Creating Effective Data Science Presentations with Rachel Fojtik – Director of Analytics and Performance

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Rachel Fojtik is an Experienced Senior leader in Analytics, influencing change in behaviour, company culture, and improvement with analytics. Managing high performing teams that deliver across a myriad of knowledge areas. She is passionate about delivering information that sees results, using collaborative design and development. A demonstrated history of setting up teams that deliver end to end business intelligence implementations. Cross-industry experience in healthcare, telecommunications, the financial services industry, travel and tourism, and energy.

In this episode, Rachel explains how she started in travel and tourism rather than data science. She did a couple of short stints in building databases; this is where she realized her interest in numbers. Her passion for data grew from the excitement when her director realized the profitability of their company just by changing a particular practice. In Rachel’s roles, she got heavily involved in financial performance metrics, employee’s quality of work, and HR. Plus, Rachel explains the difference between working with the management director vs. operational work.  

Then, Rachel discusses how she loves working stuff out and finding her way around something to make it the most efficient. You shouldn’t start with the constraints in front of you, take them off the table, and find the best way to do it. Do not just go for the easiest route, find a better way, and improve on it. Also, Rachel touches on ensuring a presentation is well put together to win over the trust of others. Make sure it is consistent, easy to digest, and professional looking. This will lower the barriers and make the message a lot more accessible. When you are building a dashboard, you are building it for multiple users, so it is challenging to create a story; however, it should still be well presented to highlight what you are getting at. Later, Rachel discusses the role of a product manager, organic governance in the workplace, and her role as Director of Analytics and Performance. 

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

  • [01:15] How Rachel started in the data space

  • [08:40] The motivation behind Rachel’s trailblazing  

  • [11:30] The metrics Rachel was helping optimize 

  • [14:10] Working with the management director vs. operational work

  • [16:45] Data matching at Diner’s Club  

  • [22:15] Using a minimalist view 

  • [24:45] Find the best way – don’t just stick with what you know  

  • [28:45] If something is well presented, it is more likely to be trusted 

  • [35:00] What is a product manager? 

  • [42:50] An organic governance in the workplace 

  • [46:15] Rachel’s role as Director of Analytics and Performance  

  • [53:00] Building and working on a network  

  • [54:10] Do what you’re passionate about


Rachel’s LinkedIn:


  • “I created an input tool where a user could design the layout of their input form.”

  • “I’ve always tried to go with a minimalist view.”

  • “If your presentation is way too busy, it is difficult to take a story from that information.”

  • “Consider where the eye goes first when creating a presentation.”

Rachel Fojtik is based in Brisbane, Australia.

And as always, we appreciate your Reviews, Follows, Likes, Shares and Ratings. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy the show!

#69 Creating Cultural Transformations Using Data Science Leaders with Bülent Kiziltan – Head of Data Science & Analytics and Chief Data Scientist

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Dr. Bülent Kiziltan is an AI executive and an accomplished scientist who uses artificial intelligence to create value in many business verticals and tackles diverse problems in disciplines ranging from the financial industry, healthcare, astrophysics, operations research, marketing, biology, engineering, hardware design, digital platforms, to art. He has worked at Harvard, NASA, and MIT in close collaboration with pioneers of their respective fields. In the past 15+ years, he has led data-driven efforts in R&D and built multifaceted strategies for the industry. He has been a data science leader at Harvard and the Head of Deep Learning at Aetna leading and mentoring more than 200 scientists. 

In this episode, Bülent opens up the show discussing his background at places like Harvard, MIT, and NASA. Then, he explains his transition from astrophysics to business. He was intimately aware of the basic processes and procedures you use to extract information from data. The culture change was the biggest challenge of the transition. Business people are hesitant to work with people who are primarily familiar with academia. They tend to want a business veteran who has been in the business industry for ten or fifteen years. Bülent sees job descriptions which have a requirement of fifteen years of experience in data science, he believes this does not exist. People who have expertise in data science, they should have an academic background. 

Data leaders want to drive decisions and have informative interactions with your team members. If you a hard time understanding the ins and outs of different models, it will create an environment that does not make the technical team very happy. From a retention perspective, it will create a challenge for the company. Retention is a significant cost for the organization, having a meaningful conversation with leaders is one way to improve retention. If you approach data science in a limited fashion, you will go after the low hanging fruit and will miss on building internal strategies. Later, Bülent gives recommendations for implementing a culture in the workplace, explains how a leader should balance priorities, and the nuances of hierarchy in the startup space.

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

  • [02:00] Bülent’s background

  • [05:50] The transition from astrophysics to business 

  • [08:45] Data leaders need technical experience 

  • [12:45] Academics still need soft skills 

  • [19:20] What data science can offer organizations 

  • [23:50] Addressing causal inferences

  • [25:30] Recommendations for implementing culture in the workplace 

  • [30:00] How a leader should balance priorities  

  • [36:10] Challenges Bülent currently faces in the industry  

  • [38:15] Hierarchy in the startup space

  • [40:45] What Bülent loves about data science 

  • [42:45] Future data challenges   


Bülent’s Website:

Bülent’s LinkedIn:


  • “Culturally, I was surprised by the mindset of business leaders.”

  • “We asked individual members of the data science group to come up with their own ideas that can be implemented in the day-to-day business operations.”

  • “A diverse team is critically important for the business.”

  • “All companies will become AI companies in one way or another.”

Bülent Kiziltan is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

And as always, we appreciate your Reviews, Follows, Likes, Shares and Ratings. Thank you so much for listening. Enjoy the show!