Keynote Speakers & Judges
Ayan Bhattacharya is a Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting focused on Artificial Intelligence and digital transformation. Ayan works with the C-suite to adopt AI into Enterprise and drive data product evolution, including ML-Ops, LLMs into their workflows to drive digital transformation. Prior to Deloitte in 2016, Ayan led client engagements and go to market efforts at IBM Watson at Fortune 100 clients globally and has served cross-industry Fortune 250 clients with AI over the last decade.
Prior to management consulting, Ayan led commercialization strategy at leading information data companies between 2006 - 2012. As a Director at Thomson Reuters and Reed Elsevier, Ayan led corporate strategy, M&A for data analytics and accelerated commercializing digital workflow solutions to knowledge workers in Finance, Legal, Tax and Scientific Research.
Vivek Anand is a seasoned Operations Research professional with over a decade of experience applying Analytics and Optimization techniques to solving business problems pertaining to Pricing, Price Optimization, Revenue Optimization, Inventory Optimization, Finance, and FinTech. Vivek currently works as a Director of Advanced Analytics at a Fortune 500 Fashion retailer, where his team leverages Analytics and Operations Research to optimize business outcomes related to inventory and pricing.
In the past, Vivek has consulted multiple billion dollar organizations (including Fortune 50 companies) on successfully leveraging pricing, price/revenue optimization and analytics; resulting in both top-line and bottom-line growth and hundreds of basis points of margin improvement.
Vivek has a Master’s degree in Operations Research from Columbia University, NY and a BS-MS Dual degree in Mathematics from IISER Pune, India.
Kendall Drew is a Consulting Solutions Director at Microsoft. In this role, she leads a team to shape and deliver consulting solutions for U.S. enterprise customers. She joined Microsoft in 2017 as a Business Intelligence Technical Specialist, where she worked with customers to adopt Microsoft’s business intelligence products. Prior to Microsoft, Kendall led product and engineering teams as the Director of Business Systems for Levy Restaurants, a $2B+ subsidiary of Compass Group. Kendall is passionate about her customers and using technology to help them solve real world business problems.
Kendall holds a BS in Industrial Engineering and Economics from Northwestern University and an MBA from Cornell Tech, the NYC graduate school of Cornell University.
Mr. Elbert has worked with big data for over 20 years. From calculating financial risk for Salomon Brothers to tracking the movements of millions of items across the supply chain for major brands, Mr. Elbert has innovatively pushed the frontiers of data analysis. Over the course of the last decade, Mr. Elbert served as a Head of Data Science at innovative startups Gilt.com, Finery, and CB Insights.
Sam Meldrum has a background in both business and technology. With over 15 years of experience in the industry, he has developed a deep understanding of how technology can be leveraged to drive business growth and success.
Throughout his career, Sam has worked with a range of companies to develop and implement data-driven commercial strategies. He has extensive experience in the use of data to develop predictive models and gain insights into customer behavior.
Sam's expertise in technology has also been a key asset to the companies he has worked with. He has a strong understanding of the latest tools and technologies, including cloud computing, data warehousing, and data visualization tools.
In his current role as the Global Client Director at Salesforce Sam works directly with one of the most strategic customers in the Health and Life Science space. Sam is responsible for developing solutions to support their commercial projects globally.
Throughout his career, Sam has demonstrated a strong commitment to delivering high-quality work and providing excellent service to his clients. He is a highly motivated and driven individual who thrives in fast-paced, dynamic environments.
Samuel holds a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware, and a Master's degree in Business Administration from Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business.
Annette Nielsen, MA is the Executive Director of the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center. Until recently, she led the New York City office for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Her role representing the Department provided a touchpoint for the agricultural and food industries in the greater metropolitan area, while supporting efforts across the state to build food systems and resiliency. Beyond working to extend access to healthful, farm-sourced food for all New Yorkers, her portfolio included facilitating the Commissioner’s statewide Community Gardens Task Force and the Procurement Advisory Group.
