Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Why do only 10% of companies succeed with AI? In this series by MIT SMR and BCG, we talk to the leaders who've achieved big wins with AI in their companies and learn how they did it. Hear what gets experts from companies like Walmart, DHL, and others excited to do their jobs every day and what they consider the keys to their success.

Season 1

Prakhar Mehrotra, Walmart

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Walmart’s Prakhar Mehrotra discusses leading AI teams and workstreams in this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Prakhar Mehrotra, vice president of machine learning at Walmart, discusses his background and explains how it helped prepare him to lead an AI team at a $500 billion retailer.

As vice president of machine learning, Prakhar Mehrotra is one of the top executives for AI and machine learning at Walmart and an internationally recognized leader and innovator in the field. He was recently awarded The Franz Edelman Medal by INFORMS for significant contributions in data science and advanced analytics. He is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and serves as a peer reviewer for top conferences and journals in AI, including the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence conference, the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, and the International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems.

Before joining Walmart, Prakhar led data scientists and developed stochastic models at Uber and Twitter, where he learned how to move quickly and scale AI. (Fun fact: He even drove for Uber to better understand the driver experience — a perfect example of the role empathy plays in AI.) Now tasked with using artificial intelligence to help with decision-making and enhance the business, Prakhar focuses on the technology that improves store merchandising, which includes pricing, inventory management, and financial planning.

Hear Prakhar share stories on rallying and educating teams on AI, the relationship between AI and business intelligence, and what it means to make big bets in an enterprise setting.

Slawek Kierner, Humana

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Using AI and simulations in health care can help doctors better serve patients.

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Slawek Kierner, senior vice president of enterprise data and analytics at Humana, has been immersed in data for as long as he can remember. His fascination with process simulations began with his first PC, running Matlab and Simulink, and it later led him to innovative roles at Procter & Gamble and Nokia. Slawek’s desire to use data for a noble purpose brought him to Humana, where he uses AI to solve problems around medication adherence and predict population health outcomes.

Slawek Kierner is Humana’s senior vice president, digital health and analytics. He is responsible for enabling data governance, analytics platforms, data science, and artificial intelligence integration across the enterprise to foster innovative solutions that help Humana’s communities, members, care teams, and employees more easily take actions for better health outcomes.

Slawek has previously served as the chief data and analytics officer for the Microsoft Business Applications Group and has led digital marketing operations and information systems for Procter & Gamble’s European business. He also served as a board member and CIO for P&G’s Central Europe division.

In this episode of Me, Myself, and AI, Slawek describes how re-creating synthetic individual profiles indistinguishable from those of real humans can help physicians better predict patient admissions and behaviors. He also shares stories on how his team created an internal machine learning platform that gives data scientists access to open-source capabilities — all in pursuit of helping human beings live longer, healthier lives.

Gina Chung, DHL

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

AI is a powerful tool for innovation when leaders communicate its benefits.

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

As vice president of innovation at logistics company DHL, Gina Chung oversees a 28,000-square-foot innovation facility in Chicago. Fascinated with supply chains since college (“I think it’s something to do with the fact that I’m from New Zealand and grew up in a pretty isolated part of the world,” she explains), she spearheads AI and robotics projects focused on front-line operations — like automated pallet inspection and stacking, delivery route optimization, and aircraft utilization.

Gina Chung is vice president, Innovation Americas, at DHL, where she is responsible for DHL’s Americas Innovation Center, a purpose-built platform to engage customers, startups, and industries on the future of logistics. She manages a portfolio of projects focused on the rapid testing and adoption of technologies such as collaborative robotics and artificial intelligence across logistics operations.

Gina notes that “the first day for AI is the worst day”: The technology improves with human input over time, achieving accuracy to a level where people trust and embrace it. She describes how success requires closely collaborating with key stakeholders, integrating change management, bringing teams along when introducing new technology, and designing solutions with the end user in mind.

Mattias Ulbrich, Porsche

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Porsche is accelerating innovation by emphasizing the need for collaboration between humans and AI technology.

Mattias Ulbrich has always been interested in new technology. As CIO of Porsche and CEO of Porsche Digital, he runs a subsidiary focused on the “new stuff” — new ideas, new models, and new opportunities. That means implementing innovations in AI, cloud technology, and blockchain in local markets around the world, and instilling a culture of continuous learning within his own cross-functional workforce.

Mattias Ulbrich has been CIO at Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG since October 2018 and CEO of Porsche Digital GmbH since April 2019. After studying electrical engineering at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Mattias began his career in the sales division of American IT company Hewlett-Packard in 1993. He joined Audi AG in 1998, working at the Neckarsulm, Germany, site until 2003. Mattias was subsequently appointed CIO at SEAT in Barcelona, Spain, and then joined Volkswagen in 2006. From 2012-2018, Mattias was CIO at Audi AG.

In this episode, Mattias shares examples of how AI is accelerating innovation at Porsche — by enhancing product design and the driving experience, improving production and sustainability efforts, and better managing the global supply chain. He has also connected some unlikely dots from other spaces — for example, by using the sound of an espresso machine to inform car component design.

