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 Dean Abbott

Dean Abbott

Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist



Dean Abbott is Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist of SmarterHQ, and President of Abbott Analytics, Inc. in San Diego, California. Mr. Abbott is an internationally recognized data mining and predictive analytics expert with over two decades of experience applying advanced data mining algorithms, data preparation techniques, and data visualization methods to real-world problems, including fraud detection, risk modeling, text mining, personality assessment, response modeling, survey analysis, planned giving, and predictive toxicology.

Mr. Abbott is the author of Applied Predictive Analytics (Wiley, 2014) and co-author of IBM SPSS Modeler Cookbook (Packt Publishing, 2013). He is a highly-regarded and popular speaker at Predictive Analytics and Data Mining conferences and meetups, and is on the Advisory Boards for the UC/Irvine Predictive Analytics Certificate as well as the UCSD Data Mining Certificate programs.

He has a B.S. in Mathematics of Computation from Rensselaer (1985) and a Master of Applied Mathematics from the University of Virginia (1987).

Session: When Model Interpretation Matters: Understanding Complex Predictive Models

 Feyzi Bagirov

Feyzi Bagirov

Data Science Advisor at and Analytics Instructor, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

Mr. Feyzi R. Bagirov is a Data Science Advisor at and an Analytics Instructor at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.

Mr. Bagirov has an extensive experience as an online educator, developing and teaching courses on Data Science, Data Analytics, Game Analytics and Data Mining subjects in a number of online undergraduate and graduate programs. He has participated in the creation of the graduate Master of Science in Data Analytics at the University of Maryland University College, and was a Founding Director of an undergraduate program (Bachelor of Science in Data Science) at Becker College.

Mr. Bagirov is a former US Marine. For the past 4 years, Mr. Bagirov worked on various analytical and educational projects and startups in the United States and overseas (Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Senegal and Mozambique). In addition, he is the founder of the Big Data Behavioral Analytics Boston meet-up.

He holds a bachelor's degree in international economics from Azerbaijan University in Baku, Azerbaijan, and an MBA with a focus in entrepreneurship from Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.

Session: Use Case: Enhancing the Quality of Predictive Modeling on College Enrollment

 Aaron Burciaga

Aaron Burciaga

Advanced Analytics Executive


Aaron Burciaga is a Certified Analytics Professional an Analytics Executive at Accenture LLP – he leads Accenture’s Advanced Analytics Applications Platform in North America and is also the Global Defense Analytics Lead. Aaron is also Reserve Marine Officer supporting the CIO Headquarters Marine Corps-Pentagon and is a veteran of the Iraq War (Fallujah, Operation Iraqi Freedom). His technical interests are at the crossroads of advanced analytics, global logistics, and information management (\"Internet of Things\" (IoT) / \"Big Data\" / \"Data Science\"). M.S. in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School and a B.S. from the United States Naval Academy.

Session: Case Study: Provoking Innovation On the Edge of Business with Analytics

 Nery Castillo-McIntyre

Nery Castillo-McIntyre

Senior Workforce Analytics Analyst

CSAA Insurance Group

An attorney by license, data analyst by trade, and writer by vocation, Nery was first introduced to the field of predictive analytics through a number of guest columns that attempted to predict match outcomes on the basis of fighters' historical statistical data for his mixed martial arts blog in Spanish. Not long after, Nery started learning analytics in earnest, contributing to the winning entry to CrowdANALYTIX's employee attrition competition, which led to a role as HR Reporting Analyst at SanDisk and Sr. HRIS Analyst at Western Digital. He is currently a Senior Workforce Analytics Analyst at CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer.

Session: The Hero with a Thousand Faces: Data Science and Storytelling

 Menghan Chen

Menghan Chen

People Data Scientist


Menghan Chen is a People Data Scientist at Twitter, where her primary role is using statistical analysis to uncover employee insights for making effective data-based people decisions. Her work focuses on conducting predictive analytics in areas such as employee attrition, engagement, performance/productivity. Menghan earned her MS in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University and BS in Mathematics and Statistics at University of Washington and. Her areas of expertise include exploratory data analysis, statistical models, data mining, data cleaning, survival analysis, model validation and database management.

Session: Yin-Yang: Statistical Modeling to Predict Attrition and Productivity/Output Metrics

 Subhadra Dutta

Subhadra Dutta

People Science Manager


Subhadra Dutta, PhD, leads the People Science team at Twitter, with primary focus on assessments, employee surveys, analytics, and research. Subhadra and her team are responsible for measuring, understanding, and predicting employee behavior across the employee life-cycle ranging from selection, engagement, competency frameworks, performance, to attrition. Before Twitter, she worked with various companies across India and the U.S., such as PepsiCo, Molina Healthcare, and Infosys Leadership Institute working on their engagement surveys, analytics, assessments and talent management.