Annette’s work as an award-winning food writer has appeared in national publications such as Adirondack Life, Eating Well, Edible, The Hill Rag, The NYC Food Policy Center, The Washington Post, and the Saratogian. She has served as a board member for the New York City Nutrition Education Network and Sidewalk Samaritan, is a member of the Food-Ed Steering Committee and the Policy Committee for the Food Ed Coalition at the Tisch Center for Food, Education; Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University, and the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. She was appointed to NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ Transition Team for Food Policy and received the 2022 Food-Ed Coalition Outstanding Coalition Member award.
Nneka Penniston has worked in business analytics for over 15 years in various industries including, healthcare, education, financial, and most recently pharmaceutical. Nneka is currently a data science Sr. Manager at Bristol Myers Squibb. Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, she lent digital engagement support to the financial sector within search, live agents, and chatbots. For the past four years, Nneka worked as an adjunct faculty at Columbia University for the M.S in Applied Analytics program. She loves fashion; in her free time she teaches coding to young people with interest in fashion by using fashion datasets. Nneka received a BS in Statistics from Hunter College and M.S in Business Analytics from NYU Stern School of Business.
Abhi Sawhney is an analytics and data science leader with experience building teams and delivering actionable insights across startups, big tech, and consulting. He was most recently the Global Head of Business Insights and Analytics at JioSaavn, a music streaming service. Prior to this, Abhi worked in analytics at Amazon and Deloitte. He has a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Duke.
Swapnil Srivastava currently serves as the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Analytics at Evalueserve. A research-oriented data science leader with over 15 years of experience in analytics consulting, strategy development, and financial research, he helps clients leverage data and analytics to achieve strategic organizational objectives such as revenue and margin improvement, operations, and asset utilization optimization, establishing analytics centers of excellence and accelerating digital transformation. He has experience managing large data science teams across the US, Chile, Europe, China, and India. A recipient of the “40 Under 40 Data Scientist” award from Analytics India Magazine in 2021, Swapnil is also a member of the Forbes Technology Council, and a published author in Dataversity, VentureBeat, among other reputable publications. Swapnil joined the team at Evalueserve in 2015 and has since facilitated the building of a multi-disciplinary team of domain SMEs, data architects, data engineers, data scientists, and technology experts making Evalueserve an end-to-end analytics partner for its clients. This has led to exponential growth for the practice in terms of team size, revenue, and geographical presence. In his past endeavors, he has worked at Ernst & Young and Mu Sigma and consulted with multiple F500 firms on analytics assignments across various domains.
Paul Thompson is the VP, Industry Strategy for Health Plans. In this role, he is responsible for the formation and execution of DXC Technology’s Commercial Health Plan segment vision through technology innovation and implementation, and strategy execution. Prior to assuming this role, Paul was the Chief Revenue Officer and Industry Sales Leader for the Health and Life Sciences Group. His focus was on aligning the broad capabilities of DXC Technology to address healthcare industry needs. He also managed strategic partnerships and identified business development opportunities. Paul also served as Chief Strategy Officer for DXC Technology/Hewlett Packard Health and Life Sciences Group. Before joining DXC Technology, he was the Vice President of product development for Clinical Cost and Quality Improvement at Cigna. Paul was responsible for driving the development of member engagement programs designed to reduce medical costs and improve health outcomes. He also served as a regional director of underwriting for Commercial Healthcare products in 15 markets across the United States. Previously, Paul was with Aetna for 14 years in a variety of leadership roles including healthcare sales and underwriting, investment management/product development, and internal audit and investigation. He graduated from Fairfield University with a BA in economics and from University of Connecticut with an MBA in marketing/finance. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for University of Connecticut Venture and Technology Incubator. Paul serves as a Commissioner on the Town of Wethersfield Planning and Zoning Commission and is a Special Olympics Tennis coach.
Craig Willingham is an expert in food policy and currently serves as the Managing Director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute. Craig's work at the Institute involves leading strategic planning and research agendas, overseeing operations, and collaborating with partners to develop research and policy recommendations aimed at advancing equity in the food system. Prior to joining the Institute, Craig worked at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), helping to oversee a variety of food access and food retail public health interventions. He has also served as a Board Member for the Corbin Hill Food Project, participated as part of the Food Policy Transition Team for New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and currently teaches Food Policy at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. Craig is also the co-author of over a dozen academic papers and reports on food policy.