Arti Zeighami, H&M Group

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The fashion retailer’s chief data and analytics officer uses agile pilots to assess and scale technology initiatives.

Arti Zeighami’s interest in artificial intelligence started when he read science fiction as a teen. Yet as head of advanced analytics and AI for global retailer H&M Group, his leadership style focuses on reality: first building a business case and a proof of concept, and then undergoing an agile process of iteration and scaling, failure and success, measurement and improvement.

Arti Zeighami is a senior executive and a business leader at H&M Group. As chief data and analytics officer, he is responsible for all AI, analytics, and data capabilities across all of the company’s brands.

In this episode, Arti talks about weaving AI into the value chain in the fashion industry — specifically around personalization, pricing, merchandising and forecasting. He has coined the term amplified intelligence — where humans and machines work together — and in this episode shares stories and practical tips on how teams can get started and scale successfully.

Kay Firth-Butterfield, World Economic Forum

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Business — and society — should think of the governance of AI as an enabler rather than a constraint.

Kay Firth-Butterfield was teaching AI, ethics, law, and international relations when a chance meeting on an airplane landed her a job as chief AI ethics officer. In 2017, Kay became head of AI and machine learning at the World Economic Forum, where her team develops tools and on-the-ground programs to improve AI understanding and governance across the globe.

Kay Firth-Butterfield is head of AI and machine learning and a member of the executive committee of the World Economic Forum. In the United Kingdom, she is a barrister with Doughty Street Chambers and has worked as a mediator, arbitrator, part-time judge, business owner, and professor. She is vice chair of the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems and serves on the Polaris Council of the U.S. Government Accountability Office advising on AI.

In the final episode of the first season of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Kay joins cohosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh to discuss the democratization of AI, the values of good governance and ethics in technology, and the importance of having people understand the technology across their organizations — and society. She also weighs in on other themes our hosts have discussed this season, including education, collaboration, and innovation.

Season 2

Craig Martell, Lyft

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

As algorithms become commodities, their application demands rigorous thinking..

Craig Martell says he won the career lottery. After studying logic, philosophy, political science, and political theory, he completed a Ph.D. in computer science and found his way to machine learning, a field he thoroughly enjoys. After spending time at Dropbox and LinkedIn, Craig headed to Lyft, where he runs the LyftML engineering team. He’s also an adjunct professor at Northeastern University in Seattle.

Craig Martell is head of machine learning at Lyft and an adjunct professor of machine learning for Northeastern University’s Align program in Seattle. Before joining Lyft, he was head of machine intelligence at Dropbox, led a number of AI teams and initiatives at LinkedIn, and was a tenured professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Martell has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania and is coauthor of Great Principles of Computing (MIT Press, 2015).

We kick off Season 2 of Me, Myself, and AI discussing a particular trend Craig has seen in the AI and machine learning space: As organizations depend more on technology-driven solutions to solve business problems, algorithms themselves are less important than how they fit into an overall engineering product pipeline and product development road map. Craig shares his thoughts about what this shift means for academic education and cross-functional collaboration in organizations, and the hosts pick his brain about how to combat unconscious bias.

Will Grannis, Google Cloud

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Success with AI — as with games — depends on defining the problem you’re trying to solve.

Will Grannis discovered his love for technology playing Tron and Oregon Trail as a child. After attending West Point and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he translated his passion for game theory into an aptitude for solving problems for companies, a central component of his role as founder and leader of the Office of the CTO at Google Cloud. Will leads a team of customer-facing technology leaders who, while tasked with bringing machine learning solutions to market, approach their projects with a user-first mindset, ensuring that they first identify the problem to be solved.

Will Grannis is the founder and leader of Google Cloud’s CTO Office, a team of senior engineers whose mission is to foster collaborative innovation between Google and its largest customers. Prior to joining Google in 2015, Grannis spent the last two decades as an entrepreneur, enterprise technology executive, and investor, building and scaling technical platforms that today power commerce, transportation, and the public sector. He’s been a developer, product manager, CTO, SVP of Engineering, and CEO, building a wide variety of platforms and teams along the way.

In Season 2, Episode 2, of Me, Myself, and AI, Will makes it clear that great ideas don’t only come from the obvious subject-area experts in the room; diverse perspectives, coupled with a codified approach to innovation, lead to the best ideas. The collaboration principles and processes Google Cloud relies on can be applied at other organizations across industries.

Amit Shah, 1-800-Flowers

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Success with AI depends more on mindsets than skill sets.

1-800-Flowers faces the same cold-start problem any consumer-facing business might face: It doesn’t know exactly what its customers need when they first come to its website. What’s more unique to the platform, which operates through a network of local florists and affiliates worldwide, though, is that each time a customer comes to its site, they may have a different end goal in mind. Consumers shop for gifts and floral arrangements for different occasions — as varied as funerals, birthdays, and holidays — which can make it difficult for technology to recommend the best product during a specific online shopping session.

