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Yannis Kotziagkiaouridis, Global Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Edelman Data and Intelligence

What has been your path to power? 

I have based my 20+ year career on the fundamental principle that data can help brands build stronger relationships with people. As Edelman’s Global Chief Data & AI Officer, I use this belief as well as the power of data and AI to enable brands to behave and communicate like humans–to see, to hear, to understand, to build trust, to act and ultimately, to create a more empathetic world.  

 

At Edelman, I am driving enterprise digitization by linking Trust to language and third-party data leveraging NLP & ML to activate it across business models, content, audiences, and journeys. In my previous role at Wunderman Thompson, I was instrumental in the development of “Collision,” the strategic method and toolbox that brought together data and creativity for a global network of 20,000 people. Prior to that, I was at Merkle for almost a decade as a practitioner of data and advanced analytics methods across industries.  

 

Today, I am proud to lead a global team of over 460 people at Edelman, focusing on empowering bold decisions to build a better world. We are a team of not just data scientists and engineers; we are thinkers and dreamers. We just don’t utilize data to do math; we apply empathy and breathe culture into all that we do. 

 

I am passionate about fostering an environment of constant curiosity and the promotion of diverse ideas. I do believe that although Data is not human, how we use it and what we do with it has immense implications for humanity. 

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

 

At Edelman, I lead the efforts in digitizing Trust and connecting it to action and measurable impact through the power of scaled communications. My team is bringing together, in real time, billions of signals from content and third-party data for the sole purpose of understanding Trust and the forces that drive it among stakeholders. We are connecting Trust to action by activating differentiating strategies in business models, content, audiences, and journeys, as well as measuring the impact of these actions.  

 

Furthermore, I oversee the efforts to use data and technology as a supercharger of creativity by addressing:  

  • The artificial divide between data and creativity, by reframing the scope of creativity
  • The ethics surrounding the use of data and AI, by introducing empathy into data   
  • The gap in understanding the art of possibility from the use of data & AI, by engaging and educating diverse stakeholders that include the communities and people most affected but are least represented by data.   

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

 

Leadership is seeing the future, the gift to dream what is next and the boldness to move people into the unknown, with empathy for all that you impact.  

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

 

The most important step in helping organizations achieve data literacy is to democratize data and technology, which primarily means three things: 

  • Creating end-user applications so business users can interact with data.  
  • Having an inclusive data culture where non data experts are core members of the data process, providing context, defining scope, and uncovering insights.  
  • Broadening the literacy of the data organization in the core business competencies of the enterprise (ex: creative ideation, public affairs, or crisis management).   

The analogy I use is that we may not be able to train everyone to be an expert coffee barista, but if we give them a Nespresso machine with pods based on their preferences, we could have consistent espresso brewing while everyone feels they are getting what they need and are contributing to the solution. Who knew that democratizing data was so similar to democratizing your morning brew? 

Yannis Kotziagkiaouridis
has been included in:
  • 100 Enablers 2022 (USA)