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Theresa Kushner: From Paying a MasterCard Bill to Advocating for Women in Big Data

Theresa Kushner has been at the forefront of marketing data and analytics since the beginning of her career. Starting out in journalism, she found the need to pay her MasterCard bill led to a role in merchandising with Texas Instruments. From there, she moved to IBM as a marketing manager, where she was tasked with creating a customer data platform, before serving in various roles at Cisco, VMware and Dell. Her current focus is on consulting for data leadership and being a board member of Women in Big Data. For Theresa, the journey of working in tech was born out of necessity rather than a natural inclination. Her father owned a computer company, which she worked in during high school, but she was initially resistant to the idea of being in tech. It wasn’t until she was offered a job at Texas Instruments, and was forced to think about the power of computers, that she realised her potential. At Texas Instruments, Theresa was part of the development of chips for CPUs, as well as developing products for children. This was her first experience of machine learning, which she found out was something that had been around for a long time. Moving to IBM, Theresa was tasked with creating a customer data platform. With no data to market to people in the countries she was responsible for, she had to go hands-on with marketing intelligence and analytics. It was here she realised her capacity for understanding numbers and metrics, something she had initially convinced herself she was not able to do. Theresa then went on to serve in various roles with Cisco, VMware and Dell. At VMware, they had read a book she had written and hired her to lead the governance of customer data. With Dell, she worked to develop a product with artificial intelligence, and then moved to NTT to lead the North American innovation center. Currently, Theresa is consulting on data leadership, and is a board member of Women in Big Data. She believes that while there are more women in tech roles, they are still seen as cheaper than men. However, she is glad that women are out there and doing these jobs.

Originally reported by Martech:
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