Amit Shah has a proven track record for leading e-commerce marketing strategies while rapidly scaling user acquisition and revenue streams. As president of 1-800-Flowers.com (since August 2020), he is responsible for leading the operations and management of the 1-800-Flowers.com brand. Since joining the company in September 2011, Shah has held several roles of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as chief marketing officer from March 2017 to August 2020.

In Season 2, Episode 3, of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, 1-800-Flowers president Amit Shah explains the company’s unique challenge as a platform business and engagement brand facing this perennial cold-start problem. He also shares his insights into why marketers may have a leg up in working with AI and machine learning, how to foster a team of curious learners, and why it’s important to tolerate failures.

JoAnn Stonier, Mastercard

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Mastercard’s chief data officer explains how constraints can enable technology leaders to design better solutions to business problems.

JoAnn Stonier can’t deny that her role as chief data officer at Mastercard isn’t easy. Advising the company on the mitigation of current and future risk while guiding her team to think critically about the problems they’re using AI to solve is challenging — but, she says, it’s also fun.

JoAnn Stonier serves as chief data officer for Mastercard, leading the organization’s data innovation efforts while navigating current and future data risks. Stonier and her team design and operationalize Mastercard’s global data strategy, ensure governance and data quality, and guide enterprise deployment of cutting-edge data solutions, including advanced analytics and AI and the development of enterprise data platforms.

In Season 2, Episode 4, of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, JoAnn talks with Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh about the elements of her job that are both demanding and rewarding. She also touches on the skill sets she finds most valuable in her colleagues and shares how her work in interior design helps her reframe technology challenges at work.

Chris Couch, Cooper Standard

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

AI helps the automotive supplier develop products that benefit consumers every day in unseen ways.

Chris Couch has a unique role, serving as senior vice president and CTO of automotive supplier Cooper Standard as well as CEO of Liveline Technologies, a startup born from the CS Open Innovation initiative. Both organizations use AI to manufacture products the average consumer likely never thinks twice about, such as brake fluid and polymer seals for car doors.

With more than 21 years of global automotive manufacturing experience, Christopher Couch serves as senior vice president and CTO for Cooper Standard, where he leads R&D, product development and engineering, product strategy, and program management. He also has P&L responsibility for Applied Materials Science, a venture business unit focused on the commercialization of unique materials developed by the company. Couch also leads the CS Open Innovation initiative, which aims to position Cooper Standard as the partner of choice for open innovation with startups, universities, and other suppliers.

In Season 2, Episode 5, of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, we talk with Chris about open innovation, automating rote processes without displacing human workers, and attracting talent by fostering a startup culture.

Huiming Qu, The Home Depot

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The global retailer uses machine learning to help customers find the right tools for their home improvement projects.

Huiming Qu didn’t plan to work in data science, a nascent field at the time she was pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science, but one course in data mining changed all of that. She started her career in the research department at IBM, transitioned to a 50-person Huiming Qu didn’t plan to work in data science, a nascent field at the time she was pursuing a Ph.D. in computer science, but one course in data mining changed all of that. She started her career in the research department at IBM, transitioned to a 50-person startup, spent some time in the financial services industry, and today leads data science and machine learning in the marketing and online functions at The Home Depot.

Huiming Qu leads the online data science and platform team enabling search, product recommendations, real-time personalization, visual shopping, and various other innovations for The Home Depot’s digital channels. She is a technical leader with deep expertise in artificial intelligence, data science, engineering, and product leadership, with a proven record of driving billion-dollar contributions with scalable machine learning solutions and strategic innovation. Qu has more than 10 years of experience managing large AI and data science programs at IBM’s Watson research lab, Distillery, and American Express. She earned a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh; holds six patents and has others pending approval; and has published more than a dozen academic papers around data management, machine learning, and optimization.

In Season 2, Episode 6, of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Huiming explains the similarities and differences between her previous experiences and her current role, in which she is tasked with helping customers more easily find the products and services they need as they embark on home improvement projects. (And who hasn’t started at least one of those since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted many of us to working from home?) She also outlines some of the challenges of managing a data set of over 2 million product SKUs and getting pilot programs to market quickly, and she explains why she champions the need for cross-functional teams to execute complex technology projects.

Colin Lenaghan, PepsiCo

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

It’s a myth that you need to hire individuals who can do it all. What you need is a cross-functional AI team.

Colin Lenaghan says he wakes up every Monday morning looking forward to the week ahead and what he’ll learn as he continues to lead digital transformation and artificial intelligence projects at work. With nearly a quarter-century under his belt working in revenue management at PepsiCo, these technology implementation projects keep him and his team on their toes while positioning the consumer packaged goods company for continued success long into the future.