She has a Ph.D. and Masters in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Central Michigan University, and a Masters in Organizational Behavior from Delhi University. Subhadra is an active and participating member of SIOP and a member of Community of Organizational Sciences in India (COSI).

Session: Yin-Yang: Statistical Modeling to Predict Attrition and Productivity/Output Metrics

Dr. John Elder

Dr. John Elder

Founder & Chair

Elder Research


John Elder chairs America's most experienced Data Science consultancy. Founded in 1995, Elder Research has offices in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Washington DC. Dr. Elder co-authored 3 award-winning books on analytics, was a discoverer of ensemble methods, chairs international conferences, and is a popular keynote speaker. John is occasionally an Adjunct Professor of Systems Engineering at the University of Virginia, and was named by President Bush to serve 5 years on a panel to guide technology for national security.

Session: What to Optimize? The Heart of Every Analytics Problem

 Eric J. Felsberg

Eric J. Felsberg

Principal, Long Island Office

Jackson Lewis P.C.

ERIC J. FELSBERG is a Principal in the Long Island, New York office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and the National Director of JL Data Analytics Group.

As the National Director of JL Data Analytics Group, Mr. Felsberg leads a team of multidisciplinary lawyers, statisticians, data scientists, and analysts with decades of experience managing the interplay of data analytics and the law. Under Mr. Felsberg's leadership, the Data Analytics Group applies proprietary algorithms and state-of-the-art modeling techniques to help employers evaluate risk and drive legal strategy.

In addition to other services, the team offers talent analytics for recruitment, workforce management and equity and policy assessments through predictive modeling, partners with employers in the design of data-driven solutions that comply with applicable workplace law, manages and synthesizes large data sets from myriad sources into analyzable formats, provides compliance assessment and litigation support services including damage calculations, risk assessments, and selection decision analyses, and offers strategic labor relations assistance including determination of long term costs of collective bargaining agreements, review of compliance with collectively bargained compensation plans and assessment of the efficacy of training programs. The JL Data Analytics Group designs its service delivery models to maximize the protections afforded by the attorney-client and other privileges.

Mr. Felsberg also provides training and daily counsel to employers in various industries on day-to-day employment issues and the range of federal, state, and local affirmative action compliance obligations. Mr. Felsberg works closely with employers to prepare affirmative action plans for submission to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) during which he analyzes and investigates personnel selection and compensation systems. Mr. Felsberg has successfully represented employers during OFCCP compliance reviews, OFCCP individual complaint investigations, and in matters involving OFCCP claims of class-based discrimination. He regularly evaluates and counsels employers regarding compensation systems both proactively as well as in response to complaints and enforcement actions.

Mr. Felsberg is an accomplished and recognized speaker on issues of workplace analytics and affirmative action compliance.

While at Hofstra University School of Law, Mr. Felsberg served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Hofstra Labor & Employment Law Journal.

Diamond Sponsor Keynote: Legal and Ethical Issues when using Predictive Analytics for Talent Acquisition

 Hai Harari

Hai Harari

Director, Talent Intelligence and Analytics


Hai Harari is the Head of Talent Competitive Intelligence at Intel. He is leading a global organization of researchers, conducting external markets analyses, business-focused researches and people analytics. His organization charter is to drive strategies and impactful decisions via intelligence in order to grow and protect the company's most important asset - its talent.

During his 15 years HR career, Hai conducted several global HR management roles, including Systems Implementation, Projects Management, Businesses Transformation, Talent Acquisition, Marketing & Branding, Market Research and Talent Analytics. Hai has a B.Sc. in Industrial & Information Systems Engineering and did his Executives MBA, specializing in Management Technologies. Prior to Hai's HR career, he served the Israeli military for several years as a Captain, commanding the Navy Medical School.

Session: How HR can take a giant leap via Artificial Intelligence

 Serena Huang

Serena Huang

Leader of People Analytics and HR Operations

GE Transportation

Dr. Serena Huang is currently the Leader of People Analytics and HR Operations at GE Transportation in Chicago. She partners with senior HR executives to develop data-driven talent strategies and provides consultative services to the C-suite. She is responsible for leading the use of people and financial data to optimize the decision-making process. This includes the development of new predictive modeling algorithms to make decisions, as well as integrating internal and external data that improves predictive modeling results and ultimately business decisions.

