Development Program Grad Class of 2012: 10 Years Later: Stephanie Weseli
What first attracted you to 84.51° (formerly dunnhumby)?
Milen presented to one of my classes during my first semester of my master's program at the University of Alabama. I thought the receipt exercise he led was really interesting, but even more importantly I thought Milen was smart and down-to-earth. I didn't even know where Cincinnati was at the time, but I knew that this company was where I wanted to start my career!
What was your first title at 84.51° (formerly dunnhumby)?
Associate Analyst, Manufacturer Practice
What were your primary responsibilities in your first role at 84.51° (formerly dunnhumby)?
My first role was as an associate analyst on the Manufacturer Practice team. I did custom Insights work for CPG clients, analyzing transactions and customer profiling data with SAS and SQL. I worked closely with client leads and consumer researchers to deliver these insights.
What are your primary responsibilities in your current role?
I lead a team of data scientists supporting Loyalty Strategy & Rewards. Our team is accountable for Kroger's current loyalty program and defining evolution to the future loyalty program. This includes our free Kroger Plus program, as well as the paid Boost program.
Describe your path to your current role. How did you get here?
Most of my 10 years has been in a merchandising-focused part of the business. I started working with primarily CPG clients, moved into a role that supported both CPGs and Kroger, spent several years supporting Kroger Personal Finance, and had a brief stint on Enterprise Price & Promotion. When a role on the Loyalty Strategy & Rewards team opened up, I knew it was the perfect fit given my breadth and depth of experience with Kroger teams.
What has kept you at 84.51° for 10 years?
So many things have kept me here! On a personal level, I met my husband when he was an intern at the company in 2013, and we love working for the same company. And my husband is just one of the incredible people I've met at 84.51°. The people here are the biggest reason I've stayed with 84.51° for so long. I also feel like 84.51° allows me the flexibility I need to thrive; my husband and I relocated to my hometown in Alabama in 2020, and had our first child in 2021, and our 84.51° family has supported us through these life changes. On a professional level, I have been able to develop via lateral and lattice moves over my 10 years. We are encouraged to pursue new opportunities within the company versus being pigeonholed into a specific role or part of the business.
What are your career highlights or most memorable experiences at 84.51°?
I often refer back to a wine shopper segmentation from the early days of my career that combined behavioral and attitudinal data. This was when I really started to understand the power of our data asset and also the power of cross-functional collaboration. Some of my most memorable experiences have been those that fall a little bit outside my day-to-day role. I led recruiting for my alma mater, the University of Alabama, for many years, and I was able to build a strong pipeline that continues even though I eventually handed the reins to other alumni. I was also a co-lead of our corporate social responsibility (now skills-based volunteering) team; this allowed me to help non-profit organizations use their data to drive impact. Finally, I was a mentor for 2nd and 3rd graders at Oyler School for 8 years before moving to Alabama. I love that 84.51° has allowed me to have an impact beyond my day-to-day roles.
How do you feel the Development Program prepped you for success at 84.51°?
When I started in the Development Program, I knew very little about our data asset or how to work with data (beyond the small samples of data I had worked with in the classroom). The foundational trainings were essential for me to be a competent analyst, and the case studies and group projects allowed me to onboard quickly. The Development Program also prepared me for success by providing me with a network of 30+ fellow new starters. I moved to Cincinnati the weekend before starting my job, and I didn't know anybody in the city. 10 years later, I still leverage the network 84.51° provided me from day 1.
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 definitely did not anticipate staying with the same company for 10 years when I accepted my job offer. But I am very happy with the opportunities I've had here, and I'm fortunate to say that I am where I thought I'd be in my career. I am leading a team that drives direct impact for Kroger and our shoppers each and every day!
What advice do you have for someone starting their career at 84.51°?
Build a network of new starters like yourself and not-so-new starters in the organization. As we continue to grow, it is essential to have those connections who can help you build even more connections. And make sure you get to know these people beyond just the skills they have or the work they do. Bringing your whole self to work, and allowing others to do the same, is essential for long-term success and job satisfaction.
Do you have any mentors with the company? Who? Please explain.
I have been fortunate to have many mentors over my 10 years with the company. Many of them are former managers who I maintain relationships with. Others are people I worked with on a project, or even met in a social forum. It is so important to have people outside your formal reporting structure to seek advice!
How has 84.51° changed in the 10 years you've been with the company?
It's crazy how much 84.51° has changed over the last 10 years. Of course, the company has grown in terms of headcount and in the value that we deliver. We've also become much more geographically diverse, and have a much larger remote workforce (including myself). Another change has been to the type of work we deliver. When I joined, we did a lot more custom insights work, and now we are focused on building products and solutions. It's been amazing to be a part of these changes!