Colin Lenaghan is global senior vice president for net revenue management at PepsiCo. In his 24-year career at PepsiCo, Lenaghan has held positions across the company’s strategy, finance, insights, and commercial groups and gained deep experience across all categories in the PepsiCo portfolio. He spearheads digital transformation to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to drive improved performance across the value chain, including a project to set up a technology venture unit in Israel.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, we speak with Colin about some of the AI projects his team is working on and get his take on the skills and competencies organizations should foster to set up technology implementations for success.

Elizabeth Renieris, Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The founding director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab shares her views on corporate data governance.

Technology presents many opportunities, but it also comes with risks. Elizabeth Renieris is uniquely positioned to advise the public and private sectors on ethical AI practices, so we invited her to join us for the final episode of Season 2 of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast.

Elizabeth Renieris is the founding director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab, the applied research and development arm of the University of Notre Dame’s Technology Ethics Center, where she helps develop and oversee projects to promote human values in technology. She is also a technology and human rights fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, a practitioner fellow at Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab, and an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Renieris’s work is focused on cross-border data governance as well as the ethical challenges and human rights implications of digital identity, blockchain, and other new and advanced technologies.

As the founder and CEO of Hackylawyer, a consultancy focused on law and policy engineering, Renieris has advised the World Bank, the U.K. Parliament, the European Commission, and a variety of international and nongovernmental organizations on these subjects. She is also working on a forthcoming book about the future of data governance through MIT Press.

Renieris holds a master of laws degree from the London School of Economics, a Juris Doctor from Vanderbilt University, and a bachelor of arts degree from Harvard College.

Elizabeth has worked for the Department of Homeland Security and private organizations in Silicon Valley, and she founded the legal advisory firm Hackylawyer. She now serves as founding director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab, which is focused on convening leading academic thinkers and technology executives to help develop policies for the stronger governance of AI and machine learning initiatives. In this episode, Elizabeth shares her views on what public and private organizations can do to better regulate their technology initiatives.

Dave Johnson, Moderna

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The pharma company’s chief data and artificial intelligence officer discusses the digital biotech’s platform approach to data science.

“We tend not to be a company of half measures,” notes Dave Johnson, chief data and artificial intelligence officer at Moderna, “so when we decide we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it.” This characterization certainly seems to fit the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company that made a name for itself in 2020 upon releasing one of the first COVID-19 vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use to combat the coronavirus.

Dave Johnson is chief data and artificial intelligence officer at Moderna, where he is responsible for all enterprise data capabilities, including data engineering, data integration, data science, and software engineering. Johnson earned a doctorate in information physics and has more than 15 years of experience in software engineering and data science. He has spent more than a decade working exclusively in enterprise pharma and biotech companies.

In this bonus episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, our hosts learn how Moderna used artificial intelligence to speed up development of the vaccine and how the technology has helped to automate other key systems and processes to build efficiencies across the organization. Dave also describes Moderna’s digital-first culture and offers insights around collaboration that can be applied across industries.

Season 3

Kartik Hosanagar, Jumpcut

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Learn how an AI-powered startup is helping new entertainment industry talent get discovered.

Kartik Hosanagar wasn’t your typical Hollywood hopeful. He didn’t pack his life into a sedan, drive to Los Angeles, and work a series of part-time jobs while trying to make it big in the film industry. Kartik is a professor of business and marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who penned a screenplay while on sabbatical. When he started pitching it to potential producers, he quickly discovered that the film industry can be hesitant to take risks on new writers and directors — which often means that diverse talent is overlooked. So, to help unknown talent to break into the entertainment industry, he got to work founding Jumpcut, a venture-funded startup that aims to uncover new voices.

Kartik Hosanagar is the John C. Hower Professor of Technology and Digital Business and a professor of marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the digital economy and the impact of analytics and algorithms on consumers and society.

Hosanagar is a 10-time recipient of MBA or undergraduate teaching excellence awards at The Wharton School. He is a serial entrepreneur who most recently founded Jumpcut Media, a startup that is using data to democratize opportunities in film and TV. Hosanagar has served as a department editor at the journal Management Science and has previously served as a senior editor at the journals Information Systems Research and MIS Quarterly.

Sarah Karthigan, ExxonMobil

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Offering proof-of-concept projects to business units can boost their interest in and understanding of the value of AI.

ExxonMobil is an energy company that’s existed since 1870, well before artificial intelligence. So, what does an AI manager at ExxonMobil do? In the latest episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcasts, hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh interview Sarah Karthigan, AI operations manager for IT, to find out.

Sarah Karthigan is a reputed leader with a demonstrated history of leading digital transformation initiatives in the energy industry. She was named one of 2021’s 25 Influential Women in Energy in recognition of her outstanding work to accelerate the adoption of data science to enable data-driven decision-making across the integrated oil and gas value chain.

Karthigan started her career at ExxonMobil over a decade ago and has since held various roles of increasing responsibility in the areas of strategic planning, project management, scientific computing, and data science. She currently leads the AI operations practice, which is focused on realizing self-healing strategies, and is also responsible for managing external relationships with multiple technical business partners.

