Women in Unified Data Analytics Panel Discussion

Please join us virtually for a Women in Unified Data Analytics Panel Discussion at Spark + AI Summit and hear from female leaders from ShopRunner, Comcast and Toyota Research Institute for a panel discussion. Following the discussion, there will be an interactive Q&A session with the speakers. Come hear how these leaders in data + AI unite and grow their teams of data scientists, analysts and engineers to drive change in their respective industries. The session will be moderated by Caryl Yuhas, Sr. Field Engineering Manager at Databricks.

Ali Vanderveld, Director of Data Science, ShopRunner

Franziska Bell, Ph.D., Senior Director, Machine Assisted Cognition and Accelerated Materials Design and Discovery at the Toyota Research Institute

Rama Assaf-Smith, Director, Eng. Ops, Analytics at Comcast

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About Rama Assaf-Smith


Rama Assaf-Smith currently leads a Data Science and Analytics team within the Technology and Product group of Comcast. Rama is focused on creating analytics products and machine learning models that can be leveraged to understand and improve the experience of video and broadband customers. Prior to joining Comcast, Rama worked for a global investment bank, a Philadelphia-based startup, and a utility company. She holds a Master’s in business Intelligence from St. Joseph’s University and a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Morgan State University.

About Ali Vanderveld


Ali Vanderveld is the Director of Data Science at ShopRunner, where her team leverages data from a network of over 100 retailers to build products for their 6 million members. Prior to ShopRunner, she was Staff Data Scientist at Civis Analytics, a consulting and software startup that helps companies, nonprofits, and political organizations better utilize their data. She has also worked at Groupon and as a technical mentor for the Data Science for Social Good Fellowship. Ali has a PhD in theoretical astrophysics from Cornell University and got her start working as an academic researcher at Caltech, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of Chicago, working on the development teams for several space telescope missions, including ESA's Euclid.

About Franziska Bell, Ph.D.

Toyota Research Institute

Franziska Bell is the Senior Director of Accelerated Materials Design and Discovery and Machine Assisted Cognition at Toyota Research Institute. Prior to Toyota Research Institute, Franziska was the Director of Data Science, Head of Platform Data Science at Uber, where she founded the Anomaly Detection, Forecasting Platform and Natural Language Platform teams. Franziska carried out her Postdoc at Caltech where she developed a novel, highly accurate approximate quantum molecular dynamics theory to calculate chemical reactions for large, complex systems, such as enzymes. Franziska earned her Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry from UC Berkeley focusing on developing highly accurate, yet computationally efficient approaches which helped unravel the mechanism of non-silicon-based solar cells and properties of organic conductors.