Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the Washington, DC CDAO Community

Wendy Zhang

VP Data & AI

Hayward Global

As a practitioner with functional expertise, I have always excelled in combining business acumen, technical aptitude, and hands-on analytical experience with relationship management and influencing skills to derive valuable insights and enable effective transformational initiatives at Fortune 500 companies, as well as the Federal sector.

Learn more about leaders in the Washington, DC CDAO community here.

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

I have always had a strong sense of curiosity when it comes to solving complex business problems. Much of the shift in today's analytics landscape has been to make critical decisions based on data-driven insights rather than judgment. I've adopted that mentality since the early stage of my career when I always leaned towards facts, figures, and evidence-based conclusions. Having the instinct and being quantitative have served me well and led me to my current field. 

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Adapt and adopt. We are in a rapidly changing industry where the landscape and the talent pool could look drastically different in just a few years of time. It is important to keep up with the changing trends and adjust accordingly to stay competitive. 

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

With disruption comes change and opportunities. The data & analytics field has evolved so much in the last 5 years compared to the decades before. The leaders in this space will continue to be very diverse in terms of the skill set combinations, along with the essential leadership skills required to make a positive and meaningful impact at the enterprise scale. 

If the previous generations of leaders in this space had been focused on building the foundation and setting up the role for success, then in the next few years, we will likely witness the role to continuously mature and start or continue to deliver tangible business results. 

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

I'd say focus on continuous soft skill development, in addition to the technical skill concentrations. At the end of the day, building positive and effective relationships is an essential part of all leadership roles.

Tell us a few fun facts about yourself.

  • I have a diverse educational background and completed college and graduate level studies in California, England, Ohio, and DC.
  • I was really passionate about salsa dancing at some point.
  • I don't know how to swim.

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

Being part of the Evanta Community has been a very positive and rewarding experience for me. The opportunity to collate with fellow practitioners and leaders in this space has been invaluable. It is a community where I could turn to for advice and have conversations that can move the needle. I really believe this is an important platform to bring in and utilize collective intelligence so that together we can propel the industry forward in a positive way.



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