Sarah leads a data science team tasked with making use of large volumes of data, with the goal of offering reliable and affordable energy to a variety of populations. A major focus of Sarah’s efforts has been around self-healing, a method for internal process improvement. Listen in to learn how her group secures buy-in for various technology initiatives and works to continually improve human-machine collaboration for the organization.

Douglas Hamilton, Nasdaq

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

How can artificial intelligence be used for prediction and risk mitigation?

Douglas Hamilton works across business units at Nasdaq to deploy artificial intelligence anywhere the technology can expedite or improve processes related to global trading. In this episode of Me, Myself, and AI, he joins hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh to explain how the global financial services and technology company uses AI to predict high-volatility indexes specifically and to offer more general advice for those working with high-risk scenarios.

A data scientist by trade, Douglas Hamilton is the head of AI research at Nasdaq’s Machine Intelligence Lab, which is dedicated to clarifying and improving financial markets with machine learning. He joined Nasdaq in 2017 as a data scientist and developed AI solutions focusing on rapid adaptation, reinforcement learning, and efficient market principles as solutions to predictive control problems. Before joining the financial technology industry and spearheading Nasdaq’s machine intelligence initiatives, Hamilton led an advanced manufacturing analytics group at Boeing Commercial Airplanes and built customer relationship management systems at Fast Enterprises. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a member of the advisory board of The Data Science Conference. Hamilton holds a master of science degree in systems engineering from MIT and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois Springfield.

Paula Goldman, Salesforce

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Learn how Salesforce considers ethics when designing technology solutions.

Paula Goldman has been a passionate advocate for the responsible use of technology for her entire career. Since joining Salesforce as its first chief ethical and humane use officer, she’s helped the company design and build technology solutions for its customers, with a focus on ethics, fairness, and responsible use.

Paula Goldman is Salesforce’s first chief ethical and humane use officer. In her role, she leads Salesforce in creating a framework to build and deploy ethical technology that optimizes social benefit. Previously, Goldman served as vice president, global lead, for the Tech and Society Solutions Lab at Omidyar Network, a social impact investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Goldman also served as the global lead for impact investing, where she created and led Omidyar Network’s global efforts to build the impact investing movement through its investment portfolio, industry partnerships, and thought leadership. Goldman earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University, a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton, and a bachelor’s degree with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Paula joins hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh to discuss her specific role leading the ethical development of technology solutions, as well as the role technology companies play in society at large.

Ranjeet Banerjee, Cold Chain Technologies

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

This transportation and logistics company relies on AI to deliver COVID-19 vaccines safely and efficiently.

When Ranjeet Banerjee talks about the work his organization, Cold Chain Technologies (CCT), does to transport vaccines and other biologics that must be temperature controlled, he stresses that the company doesn’t solely rely on technology. CCT approaches its work by first considering what problems it’s trying to solve, developing use cases, and then considering whether a technology solution might be the best way forward.

Ranjeet Banerjee is the CEO of Cold Chain Technologies (CCT), a leading global provider of comprehensive thermal assurance solutions for temperature-sensitive drugs, vaccines, and biologics. Under his leadership, CCT is playing a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic response, with both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines exclusively using CCT’s thermal assurance packaging solutions across the U.S. CCT is also supporting the in-transit cold chain needs for vaccine distribution across the globe. Previously, Banerjee spent 25 years at global medical technology company Becton Dickinson, most recently serving as corporate executive vice president as well as president of the U.S. and Canada regions, with responsibility for more than $6 billion in revenue. Banerjee is a member of the Advisory Board for the CEO Leadership Alliance of Orange County. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, we learn how a combination of Ranjeet’s background in chemical engineering, his experience working in the health care space, and a holistic approach to leadership and problem-solving enable him to lead CCT to constantly innovate in the supply chain space. Ranjeet also discusses the benefits of a customer-first mindset and shares insights applicable to leaders in industries beyond health care.

Gerri Martin-Flickinger, Starbucks

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Starbucks’s former chief technology officer explains how to lead a successful digital transformation.

Why does how you describe your team — down to its name — matter? Gerri Martin-Flickinger, former executive vice president CTO at Starbucks, joins the Me, Myself, and AI podcast to describe some of the technology initiatives the coffeehouse chain has been able to pursue since rebranding its technology team and articulating its mission.

As executive vice president and CTO at Starbucks, Gerri Martin-Flickinger led the Starbucks Technology team through a transformation into a best-in-class retail technology organization. She was the passionate leader behind the technology strategy that plays a critical role in propelling the Starbucks mission — “empowering partners and delighting customers, globally.”

Before joining Starbucks in 2015, Martin-Flickinger was senior vice president and CIO at Adobe, where she led portions of its technology transformation to a cloud-based subscription services business. Previously, she served as CIO at Verisign, McAfee, and Network Associates and held numerous senior leadership roles at Chevron, where she began her career.

Martin-Flickinger currently sits on Charles Schwab’s board of directors and serves as a member of Arizona State University’s Fulton School of Engineering Advisory Board, Sierra Ventures’ CIO Advisory Board, and The Wall Street Journal CIO Network.

