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Pragmatic Institute Data Advisory Board

Pragmatic Institute’s Data Advisory Board features industry leaders and experts who bring a real-world lens of data and business to our program. Our curriculum was developed in close partnership with the board to ensure alumni can have a strategic impact in an evolving data and business landscape.

Bill Franks

Bill Franks

Kennesaw State University

Christopher Laubenthal

The DeBruce Foundation

Mike Lukianoff

Data science Expert and Entrepreneur

Sami Mian

Sami Mian

Amazon Kuiper

Eugenie Packer

Mount Sinai Health Systems

Barton Poulson

Marco Szeidenleder

Managing Partner at Pandata

Bill Franks


Director of the Center for Data Science and Analytics at Kennesaw State University

Bill Franks is the Director of the Center for Data Science and Analytics at Kennesaw State University. Franks is also the author of Winning The Room, Taming The Big Data Tidal Wave, The Analytics Revolution, and 97 Things About Ethics Everyone In Data Science Should Know.

He is a sought after speaker and frequent blogger who has been ranked a top global big data influencer, a top global artificial intelligence and big data influencer, a top AI influencer, and was an inaugural inductee into the Analytics Hall of Fame. 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


Data Design Manager at The DeBruce Foundation

Christopher Laubenthal focuses on innovating the current and creating the unexpected to enable better data use in a business setting. He is most recognized in this field for a data tool he created for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The tool was used by the Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor’s office, received an industry award, and was featured on an NPR affiliate. Additionally, Christopher has given several public talks on data visualization, mentored at SXSWedu, and was appointed to a data project review panel for NEA. 

He is the data design manager at The DeBruce Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to innovating the way people look for, prepare for and pursue careers. He helps leaders tell data stories, increase engagement and work to close that insight-to-action gap.

Mike Lukianoff


data science expert and entrepreneur

Michael Lukianoff is a data science expert and entrepreneur specializing in brick and mortar restaurant and retail industries. As a founder and executive, he pioneered the use of data driven solutions in the restaurant industry. Mike has created multiple analytical methods for price, promotion, marketing optimization and site selection, many still in use by the largest chain restaurant companies. 

His latest venture, Extropy360, is making businesses smarter by bringing scalable decision intelligence to a new generation of business users.

Mike serves on several private advisory boards, he is active with his alma mater Cornell University and is a Fellow of the Culinary Institute of America.

Sami Mian


R&D manager at Amazon Kuiper

Sami Mian, PhD is a seasoned engineer and leader, with over 10 years of experience in the field of robotics, machine learning, and data science. Currently, Sami works as an R&D manager at Amazon Kuiper, where he is helping launch and develop small satellites to increase global access to broadband internet. He also serves in advisor and consultant capacity for several small companies, focusing on data science and AI strategy and technology rollouts.

Previously, Sami served as the head of engineering and chief AI scientist at a small drone company, and as a research manager at the ASU Knowledge Enterprise group. Sami has held several visiting and primary research appointments in industry and academia, including at Microsoft Research, NASA Langley Research Center, the NSF Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC), Arizona State University, and the National University of Singapore.

Sami earned a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, where his research focused on multi-agent autonomous robotics and sensor fusion systems using AI and deep learning. He also holds MS and BS degrees in computer engineering and mathematics from Arizona State University.


Senior director of development systems and analytics at the Mount Sinai Health Systems and a graduate student in statistics at Hunter College in New York City

For 20 years, Eugenie Packer has worked for organizations of all sizes in the nonprofit sector by helping them design, develop, implement and oversee fundraising systems, business intelligence data projects and analytics platforms of varying complexity.

She has consolidated, migrated and transitioned enterprise database applications through capital campaigns and mergers. Prior to her tenure at Mount Sinai, Eugenie was the database manager at the New Museum in New York City.

With a background in the arts and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, Eugenie is recognized for her exceptional data visualization and information design and for giving the same attention to the white space around the report as the content of the report.


Applied Intelligence Strategy at Accenture

Shilpam Pandey has more than 20 years of broad industry experience with the full life cycle of data and analytic adoption in a variety of industries, such as financial services, life sciences, healthcare and the Federal Government.

At M&T Bank, she established and led the Data Literacy and Culture Program, which enables the use of data as an asset by embedding data in the DNA of the organization. She thrives at the intersection of people, business and data. She is also passionate about designing an inclusive and more ethical future with data and AI.

Shilpam studied at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in New Delhi and got a Master of Science from ITC in the Netherlands and has an MBA from Cornell University. She is a member of Women Leaders in Data and AI (WLDA)


Founder of and guest lecturer

Barton Poulson has consulted with government agencies, corporate clients, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions on how to use data to better fulfill their missions and serve their communities. He focuses on the interpretation and implementation of data analysis, as well as the social impact of data science.

Bart has a PhD in social and personality psychology and is on the faculty of Utah Valley University. He has organized service events called “data charrettes,” in which volunteers joined forces with local nonprofits to answer important operational questions. He has presented on data topics at the Open Data Science Conference, the Marketing Analytics and Data Science Conference, the Mountain West Arts Conference and academic events.

Bart serves on the advisory team of Blossom Academy, a groundbreaking data science bootcamp in Accra, Ghana. In addition, he has collaborated extensively with choreographers to bring interactive digital technology into live performances. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Marco Szeidenleder


Managing Partner at Pandata

Marco Szeidenleder is managing partner at Pandata, a tech company focusing on marketing intelligence and data analytics. 

He is a computer scientist and studied economics at the renowned ESCP Europe in Paris and London.

Further stations were a startup project in Rio de Janeiro and Rocket Internet at the time of its IPO. In his lectures and workshops, he combines technical expertise with direct practical experience.


Cloud CTO, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Yonas Yohannes has more than 31 years of experience as a C-level leader and entrepreneur in industries including financial services, high tech, healthcare industries, business consulting and SaaS Solution development.

He also has executive leadership experience at a global scale, which includes operations, business development, new product development, communicating and advising executives and driving strategic visions. He has held CEO, COO, CTO, CPO and CSO positions and has founded, grown and sold/merged several companies.

Yonas provides executive consulting in banking and payment strategies, new business and platform development, service delivery design and operations, technology, data centers design, SaaS business and solution development, enterprise security and client and account management.

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