WITI Women Spotlight - Pooja Dewan

WITI News Staff

October 21, 2022

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Pooja Dewan is the Vice President & Chief Data & Analytics Officer for Otis Elevator Company. She leads the company's data science and analytics capabilities in this critical role, identifying opportunities to accelerate growth and efficiency.

She is responsible for driving the data and analytics vision, strategy, and execution, and she owns the data management roadmap driving sustainable business growth and profitability, internal efficiencies through improved data structures, constant data cleanliness and insight, and efficient data governance and process.

Pooja brings more than 20 years of experience at BNSF Railway (BNSF). There she served as the Chief Data Scientist, leading the Operations Research (OR) and Advanced Analytics group for 16 years. Her team was awarded international recognition as the best Advanced Analytics team in the 2019 - INFORMS prize.

Pooja has been a member of INFORMS (Operations Research Society) since 1993, Over the years, she has led several initiatives that touch upon many activities conducted by INFORMS such Edelman competition, and she has been instrumental in sponsoring activities that help bridge the gap between academia and practice.

Pooja serves as an Executive Sponsor for the Women in Technology ERG at Otis.

Pooja holds a master's & Ph.D. in industrial engineering from Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania. She is also an author of several research publications in various scientific journals.

Q: How do you balance your work life and home life?
Balance might not be the right word for me; I believe in the integration of work and home life. There are times when your focus is exclusively on one or the other, but you need to be mindful so that you don't put all of your energy into one and end up neglecting the other. And, we all truly need a village to support us in both work and life.

Q: What did you want to be when you were a child?
When I was a child, I thought I would become a university professor. I wanted to go into academia and teach in an Engineering school. While working on my PhD, I was recruited by BNSF Railway as a practitioner, and 22 years later, I am still a practitioner!

Q: What was the best advice you ever got?
I have recently had a lot of good advice from excellent mentors in my life. Some of the best advice would be to never compare yourself to others, enjoy what you do, and be the best version of yourself. There are many ways to get to a destination - follow your own path.

Q: What do you read or listen to for fun and inspiration?
Some of my favorite podcasts include Freakonomics and HBR Ideacast.

Q: What books are on your nightstand?
To name a few:
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Q: Is perfection possible?
In a nutshell, perfection does not exist. Let go of the idea of "perfection" and focus on progress over perfection. To me, as long as you are continually improving yourself, you are headed in the right direction. And when you see your imperfections, don't be discouraged. No one is perfect so change that thought process and see it as the opportunity to develop yourself- because there is always room for improvement.

Q: How do you take your whole self to work?
Being able to bring my full and authentic self to work is paramount to who I am and ultimately makes me a better leader. I am a wife. I am a mother of two. I am a part of the Otis Elevator family, and I am an Executive Sponsor of the Women in Technology Employee Resource Group. It can be scary to bring your whole self to work, but you need to find a company that provides that space for everyone to feel free to express their thoughts and ideas - that's what makes Otis such a great place to be.

Pooja Dewan has recently been announced as one of the 225 finalists for the Top 100 Data & Analytics Professional Award.
Voting is now open on this webpage:
Vote | Top 100 Data & Analytics Professional Award

At this year's awards, they will announce the Top 100, 50, 10, and Data & Analytics Professional of the Year Award. The deadline to submit a vote is November 1st.

Once again, finalists have been selected from a large number of applications and nominations and will be voted on by peers and colleagues to determine award winners. Voters will vote for those finalists that they have observed one or more of the following:

- Made a considerable impact on their organization and/or previous organizations.
- Made strong contributions to their community through thought leadership.
- Innovate in their role/career.
- Exhibit exceptional leadership.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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