In her conversation with hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh, Gerri recaps a decades-spanning career working in technology leadership roles at Chevron, McAfee, and Adobe, then explains some recent employee- and customer-facing projects Starbucks has undertaken using AI and machine learning.

Barbara Martin Coppola, IKEA Retail

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The global furniture retailer uses AI for customer-facing and back-of-house applications, as well as increasing customer engagement.

Drawing on previous experience working in nine countries for organizations like Google and Samsung, Barbara Martin Coppola joined IKEA Retail as its chief digital officer to oversee the furniture retailer’s digital transformation, improve its customer experience, and foster the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

Barbara Martin Coppola is the chief digital officer for Ingka Group (IKEA), the world’s largest home furnishings retailer.

Martin Coppola started her career with IKEA in 2018 and has overall responsibility for leading the company’s digital technology capabilities and transformation. She has over 20 years of experience in the technology sector and has lived and worked in more than nine countries. Before joining IKEA, she held leading positions in several global businesses, including Google, YouTube, Samsung, and Texas Instruments.

Martin Coppola holds a master of science degree in telecommunications engineering from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, a master of science in mobile communications from Télécom Paris, and an MBA in business administration and management from INSEAD. She is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh speak with Barbara about how she empowers cross-functional collaboration and “testing, and iterating, and trying, failing, and starting again” to realize successful technology projects. She also shares the context behind some recent customer-facing AI tools the company has launched to assist customers through the buying process and free up front-line workers to focus on customer engagement instead of operational tasks.

Sidney Madison Prescott, Spotify

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The streaming service’s global head of intelligent automation explains how technology helps employees make use of vast amounts of customer data.

After earning her undergraduate degree in philosophy, political science, and ethics, with aspirations to become a lawyer, Sidney Madison Prescott was drawn to technology jobs that specifically emphasized data quality and governance. In 2020, she joined music streaming service Spotify as the global head of intelligent process automation, where she uses robotic process automation to automate tasks and free up workers to focus on higher-value-added and more creative work. For Sidney and her team at Spotify, AI and machine learning are not tools to replace jobs; they enable humans and machines to work together for increased efficiency and productivity.

Sidney Madison Prescott is a keynote speaker, author, and robotics evangelist specializing in the creation of robotic process automation centers of excellence for Fortune 250 companies. She heads up the Global Intelligent Automation initiative at music streaming powerhouse Spotify. In August 2021, she received her Master of Business Administration as a part of the country’s first Executive Women’s MBA cohort at Brenau University.

Madison Prescott is also coauthor of the book Robotic Process Automation Using UiPath StudioX: A Citizen Developer’s Guide to Hyperautomation (Apress, 2021), which explains how to build robots using real-world prototypes.

In the final episode of Season 3 of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Sidney joins hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh to share her views on automation, augmentation, and fostering engineering talent.

Season 4

Mark Maybury, Stanley Black & Decker

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

At Stanley Black & Decker, innovation with AI ranges from robotic process automation to virtual assistants.

Stanley Black & Decker is best known as the manufacturer of tools for home improvement projects, but it also makes products the average consumer seldom notices, like fasteners to keep car parts secure and the electronic doors typically used at retail stores. Me, Myself, and AI podcast hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh sat down with Mark Maybury, the company’s first chief technology officer, to learn how artificial intelligence factors into this 179-year-old brand’s story.

As Stanley Black & Decker’s CTO, Mark Maybury manages a team across the company’s businesses and functions, advises on technological threats and opportunities, and provides access to all elements of the global technology ecosystem.

Previously, Maybury spent 27 years at The Mitre Corporation, where he held a variety of strategic technology roles, including vice president of intelligence portfolios and chief security officer. Before joining Mitre, he was an officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he also served as chief scientist from 2010 to 2013.

Maybury is on the Defense Science Board and the Connecticut Science Center Board and served on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee for several years. He is a fellow in IEEE and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence. Maybury has a doctorate degree in AI from Cambridge University.

During their conversation, Mark described how categorizing the technology-infused innovation projects he leads across the company into six levels, ranging from incremental improvements to radical innovations, helps Stanley Black & Decker balance its product development portfolio. He also shared some insights for organizations thinking about responsible AI guidelines and discussed how Stanley Black & Decker is increasing its focus on sustainability.

Sanjay Nichani, Peloton Interactive

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

How the fitness brand uses AI and computer vision to help people stay healthy.

Consumers have invited AI into their lives with voice-activated personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, but how do they feel about computer vision technologies that can provide visual coaching and feedback in their homes? Sanjay Nichani, vice president of artificial intelligence and computer vision at Peloton Interactive, describes one compelling use case in the at-home fitness space.

Sanjay Nichani is vice president of artificial intelligence and computer vision at Peloton Interactive. In that role, he leads an AI/computer vision team focused on human pose estimation, activity recognition, and movement-tracking technologies for the fitness domain. He also leads the ongoing development of Peloton Guide, a new camera-based interactive strength-training product.