Prior to joining GE, Dr. Huang spent 4 years in consulting and assisted clients across diverse industries with data-driven business strategies. She advised Fortune 100 clients on large mergers & acquisitions and restructuring efforts as well as labor & employment matters. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics with specializations in Labor Economics and Econometrics from the University of Kansas. 

Session: Predicting and Improving Employee Performance

 Sue Lam

Sue Lam

HR Diagnostics Manager


Sue is responsible for employee surveys and leadership assessments at Shell. In collaboration with HR Analytics, her team supports colleagues in the business and HR in the delivery of their strategy and objectives. Throughout her career, she has designed and managed selection assessments, conducted HR and human capital management (HCM) best practices and benchmarking and academic research for Psychology Beyond Borders, UC Irvine and UCLA. She has used her expertise in statistical analysis and quantitative and qualitative research to help organizations increase their ability to compete in today's unpredictable global market.

Sue holds BAs in psychology and history from UCLA, as well as a Ph.D. in social/personality psychology and quantitative methods and a Masters in social ecology from UC Irvine. She is certified as a PHR and SHRM-CP.

Session: Using Analytics in Recruitment to Identify Improvement Opportunities

 Haig Nalbantian

Haig Nalbantian

Senior Partner, Co-leader Mercer Workforce Sciences Institute


Haig R. Nalbantian is a Senior Partner at Mercer and a founder/leader of Mercer's Workforce Sciences Institute. A labor /organizational economist, he has been instrumental in developing Mercer's unique capability to measure the economic impact of human capital practices. Those capabilities have been applied in numerous projects he has directed for leading companies in the U.S. and abroad across a broad range of industries, including energy, high technology, manufacturing, consumer products, financial services, media and information services, telecommunications, and professional services. He has also consulted to organizations in the public and not-for-profit sectors. In recent years, Haig has worked extensively with high-profile organizations in the Middle East, with particular focus on strategic workforce planning, workforce strategies and metrics.

Haig came to Mercer from National Economic Research Associates which he joined in 1989. Earlier, he was on the faculty of economics at New York University and was a research scientist at its C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics. He is an internationally recognized expert in incentives, human capital measurement and management and their links to organizational performance. He has published widely on these topics in books and articles in leading academic and professional journals, such as the American Economic Review, The Journal of Labor Economics, The Harvard Business Review, Compensation and Benefits Review, WorldatWork, among many others. His HBR article, "Making Mobility Matter," received the Academy of Management's 2010 award for "Outstanding Practitioner-oriented Publication" in 2009.

Nalbantian co-authored the prize-winning book on human capital measurement and management, Play to Your Strengths (McGraw Hill, 2004). He is also editor of and chief contributor to the book, Incentives, Cooperation and Risk Sharing and is a frequent speaker before industry groups, professional associations and academic audiences across the globe. He led the research team and co-authored the 2012 World Economic Forum/Mercer study of global talent mobility, "Talent Mobility Good Practices: Collaboration at the Core of Driving Economic Growth."

Haig earned his BA in English and Economics at New York University and his graduate degrees in economics from Columbia University. He is a member of the American Economic Association.

Session: The Pay Equity Revolution: How Advanced Analytics are Helping to Close the Gender Pay Gap in Organizations

 Jason Noriega

Jason Noriega

Diversity Analytics Team Lead


Jason Noriega is the Diversity Analytics Team Lead for Chevron. He has experience leading workforce analytics projects and teams in a variety of different industries. Jason has a keen interest in predictive modeling, and regularly competes in predictive modeling competitions to hone his skills in this space. He recently won the employee attrition prediction challenge at, and the election prediction competition from Jason has a Bachelor's degree in Human Resources Development at Hawaii Pacific University, a Master's in Business at Texas A&M University, and a Black Belt in Six Sigma.

Session: Open Sourced Workforce Analytics: A Live Demonstration of Tools and Techniques for Predictive Modeling

 Elpida Ormanidou

Elpida Ormanidou

VP Advanced Analytics and Testing

Chico's FAS, Inc.

Elpida recently joined the Chico's team to help build and strengthen internal capability around advanced analytics, web analytics and testing.

Before Chico's Elpida worked for Walmart for over 12 years. She started her career in Sam's Club as a member trends analyst and with a team of internal and external scientists developed the analytical framework resulting in a member-centric organizational view. She then worked as a sr. pricing manager, before moving to Walmart U.S. and growing into a Global HR Analytics leadership role.

