Governing Body Spotlight

Member of the Southern California CDAO Community

Lokesh Anand

Principal, Product Management (Data platforms & Cloud transformation)

Wells Fargo

I am the Head of Global Data & Analytics Engineering at Circle K Stores. Prior to joining Circle K, I was Director of Data & Analytics Engineering at American Express Global Business Travel. I have an Engineering degree in Electronics & Communications. I currently live in Phoenix, Arizona, with my wife, two children and a dog.

Learn more about leaders in the Southern California CDAO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I must confess that data analytics wasn’t on my radar when I started my career. For the first few years of my career, I worked as a software engineer on transactional processing systems, but soon realized that I was passionate about decision support systems, as these systems use business’ data to tell a story about it, unearth hidden facts and help make better decisions.

My first experience with decision support systems was to cleanse and prep the Airlines’ schedules and pricing data for analytics at American Express. I started my journey with learning data warehousing concepts, and an ETL tool. Soon I evolved to learning BI tools, and eventually tools and technology for enabling predictive and prescriptive analytics. Along the way, I also learnt the importance of Data Governance for enabling better (and right!) analytics.

Today, I’m fortunate to say that I am leading the Global Data & Analytics Engineering for Circle K Stores, a global leader in convenience and fuel retail, operating in 26 countries and territories, with close to 14,200 stores.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

If you're not making mistakes, then you are not taking enough risk or learning enough to continue growing as a leader.

With disruption being a key theme of the past few years, where do you see your role as a CDAO going in the next 1-2 years?

Enable data democratization on a solid foundation of data governance and data quality. Help produce commercial value from our AI/ML efforts. Continue embracing new tools and techniques to fuel innovations, customer experience transformation and operational excellence using data.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CDAO?

Break down data silos; bring science, engineering, and business together; keep up with technology; share and learn from other data peers; be an evangelist of data culture in your organization; and don’t be afraid of taking some risk!

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  • I've been playing golf on and off for the past 10-12 years, but still introduce myself as a "beginner" as I am still quite bad at it.
  • I was so fascinated with comic superhero Phantom during my childhood that I used to dream of becoming him and moving to his fictional country Bangalla when I grew up.
  • I aspire to learn to fly in the near future.

What is the value of participating in a professional community through Evanta?

I believe it's a great platform to connect with your data peers, share ideas and learn from each other's experience. It also provides you the opportunity to keep up with technology trends and learn about various vendor offerings.



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