WIA Team

WIA Team

Rehgan Avon owns her own analytics consultant company helping organizations identify opportunities to improve their analytic development capabilities. With a background in integrated systems engineering and a strong focus on analytical technology, Rehgan has worked on architecting solutions and products around operationalizing machine learning models at scale within the large enterprise. Rehgan’s previous experience has been fueled by a passion for early-stage startups and product development, holding positions as Head of Solutions at Mobikit, Solutions Architect at ModelOp, Lead Data Engineer at Clarivoy, and Product Manager at StepOne. She also teaches courses in python, data science, and web development at MBA programs nationally through an education startup company, Cognitir. 

She is the founder and CEO of Women in Analytics, an organization that increases visibility to women making an impact in the analytics space by providing a platform for women to lead the conversations around the advancements of analytical research, development, and applications. She remains active and involved in fostering collaboration around emerging analytical methods and technologies. She is also the recipient of Columbus CEO’s Future 50 award.

Lauren Burke is a Data Scientist at CoverMyMeds, where her work involves using innovative data science and machine learning techniques to find creative solutions to complex problems within the healthcare technology space. Lauren is an active member of both the Columbus and larger technology communities and serves as an Advisor for #BUILTBYGIRLS and a YP Board Member of Columbus's Center for Science and Industry (COSI). She is passionate about initiatives that promote the interests and achievements of women and girls in STEM and enjoys every opportunity to share her appreciation of math, data, and analytics with others. Lauren received a Bachelor's in Mathematics from The College of Wooster, where her thesis investigated the use of machine learning heuristics as solution techniques to a large-scale traveling salesman problem. She enjoys reading, hiking, rock climbing in her free time.

Resourceful, high energy analytics professional with 11 years of experience leading a team through challenge and change by implementing strategic planning, establishing direction and executing initiatives in support of business objectives and corporate goals. Strategic problem-solver with proven ability managing benefits initiatives aimed at bottom-line results.

For Rory Cusack Weier, Ph.D., an unwavering theme is applying data analytics in healthcare to facilitate cross-functional collaboration in pursuit of the quadruple aim: improving patient care, population health, and provider experience while reducing per capita cost. She is an epidemiologist by training with over a decade of healthcare-focused analytics experience, having worked in community health, academic research, value-based healthcare reform, and healthcare information technology sectors. Rory is currently a Product Manager at Olive, a Columbus-based company offering artificial intelligence as a service to a predominantly hospital system customer base to make healthcare more efficient and affordable by automating repetitive administrative tasks. She is also an adjunct faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University for Integrated Health Professions. Rory earned a doctorate in Public Health with a specialization in Epidemiology and a minor in Geographical Information Systems from The Ohio State University. In addition to serving as the WIA Community Manager, she spends her spare time volunteering with Buckeye Bulldog Rescue or spoiling her Mustard-themed bulldogs: Colonel, Honey, and Dijon.

Ashley is a Senior Account Executive for Fusion Alliance, and proudly serves as WIA’s Partnership Coordinator. With over 10 years’ experience working in Columbus’ Technology community, Ashley’s skill set of building and connecting relationships has deeply entrenched her relationships, knowledge, and passion across the Data & Analytics landscape. She’s passionate about the power that data & analytics hold, and the ways it continues to innovate and positively disrupt our world. In her role as Partnership Coordinator, Ashley will nurture relationships with thought leadership, data stewards, and influencers, to champion the mission, success, and industry leadership of Women in Analytics, locally, nationally and globally. Ashley is a Columbus, Ohio native, and she and her Husband live in Westerville.

Lizzie lives and works in the greater Chicagoland area as a Technical Program Manager in Analytics for the last three years at Country Financial, and three years prior to that at Wolfram Research. She is nearing completion of her MBA from Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics. Lizzie serves on the Student Leadership, Women in Analytics, and Business Analytics boards at Kelley. She is passionate about gender equity, specifically within technology and analytics, and this passion drives her continued involvement in this space. With an interest in Organizational Design, she aspires to run her own business in the future where she can help companies and individuals bridge the gender gap in these areas, which will improve their competitive advantage.

Cheng Li is a data scientist based in Columbus, OH. Cheng grew up in China. He got his Ph.D. concentrated in theoretical physics from the Ohio State University in 2020. He enjoys understanding the world from data. It always makes him excited to gain insights behind the phenomena. He has expertise in modeling and programming (Python & C++). He believes that diversity and inclusion are essential for the development of the community.

Kristy Wedel is the Data Visualization Manager in the Market Insights Data and Analytics Team at Abbott. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from The Ohio State University, and completed the data science specialization through Johns Hopkins University on Coursera. She has experience developing best practices, querying large, complex data sets, transforming data, developing predictive models in R and creating dashboards using Qlik and Power BI.

