Newman dean joins experts in helping business executives lead data journey

Aug 10, 2023
A man and a woman review data on a computer. Data and tech elements overlay the photograph.

A new initiative for executive leaders is soon to launch in Wichita, allowing them to guide advantageous data transformation within their organizations.

The project was not designed to train executive leaders, but rather to allow them to interact with peers about frequently occurring challenges, pitfalls and opportunities.

David Cochran, dean of the Newman School of Business & Technology, believes the community initiative will provide a service that’s currently missing from the Wichita area.

David Cochran, dean of the School of Business and Technology
David Cochran, dean of the School of Business and Technology

“One of the major challenges executives face is that there are too many voices offering packaged solutions and easy answers,” he said. “There is no packaged solution that can accomplish what is needed. And there are no easy answers because no organization is starting from the same beginning point. For that reason, each organization has to build the data infrastructure, processes and teams that fit who they are.”

In mid-July, Newman University, Cornerstone Data and Sevenfold worked together to create the innovative initiative, “Leading the Data Journey: Advancing your vision for a successful data culture.” The project, which will begin in the fall, will bring together peer groups of approximately eight executive leaders in a cohort. The group will meet once a month for six months and work through the challenges of building data teams and cultures in their respective organizations.

“Leveraging your data isn’t just theory,” said Joy Eakins, founder and president at Cornerstone Data. “It’s about real solutions to real problems, empowering success for you and your people.”

Eakins served as a panelist for a meet and greet with the Data Professionals of Wichita and explained the inception of the new Leading the Data Journey project.

Joy Eakins, founder and president at Cornerstone Data
Joy Eakins, founder and president at Cornerstone Data

“One of our customers who serves as an executive leader was excited about the opportunities that the Data Professionals of Wichita gave his team, but challenged us to start something for executives trying to lead these changes in their organizations,” Eakins said. 

She quickly realized that Newman and Sevenfold were complementary partners for the collaborative work at hand.

“Sevenfold is gifted at creating spaces where leaders can know and belong in order to collaborate on difficult issues,” Eakins continued. “Newman’s focus in developing courses and technical knowledge for leaders helps us ensure we can help executives better manage technical teams. When we combine the skills of these two great organizations with our knowledge and experience helping executives build thriving data cultures, it seemed the perfect match.”

Not only will Leading the Data Journey build upon the leaders’ knowledge, but also their networks — providing a toolbox of wisdom they can draw from in the future.

“Roundtables help build a platform of trust and understanding in a network of peers, creating an effective theater for growth,” Brandon Gaide, principal consultant at Sevenfold said.

Cochran anticipates that, in the coming years, “many organizations will make great strides and take full advantage of their data.”

He continued, “Nothing these days will remain the same for long. But these relationships and new pools of wisdom will set executive leaders up not merely for short-term success, but for the long term. Their companies will benefit. Their employees will benefit. And our regional economy will benefit.”

Leading the Data Journey

Leading the Data Journey is an innovative data culture leadership project created by Newman University, Cornerstone Data and Sevenfold.