Elpida successfully stood up a team to standardize HR data analysis processes, making it faster and more accurate while ensuring confidentiality and data integrity. In addition, she managed Walmart's global associate engagement program and supported Walmart's Associate Opportunity strategies.

Outside of work, Elpida enjoys spending time with her daughter, Ioanna, painting and volunteering with local community support groups.

Elpida has both a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics and a master's in transportation and logistics from the University of Arkansas.

Keynote: Use Case: How Predictive Models Improve Retail Sales Experience and Performance

Expert Panel: Politics, Power Tools and Perfect Data

 Emily Pelosi

Emily Pelosi

HR Analytics Leader


Emily Pelosi is an HR Analytics Leader to the talent management and technology groups at CenturyLink. Her role is to drive strategic decision making by leading predictive analytics projects and consulting on talent management initiatives using a data-driven approach. She partners directly with senior HR leadership to address critical business questions and deliver insights regarding predicting performance, turnover, drivers of employee engagement, outcomes of leadership development, and other workforce trends.

Emily holds a PhD and Masters in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Seattle Pacific University. Prior to joining CenturyLink, Dr. Pelosi spent 3 years consulting on survey research, applied research design, and performance management practices for public and private sector companies. She is currently an active and participating member of SIOP.

Session: How CenturyLink Measures How Well Leaders Manage Their Organizations

 Burke Powers

Burke Powers

Sr. Director, People Data, Reporting, and Analytics



Burke has 15 years of experience using analytics and reporting to create transformational insight for corporations that spanned all silos and then lead the organizational change the insights drove. He has a track record of helping to define innovative business strategies, design information systems, redesign business processes, and execute complex business transformation programs. These programs have included customer retention, prospect identification and new customer acquisition, cross/up-sell, inventory optimization, pricing optimization, CRM, brand management, and analytical transformation among others. Burke has a strong history of building decision support systems that cater to the needs of executives and to front line employees in multiple silos and that support incremental as well as innovative change and transformation. He has a passion for linking operational, customer and financial metrics and creating an analytical business culture. Additionally, he is expert in state of the art predictive modeling and text analytics to provide rich insight and strategic advantage.

Session: When Predictive Analytics Isn't Enough: How We Got 10X Greater ROI Than We Could with Predictive Models

 Greta Roberts

Greta Roberts

Co-Founder & CEO

Talent Analytics, Corp.


Greta Roberts is an acknowledged influencer in the field of predictive workforce analytics. Her continued vision is to bridge the gap between the business, predictive analytics and workforce communities. Since co-founding Talent Analytics in 2001, Greta has established Talent Analytics, Corp. as the globally recognized leader in predicting employee performance, pre-hire.

In addition to being a contributing author to numerous predictive analytics books, she is regularly invited to comment in the media and speak at high end predictive analytics and business events around the world. Through recognition of her commitment and leadership, Greta was elected and continues to be Chair of Predictive Analytics World for Workforce. Additionally, she is a Faculty Member with the International Institute for Analytics (IIA) and an Analytics Certification Board Member of INFORMS.

Keynote: Making Predictive Analytics Work in Your Enterprise

 Pasha Roberts

Pasha Roberts

Co-Founder and Chief Scientist

Talent Analytics, Corp.


Pasha Roberts is chief scientist at Talent Analytics Corp., a company that uses data science to model and optimize employee performance in areas such as call center staff, sales organizations and analytics professionals. He wrote the first implementation of the company’s software over a decade ago and continues to drive new features and platforms for the company. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and Russian studies from The College of William and Mary, and a master of science degree in financial engineering from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Keynote: How to Use Survival Analytics to Predict Employee Turnover

 Mike Rosenbaum

Mike Rosenbaum

Founder and CEO


Prior to starting Arena, Mike Rosenbaum received an Irving R. Kaufman Fellowship to support his work building what is now the analytics engine for talent selection. Previously, Rosenbaum was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at Harvard and served at the White House as an economist, at the U.S. Department of State on trade issues and issues related to the former Soviet Union, and at Coopers & Lybrand in the Russian Federation on privatization and commercialization in the early 1990's. In addition to his academic work around what became Arena, Rosenbaum's publications and work focused on the application of data to the most subjective areas of human endeavor.

His work was featured in the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Harvard John M. Olin Fellow Center for Law, Economics and Business Series. Rosenbaum has a JD from Harvard Law School, an MS in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA from Harvard College.