Previously, Nichani was vice president of the computer vision and machine learning team at Acuant, working on document forensics technologies for detecting fraud. Before that, he was vice president of the Mitek Labs R&D group, where he led the development of a deep learning-based image-processing pipeline for identity verification. He also founded 3D sensor technology company Merakona and cofounded Pelfunc, developer of a photo-sharing app/service. He has advanced degrees in business from Babson College and computer science from the University of South Florida.

Sanjay joins hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh in this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast to discuss how the company best known for its bikes and treadmills relied on AI and computer vision to develop Peloton Guide, a new offering that uses AI to coach at-home participants through strength-focused workouts. He also describes how Peloton approaches developing new technology-infused products with user experience and data privacy in mind, and outlines what he looks for in technical talent.

Katia Walsh, Levi Strauss & Co.

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The chief global strategy and AI officer explains how the clothing company’s machine learning boot camp is driving employee skills and innovation.

Katia Walsh began her career as a journalist in her native Bulgaria and is now the global chief strategy and AI officer at retailer Levi Strauss & Co. Over the course of her career, she has developed a passion for three things: the power of information, the power of technology, and the power of machine learning. Her enthusiasm for these subjects is evident as she describes how she is ensuring that a well-known legacy clothing brand remains relevant through technological transformation.

Katia Walsh is senior vice president and chief global strategy and AI officer at Levi Strauss & Co., where she focuses on setting the clothing company’s holistic digital and corporate strategy. Previously, she was the first chief global data and analytics officer of Vodafone Group and held strategic data analytics leadership positions at Prudential Financial, Fidelity Investments, and Forrester Research. Walsh was named the U.K.’s Data Leader of the Year for three consecutive years by the Women in IT Awards series. She holds a doctoral degree in strategic communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Katia explains how she has organized digital transformation and employee engagement at Levi Strauss around five C’s: connections with consumers, commerce, creation, careers, and culture. She also describes the machine learning boot camps the retailer has offered to nontech employees to boost innovation and outlines how the company thinks about responsible AI practices.

Kobi Abayomi, Warner Music Group

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The music entertainment company’s head of data science explains how his team is leveraging AI to help customers continually discover new songs and artists.

Specialized teams — particularly technology teams — often face challenges as they strive to work cross-functionally, especially at legacy organizations. For Kobi Abayomi, vice president of data science at Warner Music Group, addressing such challenges starts with hiring strong talent into the technology function.

Kobi Abayomi is the senior vice president for data science at Warner Music Group, where he and his team enable the company to understand, respond to, and predict trends and opportunities in listening.

Abayomi has authored novel work in statistics (multivariate data imputation), econometrics (measures of inequality), and probability (distributions with fixed marginal and information theoretic measures) and has two patents pending in fraud detection and audience activation. Abayomi serves on the Data Science Advisory Council at Seton Hall University and on the Ivan Allen College Advisory Board at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Kobi joins hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh to explain how the music company is moving its infrastructure into the digital era, how it leverages vast amounts of consumer data to make informed decisions in an increasingly challenging landscape, and how AI is helping customers discover new music they’ll love.

Ya Xu, LinkedIn

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The online networking platform has three primary marketplace functions, all of which depend on data and technology.

Over the course of her nine-year tenure at LinkedIn, Ya Xu has held technology roles with increasing responsibility. Today, she heads the data function for the online professional networking platform.

Ya Xu has been a driving force in transforming LinkedIn into a data-first company since she first joined the organization in 2013. As head of data, she leads a global team of about 1,000 data scientists and AI engineers whose work is at the core of delivering economic opportunities to LinkedIn’s members and customers. Xu’s emphasis on responsible AI and data science ensures that LinkedIn’s AI systems put people first and enables the company to empower its members, better serve its customers, and benefit society.

In addition to her work at LinkedIn, Xu has coauthored the book Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments (Cambridge University Press, 2020), has been named to Fortune’s 40 under 40 in tech, and was nominated for VentureBeat’s Women in AI Awards. She has delivered countless speeches, including a commencement speech to Stanford’s class of 2019 in mathematics, statistics, and mathematical and computational science. Previously, Xu worked at Microsoft and earned a Ph.D. in statistics from Stanford University.

Ya joins hosts Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh in this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, where she discusses AI’s essential role in helping LinkedIn create the best “matches” — content creators with content consumers, job seekers with employers, and buyers with sellers — within its three key marketplaces. Ya also describes how the company has fostered a data-first culture from the top down, and how its vast amount of economic activity data is helping governments and policy makers worldwide.

Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov, eBay

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The e-commerce platform’s chief AI officer brings a neuroscience background to online retail.

EBay is familiar as an e-commerce site that facilitates transactions between buyers and sellers. But as eBay’s first chief AI officer, Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov is focused on the role artificial intelligence technology can play in enhancing the user experience for everyone who engages with the platform.

