Philip Alexander, CEO

Philip Alexander has spent more than two decades on the front lines of senior-level and international marketing, witnessing firsthand how some of the world’s leading companies managed their brands and envisioning a better way. In 2000 he founded BrandMuscle Inc. in a Boston incubator. He grew the media and branding platform into a $100 million marketing services company that utilizes technology to empower 350 national and global brands, capitalizing on local marketing opportunities.

Prior to that Philip served as vice president of brand management for Pearle Vision, a leading optical retailer with over 1,300 locations worldwide; and as vice president of marketing and advertising for Western Auto, a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck and Co., responsible for the marketing and advertising of 1,500 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico.

“As we enter a new phase of growth at Pragmatic Institute, I see such potential; we have a great product and superb instructors. I am excited to lead the company as we expand our mission to deliver training that helps people elevate their products, companies and careers.”

April Garcia, CFO

With more than 20 years of experience in finance, accounting and information systems, April Garcia has a wealth of knowledge in strategic leadership and planning, including a deep understanding of the ins and outs of private-equity owned businesses. In her career, she has successfully led mergers and acquisitions, including integrating the finance, accounting, human resources and operational functions.

Before joining Pragmatic, April was CFO and member of the Leadership Council for Eberle Design Inc., where she provided leadership for the financial, operational, engineering and human capital aspects of the organization. Prior to that, she was with CPA and business advisory firm Eide Bailly LLP, where she specialized in small-business consulting and enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementations. In her role with Pragmatic Institute, April is responsible for the finance, accounting and human resources functions, putting financial strategies in place that result in long-term enhancements to profitability, savings and productivity.

“The more I learn about Pragmatic Institute and its product offerings and services, the more excited I am to add my piece of the story. And with the 2019 acquisition of The Data Incubator, I look forward to helping bring our companies together to build a better, stronger Pragmatic Institute that will continue to have a positive impact on our customers and business partners for years to come.”

Rebecca Kalogeris, Vice President, Marketing & Product Strategy

Rebecca Kalogeris is a proven marketing executive and turnaround specialist. She’s made a career of joining technology companies and building up world-class, results-focused marketing departments firmly grounded in understanding the market and its needs. At Pragmatic Institute, Rebecca leads marketing communications and product marketing, championing efforts to fully understand the buyers and their processes and continuously develop campaigns and programs that not only bring new people into that process, but speed their journey through to purchase.

“In marketing, it’s rare to work on a brand that you are truly passionate about, but that’s what I get to do here. I was a student and a believer of Pragmatic Institute before I joined the company. Now, being able to help spread our training and see the impact that it has on people is truly amazing.”

Prior to Pragmatic, Rebecca held marketing leadership roles at a variety of software and services companies, including TRIRIGA, Shift4 Corporation, Client Development Services and eCommLink.

Christine Plitt, Vice President, Education Services and Delivery

Christine Plitt leads the strategic planning, financial management and operations of all Pragmatic Institute training events, overseeing event management, travel, procurement and shipping. She leads the cross-functional project team tasked with international expansion of public events. In addition, Christine established the company’s in-house travel agency, NIHITO Travel, an IATAN-recognized corporate travel agency.

Most recently, Chrisitne has taken over the leadership of The Data Incubator’s intensive data science fellowship program and hiring partner program. Under her guidance, the quantity and quality of applicants to the fellowship program has grown, as has the number of hiring partners looking to fill their data science needs.

“Each year, I see the number of companies and attendees that we have trained increase. With each event, we’re equipping our attendees with the practical knowledge to be market- and data-driven and create meaningful products. I’m enthusiastic about our future as we expand our global footprint.”

Christine began her career in the hospitality industry, working for large brands such as Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Marriott International before transitioning to corporate event planning for a national healthcare company.

Ben Newcomb, Vice President, Sales

Ben Newcomb leads the Pragmatic Institute sales team, helping the team create meaningful and lasting relationships with organizations of every size. Ben’s background has led him to become an accomplished sales manager with a strong focus in marketing and product management. He specializes in new product launches, turnaround efforts and customer growth and retention. 

For more than a decade, Ben worked at Spear Education, managing a large team of sales representatives in new customer acquisition and customer growth. He’s spent years cultivating strong relationships with thousands of customers and channel partners, and has a passion for creating strong teams that exceed sales expectations time and time again.

Muhammad Zahid, Vice President, Technology

Muhammad Zahid brings more than 15 years of technology experience successfully leading software development, dev ops and infrastructure teams. At Pragmatic Institute, Muhammad plans, coordinates, designs and directs the company’s technology activities. Muhammad also provides the administrative direction to ensure that the company’s technology initiatives are in alignment with its business objectives.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to implement new training delivery platforms that will help move this company forward. We are expanding our training offerings to include online, interactive content that complements what is already the best classroom training available.”

Prior to Pragmatic, Muhammad led the IT department at a global leader in the microelectronics industry for more than 10 years.

Michael Li, President, Data Sciences

Michael Li is president at Pragmatic responsible for defining and leading their data courses. Michael founded The Data Incubator in 2014 as a platform for training and placing data scientists. Previously, he worked as a data scientist (Foursquare), Wall Street quant (D.E. Shaw, J.P. Morgan), and a rocket scientist (NASA). He completed his PhD at Princeton as a Hertz fellow and read Part III Maths at Cambridge as a Marshall Scholar. At Foursquare, Michael discovered that his favorite part of the job was teaching and mentoring smart people about data science and so he built up a successful startup focused on what he really loves.

"The Data Incubator was founded on the belief that hands-on training promotes active learning and true mastery of skills. Pragmatic's approach to training adheres to the same philosophy, so the synergies were clear. I'm eager to combine TDI's amazing data science products with Pragmatic's market-driven approach and offer better training on expanded topics to even more people and companies."

Clarke Smith
Clarke Smith has more than 20 years of experience in the product marketing space, having worked for such well known companies as Hallmark and Advanced Auto Parts. He prides himself on being a senior leader with proven success leveraging technology and data-driven marketing to drive revenue growth and RIO.

As a key member of the executive team at BrandMuscle, Clarke helped grow the business from $8 million in revenue to a $100 million organization with 800 employees by delivering industry-leading SaaS marketing technology. He also help leverage a groundbreaking service model that utilized domestic and offshore resources to plan, execute and track cost-effective local marketing programs for clients including DirecTV, Allstate, Spring, Ameriprise and US Cellular.

Clarke enjoys volunteering in his community, and has served on the board of The Hope Center, The MetroHealth System of Cleveland and Hope Leadership Academy Charter School.

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