Development Program Grad Class of 2012: 10 Years Later: Maria Arand
What first attracted you to 84.51° (formerly dunnhumby)?
The culture. Everyone I talked to was so passionate and smart – I could tell they enjoyed the work and there was a sense of community in the office.
What was your first title at 84.51° (formerly dunnhumby)?
Solutions Associate on the Rapid Insights Team
What were your primary responsibilities in your first role at 84.51° (formerly dunnhumby)?
I worked on a team called Rapid Insights. We partnered with Kroger and other 3rd party data providers to (quickly) answer questions about how Kroger shoppers think, look, feel across the market and understand how Kroger could better serve their needs.
What are your primary responsibilities in your current role?
My team is responsible for understanding macro customer trends – both at Kroger and more broadly across the market. We look at past performance to provide context on Kroger performance and look forward to set expectations on how customer priorities and preferences will shift based on market variables (eg high inflation today). Then we work with teams at 84.51° and Kroger to develop the right strategies and tactics to response to these shifts.
Describe your path to your current role. How did you get here?
Through a variety of roles at the company, I learned that I most enjoy taking a big, nebulous question and defining the path through it. What are the choices we can actually impact? What data or context is the best to guide our decisions? And then working with clients and stakeholders to not just understand the recommendation but implement. I love my current role because I have an opportunity to do this on a large scale across the Kroger organization.
What has kept you at 84.51° for 10 years?
I love the environment we work in. Everyone is so intelligent and motivated, but it doesn't feel competitive. We collaborate across teams and functions to get the best result for our clients and stakeholders. People are willing to lean in and generously give their time and talent to help others out.
Grocery is also an ever-changing environment. Over the last 10 years there have been massive shifts in our landscape – competitors opening, ecommerce expanding, seismic events like recession and the pandemic. It's always interesting with new challenges to consider and solve for.
How do you feel the Development Program prepped you for success at 84.51°?
The Development Program has been great in many different ways over my career. When I started, it was a great support system – there were a group of people who could empathize. They had the same challenges and fears, so it was a safe space to get feedback, ask for advice, or even just vent.
Now, we are in a variety of roles across the 84.51° and Kroger organization. It's great to have a network to reach out to when we have questions about a different area of the business or need support on a project. It's easy to get siloed in a bigger company, and the grad program helps break down those barriers to this day.
Looking back when you first joined 84.51° (formerly dunnhumby) 10 years ago, is this where you thought you'd be in your career?
I didn't have a lot of direction at that point in my career. I was just looking for something that sparked my interested and that I enjoyed/felt challenged by. I definitely have that today!
What advice do you have for someone starting their career at 84.51°?
Be a sponge. This industry is massive; you will never know it all. Give yourself grace to ask questions, learn, make mistakes.