WCAI Staff


Rachel Dutcher
Senior Associate Director of Corporate Engagement

Rachel Dutcher is the Senior Associate Director of Corporate Engagement at the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI).  Rachel provides organizational and strategic management on industry engagement through the Corporate Partnership program, industry and alumni events, Executive Board, and other business development initiatives. She oversees sourcing new leads and managing relationships with Corporate Partners as well as provides strategy and supervises the implementation of all WCAI events. Rachel’s background is in marketing and sales with success in experiential marketing and business development. Rachel holds a B.S. in Marketing from Messiah College and an M.S. in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact Rachel at rdirksen@wharton.upenn.edu

Matthew Gray
Senior Associate Director, Operations

At the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI), Matt leads experiential learning programs for Penn students in data analytics to solve business problems. Matt develops and manages datathons, workshops, analytics challenges and competitions with corporate partners using real-world data sets.  Matt is WCAI’s liaison to Penn and Wharton student organizations that focus on analytics, data science and marketing. Additionally, Matt oversees WCAI’s financial and administrative matters. Prior to coming to WCAI, Matt worked in admissions and marketing communications at several Philadelphia area universities.  Matt earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Elon University, where he majored in communications.

Contact Matt at mattgray@wharton.upenn.edu



Brandon Krakowsky
Director, Research and Education

Brandon Krakowsky is the Research & Education Director at the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, where he leads an innovative and cutting-edge Research Opportunity program.  He works to design, scope and execute data-driven research projects, and to provide corporate sponsored datasets to students, faculty, and top academic researchers from around the world.  Brandon also builds and teaches technical workshops and classes to both undergraduate and graduate students as a lecturer at the School of Engineering.  Brandon holds an MS in Computer and Information Technology from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Communications and American Studies from Boston College.

Contact Brandon at lbrandon@wharton.upenn.edu


Maddie Lasser
Coordinator of Student Affairs and Events

Maddie Lasser is the Coordinator of Student Engagement and Events at Wharton Customer Analytics. In collaboration with the Associate Director of Corporate Relations and Events and the Senior Associate Director of Operations, Maddie manages logistics for a portfolio of events for students, industry professionals, and alumni. Additionally, Maddie develops and manages student programs including the Analytics Accelerator and datathons, as well as WCA’s relationships with student organizations. Maddie comes from an event planning background, with professional experience working for the Philadelphia Museum of Art and terrain at Styer’s. Maddie holds a B.A. in Business Management from Goucher College.

Contact Maddie at mmlasser@wharton.upenn.edu

Mary Purk
Executive Director

As the Executive Director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI), Mary Purk leads the academic outreach and research center focused on the development and application of cutting-edge analytic methods across multiple industries.   Ms. Purk is a marketing and analytics executive with over 20+ years of retail, consumer packaged goods and academic experience.  Ms. Purk has developed and implemented enterprise-wide analytic platforms that inform clients how to win customers.  Her expertise includes: competitive assessments, sales forecast models, consumer segmentations, pricing and digital strategies, product assortments, and marketing mix models.

Her most recent role as Principal of Retail Insights at IRI and Director of Retail Analytics at Nielsen focused on understanding shopper and retail behaviors using integrated data sets (i.e. POS, panel, shopper, media) and analytic platforms to create successful growth strategies for shopper retention, brand and corporate positioning, loyalty and activation promotions, and efficient merchandising and vendor collaborations.

Ms. Purk has collaborated with senior executives across various retail channels. Previous clients include: Walgreens, Whole Foods, Lowes, Blue Apron, Family Dollar, McDonald’s, and Kroger.  Other work experience includes the Director of the Retail Research Center at the University of Chicago Booth and consulting roles with Accenture and AT Kearney.

Ms. Purk earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Illinois.  While at Booth, Ms. Purk designed and instructed executive education courses focused on merchandising and pricing strategies.  As an industry speaker, Ms. Purk has presented at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS).

Ms. Purk has published papers in the Journal of Marketing and Journal of Retailing and a Category Management publication for FMI.

Other Interests Include:

  • Category Management
  • Analytic Training
  • Optimization Strategies


Jillian Rogers
Associate Director, Marketing and Communications

As the Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative, Jillian Rogers develops and delivers engaging content to WCAI’s corporate, academic, and student constituents. Her responsibilities span WCAI’s website, events and programming promotion, media relations, social media, email marketing, and branding. She cultivated her communication, organizational, and project management skills at Wharton External Affairs, La Salle University, and previous positions in healthcare and retail.

Contact Jillian at rjill@wharton.upenn.edu

Kayleigh Smoot
Associate Director, Research and Education

Kayleigh Smoot is the Associate Research and Education Director for WCAI. In this role, she works with the Research and Education Director creating experiential learning initiatives for current Wharton/Penn students, managing research projects, and other various tasks. Prior to this role, Kayleigh was Administrative Coordinator for WCAI. Kayleigh holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and is currently working on her M.S. in Organizational Dynamics, also from the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact Kayleigh at smootk@wharton.upenn.edu