Session: Use Case: Real World Lessons in Predicting Employee Retention and Engagement

 Chris Short

Chris Short

Senior Manager of HR Reporting and Analytics

Cox Enterprises

In his role at Cox Enterprises, Chris serves as a leader in People Analytics with an objective enabling HR leaders across the Cox Family of businesses to make better, data-driven decisions. His team is responsible for all reporting and analytics related to HR applications, including core HRIS, recruiting and onboarding, talent management, diversity and inclusion, etc. Prior to his current role, Chris worked at Accenture as a delivery lead for Business Intelligence projects. In this capacity he helped companies design and implement BI systems that would meet their reporting and analytics needs. He holds a Master's Bachelor's degrees in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia with a focus on applied mathematics, modelling, and simulation.

Cox Enterprises is a leading communications, media and automotive services company. With revenues of $18 billion and approximately 60,000 employees, the company's major operating subsidiaries include Cox Communications (cable television distribution, high-speed Internet access, telephone, home security and automation, commercial telecommunications and advertising solutions); Cox Automotive (automotive-related auctions, financial services, media and software solutions); and Cox Media Group (television and radio stations, digital media, newspapers and advertising sales rep firms). The company's major national brands include Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book and Manheim. Through Cox Automotive, the company's international operations stretch across Asia, Australia, Europe and Latin America.

Session: Getting the Most from Your Predictive Models: Exploring the Impact of Segmentation on Common Modeling Techniques

 Justin Stevens

Justin Stevens

Talent Management Analyst


Justin holds a Masters Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from UCF and Bachelors Degree in Psychology from FSU. With 3 years of experience in Human Metrics Data Analytics, Organizational Assessments and Reporting, Justin has expertise in bridging the worlds of analytics and the human element, implementing strategic change initiatives and problem resolution. His prior experience includes Jabil, International Society for Performance Improvement, and Summit Resource Group. Justin's current role at Kforce has him developing, interpreting, and analyzing complex employee data to inform enterprise-wide strategy to retain and attract top talent in the industry.

Session: Use Case: How Kforce is Evolving from Pre-hire Assessments to Predictive Hiring

 Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor

Chief Data Scientist


Ben Taylor has over 13 years of machine learning experience. He has worked for 5 years in the semiconductor industry for Intel and Micron in photolithography, process control, and yield prediction. He has also worked as a Wall Street  building sentiment stock models for a hedge fund trading the S&P 1500 on the news content. During that time Ben helped build a 600 GPU core computing cluster from the ground up that he used to backtest up to 10M trading scenarios per day. Ben left finance and semiconductor to work for a new HR start-up called HireVue in 2013 and lead their machine learning efforts around digital interviewing. His greatest accomplishment has been developing the features and methods which have allowed short unstructured video recorded interviews to see r-values in the 0.3-0.4 range in the HireVue insights product.

Session: Use Case: Predicting Safety and Performance from Unstructured Data

Session: Getting the most out of NLP for cover letter ranking, resume screening, interview conversations and more

 Shankar Vedaraman

Shankar Vedaraman

Manager, Cloud Infrastructure Analytics


Shankar leads the Cloud Infrastructure Analytics Data Engineering and Analytics team at Netflix. His team is responsible for providing analytical solutions for Netflix Infrastructure teams. Shankar’s team builds data products on improving performance, security, efficiency and reliability of both corporate and product infrastructure. Prior to this role, Shankar led the Payments Analytics team at Netflix where his team provided data solutions to keep churn due to payments to a minimum. Shankar is highly passionate about creating data products that utilize the power of data science for better business benefits.

Prior to Netflix, Shankar was to Rovi Corporation where he led a Business Intelligence team to provide analytical solutions for various business units. Shankar has a Masters in Computer Science and a 2nd Masters in Predictive Analytics.

Session: A Data Driven Aapproach to Information Security Analytics at Netflix

 Kevin Zhan

Kevin Zhan

Workforce Analytics Practice Leader

The Advisory Board

Kevin Zhan is the leader of the Workforce Analytics Practice at The Advisory Board Company (ABC). In less than 3 years, he has successfully advanced ABC's workforce analytics strategy from basic reporting to predictive analytics. He has developed cutting edge solutions around story telling and leveraging BI tools to transform the way ABC consumes workforce data.

His team has successfully leveraged talent analytics to support various talent related change management initiatives, including: strategic workforce planning, creation of a new performance management system, new approach to addressing employee flight risk, automating workforce data reporting via BI tools, and leveraging predictive analytics in candidate selection.

Prior to his time with ABC, Kevin has worked for Deloitte Consulting, Booz Allen Hamilton, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He cites the combined experiences and best practices he's learned from each of these companies as the pillar behind his approach to tackling organization problems with people data.

Session: Use Case: Changing Talent Management through Predictive Analytics

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