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Upskilling Your Organization

Bolstering the data and analytics skills of employees is critical for enterprises as they progress in their digital transformation efforts. But data literacy is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Successful organizational upskilling for data, analytics, and AI requires a holistic strategy and tailored approach. Not everyone needs (or should be) a data scientist and yet any data skeptics lingering in your organization should be given the chance to believe in the power of data. And depending on job skills and decision-making requirements, you may be faced with the challenge of ushering those who understand analytics to solving business problems and aligning stakeholders.

This panel discussion, moderated by IIA's Bill Franks and featuring leaders from Northwestern Mutual, Travelers Insurance, and Data Society, provided different viewpoints, insights, and success stories on upskilling the enterprise for data, analytics and AI. The session explored several dimensions of successful upskilling programs, from leveraging university partners to advanced training to showcasing innovation and rewarding employees.


Danielle Chabot, AVP Leadership and Development Training, Travelers

Danielle has been with Travelers for 25 years in roles such as Human Resources Business Partner and lead for the D&A Leadership Development and Intern programs. She is currently heading up Learning for Data and Analytics across the enterprise where she is responsible for increasing the data and analytic acumen and fluency of the company as well as the community. She has been instrumental in helping to establish and execute the company’s data culture training program and its data knowledge map which illustrates the uses and lineage of data across the organization.

Danielle helped establish the first diversity network at Travelers called WIAA - Women in Actuarial and Analytics, and was the first sponsor of the Travelers Young Professionals network. She is a past advisory board member of the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA) and was a Girl Scout Service Unit Manager as well as troop leader. Danielle resides in Florida with her family.

Michelle Fetherston, Data Literacy and Program Lead, Northwestern Mutual

Michelle Fetherston is the Data Literacy and Program Lead in Data Science and Analytics at Northwestern Mutual. She leads efforts to help people use and communicate with data more effectively in any role or context, and she oversees the company’s recently re-imagined Community of Data Enthusiasts. Previously she designed and developed training programs for frontline employees and managed her team's learning data visualization in Power BI. In addition, she has experience in higher education course development and B2B advertising account management. She has a PhD in Communication and an MS in Administrative Leadership, both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a BA in Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Merav Yuravlivker, CEO and Co-founder, Data Society

Merav Yuravlivker leads Data Society in transforming organizations to become more data-informed and impactful. She has been instrumental in Data Society’s remarkable year-over-year growth and rapid expansion in the EdTech arena. Recognizing her leadership, she recently was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2021 Mid-Atlantic Award finalist and appointed to the CEO Tech Council for Forbes Magazine, as well as the Tech Council for the National Small Business Association. Prior to starting Data Society, she built her career at educational institutions that include Teach for America, Kaplan, and the International Baccalaureate Organization. Since 2014, Merav and her team have saved organizations millions of dollars by incorporating data analytics skills and best practices that educate, equip and empower an organization’s workforce to achieve its goals and expand its impact.

Bill Franks, Chief Analytics Officer, International Institute for Analytics

Bill Franks is the Chief Analytics Officer for IIA. Bill provides perspective on trends in the analytics, AI, and big data space and helps clients understand how IIA can support their efforts to improve analytic performance. Bill is also the Director of the Center for Statistics and Analytical Research within the School of Data Science and Analytics at Kennesaw State University. In this role, he helps companies and governmental agencies pair with faculty and student resources to further research in the area of analytics and data science. Bill is also the author of Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave and The Analytics Revolution. His work has spanned clients in a variety of industries for companies ranging in size from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profit organizations. You can learn more at