company/organization?

I believe that, in a business, we are all one team, regardless of formal organizational and reporting lines. Data and digital technologies do not work in silos, customers do not benefit from silos, and progress can get derailed by silos. So,my mission is to break them down, empower cross-functional success and deliver overall organizational results. Whether it’s data teams or other stakeholders across the business, I focus on:

  • Carving joint goals with stakeholders and driving as one team the ways to meet company priorities, solve problems and seize opportunities.
  • Delivering measurable impact through customer success, as well as business revenues, cost savings and greater return on investment.
  • Developing and growing people across the enterprise with digital, data, and machine learning skills. This helps us upgrade enterprise talent and create a competitive advantage for a business. I love technology, but people are what makes it happen. Together, technology and people across an organization are the key to success.
Katia Walsh
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2019 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2022 (USA)