Employee Spotlight


Cole Decker is a Consultant at 84.51˚

Decker, Cole

Employee Spotlight: Cole D.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Office Location: Portland, Oregon
University: Ohio University
Major: Marketing
84.51° Mission (Project Team): General Merchandising

Describe your role as a Consultant.
I support Kroger’s General Merchandising business – out of our Portland office - by working with Kroger’s buyers to build and execute their customer-centric strategy through assortment, price, promotion and customer communication efforts.

What was your experience like in the Development Program?
I grew up in Columbus and went to college in southeast Ohio. I didn’t know anyone in Cincinnati when I moved there after college, and on the first day of work, I immediately had 25 friends! Some of those people are still some of my best friends in Cincinnati and I miss them dearly now that I work in Portland. I didn’t really think about the ease of making friendships in a new city before joining the program, and that was a nice added benefit.

How do you believe the 84.51° Development Program compares to other comparable programs?
The Development Program makes it easy for people to see themselves as a meaningful part of the business because you truly understand the organization as a whole and you have exposure to top-level executives internally, at Kroger, and at our CPG partners. That’s a core benefit that we provide that not a lot of other organizations have. One year into my role, I had already met CEOs of some of our CPG partners, and had worked closely with category managers and directors at Kroger.

How do you believe the Development Program equipped you for success at 84.51°?
Getting a wide variety of experiences and working across different teams, projects, data sets and tools we use with our partners was highly impactful. If you’re an experienced consultant, you start directly in a role and you don’t benefit from the breadth of exposure (training) and application (projects) you get as part of the Development Program. As an example, if you start directly in a role in the communications and media space, you may not have as much exposure to what’s going on in some other areas of the business. The goal of the Development Program is to create well-developed, well-rounded individuals who can see how all the pieces of the business fit together, and that makes an enormous difference.

Is there anything you wish you had known about the Development Program prior to enrolling?
I wish I had known about the full breadth of the post-program opportunities. It seems like more and more are popping up every day. We’re such a dynamic organization in that we flex and go where the business and industry need is. Because of that, we have teams that pop up all the time, others that phase out, and resources get reallocated onto new and exciting teams. This is a wonderful place to begin a career, because you truly can explore!

What has been the most memorable experience or favorite project you’ve worked on?
I was moved to a role in our Portland office to support the apparel department because apparel is going through a renewal. We developed a new apparel brand, but the brand was created without plus sizes for the sake of not having too many added complexities. Now, I’m helping the team develop a women’s plus strategy using information we have on our historical plus customers to make sure we’re offering relevant products to all our customers who are relying on us in their apparel search. It’s fascinating work, and I make a difference every day! The team looks to me to be the customer expert, and they apply my recommendations to their strategy.

What advice would you give students who are interested in working in the consulting industry?
I think a development program is a great way to jumpstart your career, but make sure it’s with an organization that you have shared values with. In my experience, this makes every day at work feel like I am going to camp, and I can’t believe I get paid for this! Try talking to a lot of people who work at the company you’re vetting so you can understand what types of people work there and if you see yourself enjoying the work and experiences. Ask yourself if it’s a company who really values their employee, using your own definition of “value” – this is different for everyone!

What’s your favorite part about working at 84.51°?
I tell people it’s like going to camp every day – that’s the best way I can describe 84.51° to people who don’t understand what it’s like to work here. It’s exciting, I’m interested in the data; I’m excited by the insights. The environment is so collaborative and dynamic and everyone is always willing to help. The people can make or break a work experience, and at 84.51°, the people absolutely make it. I can’t imagine a place exists where people are more talented, creative, accessible, and willing to collaborate. We’re a little nerdy. We’re a little weird. We love it.

What do you like to do in your free time, outside of work hours?
Since relocating to Portland for my new role, I’ve been exploring the city a lot. I’m interested in photography and the coffee scene. I’ve also made a community with other LGBT individuals in the tech industry. I’m very fortunate to work at a company that values personal authenticity. I feel like it’s been eye-opening because some of the friends I’m making in Portland don’t feel as accepted in their workplaces. I am incredibly lucky to have found an organization – both at 84.51° and at Kroger – that celebrates employees as they are!

Katarina Gay is a Consultant at 84.51˚

Gay, Katarina

Employee Spotlight: Katarina G.
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Office Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
University: University of Notre Dame
Major: Marketing & Statistics
84.51° Mission (Project Team): Fresh Food

Describe your role as a Consultant.
My role is to manage the client relationships for CPGs and help them leverage Kroger loyalty card data to better do business, specifically at Kroger. They know their business and we know the data, so we partner to find the best way to use customer insights to influence their strategy and activation efforts. I’m here to amplify their use of our data in any way by training and touching base regularly with the folks who are most commonly leveraging the data.

What was your experience like in the Development Program?
The Development Program was a wonderful experience because it starts with several weeks of broad learning about the company. Then as a Consultant, you get dedicated time to learn our tools and become an expert on them before having client responsibilities. Then that knowledge then gets applied through a period of project work. During that time, you get experience working with many different teams. By the time you are placed in a role, you understand what the role is like, as well as technical expertise that helps you gain credibility with clients.

How do you believe the 84.51° Development Program compares to other comparable programs?
On the surface they may seem similar – you learn about the business and you get opportunity to try different things in a rotational program before you’re assigned to a specific role. However, the fact that I completed the program and have client responsibility less than a year out of college is something I don’t think you can get in other program structures. The 84.51° Development Program is super intensive and it’s a tough beginning because you learn so much so fast, but then you get the benefit of adding value and making an impact faster.

How do you believe the Development Program equipped you for success at 84.51°?
Since I had been an intern and went through the Development Program, I was equipped with a strong foundational knowledge of our data and tools. This set me up to add value in my client relationships from the start, even as I was working to learn their business and strategies. Another benefit of the program are the people you meet in the program. Right away, you know Consultants and Analysts all over the organization and have the foundation of a network – not to mention, a group of friends!

What has been the most memorable experience or favorite project you’ve worked on?
During the project based portion of the program, I analyzed one of Kroger’s digital offers – Free Friday Download, a coupon that loyal Kroger customers receive on their Kroger app for a free product that weekend. I explored how the current offers were performing and recommend improvements for the future. I enjoy helping clients learn our main data tools in ways that are personalized to their business questions.

What advice would you give students who are interested in working at 84.51°?
I think 84.51° is a great place to start your career because of the Development Program. It’s so valuable to have a network of people who have gone through the program who want you to succeed here. What we do is challenging, but everyone is so passionate about what they do which makes it very rewarding. I suggest reaching out to someone you meet at a recruiting fair or ask a recruiter to set you up with someone here for a quick phone call. Hearing about our work first hand is the best way to understand what we do.

What’s your favorite part about working at 84.51°?
The people – easily. I love spending time with my teammates and the friends I made through the Development Program.

What do you like to do in your free time, outside of work hours?
Since I’m back in Cincinnati, I love hanging out with my family and friends. I like to paint, and I also love going back to Notre Dame for football and basketball games.