Kristi is the founder of Kritikality, a digital data and technology consultancy which focuses on helping clients maximise their return on their digital analytics investments. She has been passionately involved with digital data and technology from back in the day when Omniture was still known as Site Catalyst and “Adobe” meant Photoshop. Kristi has over 15 years’ experience in digital/web analytics across large companies including Suncorp, the Australian Football League (AFL), Macquarie Bank and Expedia. She has managed many digital analytics teams and implementations, with a focus on the Adobe and Google Analytics platforms. Kristi has been an active member of the Adobe Customer Advisory Board, a finalist for the global Adobe Analytics Rockstar Competition in 2016 and in 2019, Kristi presented a technical training lab the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. Kristi is a mentor at the Digital Analytics Association. She also currently volunteers for all things digital, data and IT at the Estonian Archives in Australia. Kristi holds an MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Sydney.

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WIA Conference Team

Katie (Sasso) Schafer, Ph.D. is Director of AI and Automation at Covail. Katie received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University with a focus on Experimental and Quantitative (minor) Psychology. During her Ph.D. program she worked as a graduate research associate at the Nationwide Insurance Center for Advanced Customer Insights, using experimental methods and statistical analyses to optimize customer outreach and risk assessment. At Covail, Katie has worked on a variety of AI projects across several industries as both developer and project lead. Outside of work, Katie is an avid R user, RStudio Certified Trainer, and proud co-organizer of R-Ladies Columbus meetup. In 2019, she was named a top 30 under 30 in the Columbus Technology scene at the Tech Power Players Summit. She also serves on advisory boards for Franklin University and The Erdos Institute. Katie has been a member of the WIA team member since 2017 with a focus on content and speaker curation.

Jen Heider is part of the Data & Analytics team at Huntington National Bank. After graduating as the pilot student for the OSU BS Industrial and Systems Engineering Data and Analytics track, she began her career as a data science consultant at IBM, where she built her data science skills on projects across multiple industries. She then went on to work as a Data Scientist at Express. Jen is currently pursuing her MS in the ISE Data and Analytics track at OSU part-time while working for Huntington. In her free time, Jen loves reading, running, and outdoor activities of all kinds. 

Sahanna Bhatt is a clinical informatics analyst on the Population Health Analytics team at OhioHealth in Columbus, Ohio. As a population health data analyst, she is passionate about improving healthcare delivery and outcomes through technology. At OhioHealth, Sahanna delivers analytic solutions for business and healthcare clients across the enterprise. Prior to joining OhioHealth, Sahanna consulted for Booz Allen Hamilton, in Norfolk, Virginia, where she supported the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center as a clinical epidemiologist. Her educational background includes a Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from Columbia University (with a graduate certificate in infectious disease epidemiology) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Environmental Public Health from The Ohio State University. She is currently working towards a Masters of Science (MS) in Data Science (with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence) from Northwestern University's School of Professional Studies.

Mai Alowaish is a Lead Analytics Consultant at InfoTrust LLC based in Blue Ash, Ohio. Mai is an advocate of supporting and empowering the women in analytics and tech overall. Mai is a mentor at the Digital Analytics Association, and a previous speaker at the WIA 2019. Mai is also a volunteer in the Tech Corps Analytics Program and OSU's Women in Data Science Summer Camp, as she's passionate about helping the youth get into STEM and learn about data.

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As a solutions consultant at Pandera Systems, I help business leaders evaluate their AI and analytics strategy, by mapping what’s possible and what’s working, what these capabilities mean for their organization, and help measure its return on investment. I help business leaders envision what success looks like when data science and analytics are leveraged to solve business problems, improve sales, and keep pace with their customer expectations. Even though I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering, I found my passion in helping brands create live experiences to connect with their customers as an event emcee at conferences and trade shows for my clients-- IBM, Red Hat, VMWare, Cisco, AWS, Paypal, and Hewlett Packard Enterprises. As a corporate event emcee, I have hosted over 1000 events in twelve years. In 2019, I authored and published a book titled 'How to become an Emcee', a practical guidebook for aspirants. I currently host a fortnightly leadership panel discussion called 'Community Connect', a virtual event organized by Tech & Beer.

I am currently a Data Analytics Manager with broad experience in retail, marketing analytics, operations, finance, and project and data management. I am in the San Francisco Bay Area, and am excited to meet all the smart women out there in analytics. As the Volunteer Coordinator, I am looking forward to working with the WIA team again this year and meeting all the amazing volunteers at the WIA Conference. I love to see women succeed in their careers and it's great to find a group that is supportive in making that happen.

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Advisory Board

Katie Schafer

Director of AI &


Dave Cherry

Executive Strategic Advisor

Cherry Advisory, LLC

Kelly Denney

Director of Data Science & Clinical Analytics

Radiology Partners

Ben Blanquera

VP, Customer Success
& Experience


Reshama Shaikh

Statistician /
Data Scientist

Data Umbrella

Colleen Saunders-Chukwu

AVP, Data Sciences
& Analytics