Dr. Athina Kanioura: How Your Company Can Use its Data to Make Better Decisions

June 3 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Priorities, Priorities

Last weekend, I got a wicked sunburn. It was one of those situations where I knew it was happening, but didn’t make the smart choice to go inside. Why, you might ask? Was I on a sunny beach in Turks and Caicos? Nah. Was I poolside with an ice-cold bottle of rosé? Nope. I was…power washing. Instead of tending to my burning skin, I was thinking about how satisfying power washing is, and how I should open up a place where stressed-out women power washed for an hour. Yeah, needless to say, my priorities weren’t quite perfect last weekend, and now, I’m paying the price. As I apply this aloe and grimace, tell me: How do you prioritize well?

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: Less than 30 Percent

If women have one superpower, I’d say it’s research. You give me 126 car seat options, and I’ll figure out the safety ratings, comfort level, washable fabric, assembly, and narrow the list down to one car seat. You give that list to a man and he’ll set it aside to finish his online golf game. I’m just saying. That’s why it’s surprising that less than 30 percent of researchers in the world are women. (Maybe that’s because women spend so much time being the head researcher at home that we don’t want to do the same at work).

WOMAN TO WATCH: Dr. Athina Kanioura, Chief Analytics Officer & Global Lead of Applied Intelligence at Accenture

Speaking of research, whether you realize it or not, data has a lot to do with our daily interactions. We hold a little data machine in our hands everywhere we go, and count our steps along the way. Every successful company uses data, too. The difference between a successful and unsuccessful company is that it can’t just collect data; it’s got to use it. That’s what Dr. Athina Kanioura is good at.

This year, Athina assumed the role of Chief Analytics Officer and Global Lead of Applied Intelligence at Accenture. Accenture is a company that’s probably behind some of the products or services you know and love. Located in 52 countries and serving more than 40 industries, it uses research through labs and studios, for example, to foster innovation.

Athina is a big part of the Accenture puzzle. She has been with the company for more than a dozen years, and has grown its data science team to the thousands. Data Economy Magazine named Athina one of their Power Women in April 2019, and for good reason. With degrees in econometrics and macroeconomics, Athina has the education and experience to put data into action.

Part of what makes Athina such a valuable asset is her fluidity. She’s been on the customer analytics side and sales side. She’s been aiding clients in industries from banking to consumer goods. Now, as the head woman in charge of Accenture’s applied intelligence team, Athina will address complex issues using technology.

Some of the problems Athina hopes artificial intelligence (AI) can address are big ones, like climate change and energy consumption. She says even the dark web has a place for AI, becoming a tool to recognize text and images for law enforcement. Athina believes that AI isn’t optional anymore; it isn’t something that’s simply nice to have.

In order to grow a brand, a service, a company, it’s necessary to employ tools and methods that give clients and customers the best experience. The finishing touch? You just need a smart woman to steer the ship.


Scientist Marie Curie said:

"I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy."

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