Nitzan Mekel-Bobrov is chief AI officer at eBay. He leads the company’s vision and strategy for transforming how it delivers value to sellers and buyers around the globe through AI-led experiences, such as semantic recommenders, reasoning systems, visual understanding, and immersive visual experiences. Mekel-Bobrov has led the AI organizations at some of the largest brands in health care, financial services, and e-commerce, spanning AI science, engineering, and product development. He holds a doctorate in computational genomics and a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Chicago.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Nitzan shares examples of the AI tools eBay is building, such as a 3D visualization tool for sellers create their own models, and intent detection tools to enhance customer service. He also discusses his academic background in biology and neuroscience, his purposeful progression from health care to financial services to online travel and finally to e-commerce, and the challenges of scaling up AI capabilities organizationwide to drive transformational value.

Helen H. Lee, Boeing

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The aircraft manufacturer is exploring using artificial intelligence to improve air traffic communications, quality control, and the in-flight experience.

As Boeing China’s regional director of airspace and airport programs, Helen Lee is helping the aerospace giant work toward improving airport and airspace operational efficiency and enhancing flight safety for its aviation customers. In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Helen discusses ongoing research that involves using AI to analyze the wake turbulence of aircraft with computer vision systems, using speech recognition to analyze interactions between pilots and air controllers to minimize the potential for human error, and using image recognition to scan planes for needed repairs. Helen also talks about the challenges of implementing such technology across a complex industry in which there’s no tolerance for error and systems must be impenetrable to hackers.

Helen H. Lee is responsible for managing and coordinating Boeing’s airport, airspace, and air traffic management programs in the Greater China region. She also initiates and provides technical guidance and insight to related programs in the region. She is the first China-based employee to be selected as a Boeing Technical Fellow, the company’s most elite team of technical experts.

Previously, Lee served as air traffic management (ATM) research lead for Boeing Research & Technology-China, where she planned and managed all ATM-related research projects involving Chinese domestic research partners. Before joining Boeing, she was a senior consultant at Boeing Jeppesen Airspace and Airport Services Group, where she led a project team that provided simulation and consulting services in support of major airport and airspace modernization efforts worldwide. Lee earned a doctoral degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Minnesota.

Sowmya Gottipati, Estée Lauder

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

Artificial intelligence enables customers to try on cosmetics and even find a new favorite fragrance virtually.

It might seem like cosmetics and perfume are products shoppers need to try out in person before buying, but artificial intelligence is opening up new avenues for reaching and understanding consumers — as well as new ways to manage supply chains.

In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, we learn how Estée Lauder’s Sowmya Gottipati leveraged her earlier technology leadership experience in telecommunications and broadcast media to deploy brand technology projects for a portfolio of cosmetics, fragrances, and skin and hair care product brands. She talks about AI’s role in product development, a virtual try-on tool for lipsticks and foundations, and a fragrance recommendation engine, as well as an application for supply and demand planning. Sowmya also explains why, despite AI’s power, she believes human-machine interaction will always be necessary.

Sowmya Gottipati is an accomplished business and technology leader who has managed and delivered products across the telecom, media, and retail industries. She is currently vice president of global supply chain technology at Estée Lauder, leading digital transformation and providing oversight of all technology solutions globally. Previously, she was the company’s vice president of technology in the capacity of brand CIO.

Before joining Estée Lauder, Gottipati was vice president of digital and emerging technologies at NBCUniversal. She also served as a technology leader at AT&T, where she managed and delivered products in data, web, mobile, and cloud services. Gottipati has a master’s degree in engineering from North Carolina State University and MBA from Columbia Business School, as well as a private pilot license.

Season 5

Frank O. Nestle, Sanofi

Sam Ransbotham and Shervin Khodabandeh

The pharmaceutical company uses automation to enable more efficient drug discovery processes for vaccine development.

Frank Nestle, Sanofi’s global head of research and chief scientific officer, was inspired to enter the health sciences field after reading an Albert Camus novel and realizing his calling was to help others. In his current role, Frank oversees the pharmaceutical company’s transition from primary care to specialty care, which includes developing medicines for immunology, oncology, and rare diseases. In this episode of the Me, Myself, and AI podcast, Frank explains how artificial intelligence enables Sanofi to work toward drug discovery in more agile ways.

Dr. Frank O. Nestle is global head of research and chief scientific officer at Sanofi, with responsibility for its main therapeutic research areas of immunology and inflammation, oncology, neurology, rare diseases, hematology, and genomic medicine. Before joining Sanofi in 2016, Nestle was a professor and chair of cutaneous medicine and immunotherapy at King’s College London and practiced medicine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital. At King’s College, he led research, translational clinical trials, and teams in dermatology, allergology, and immunology. He also held several executive roles, in particular at the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Center.

Nestle is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, a senior investigator emeritus at the National Institute for Health Research, and past president of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. He has published over 220 scientific articles and has received several awards and honors, including the Alfred Marchionini Research Award at the 20th World Congress of Dermatology.